Friday Notebook: UM's QB Situation, Orlando's Sports Future & Draft Go Time

Duke v Miami

Photo: Getty Images

When the college football transfer portal opened April 15th many knew what it meant, or at least what it could be, and the Miami Hurricanes may have faced a harsh reality. Canesport (a site that covers the program) reported that Hurricanes quarterback Tyler Van Dyke may have considered entering the portal not being happy with his NIL deals at the school and seeking a better package somewhere else. Late Thursday night, Barry Jackson, of the Miami Herald, reported Van Dyke was staying despite hearing from other schools.

Van Dyke, who has not tweeted since last September, retweeted a post from the Hurricanes official twitter saying "Relentlessly working. All focus on 2023. 100% Cane" with a picture of Van Dyke.

Van Dyke reportedly has a deal with well known Miami booster John Ruiz and his LifeWallet company but also is said to have numerous deals that total well into a few hundred dollars. Canesport reported the quarterback had received inquiries from other collectives.

Welcome to the free agency world of college football where any player can enter the portal and test the waters. It's real and happening all over. Long before the portal opened April 15th players and schools engaged in contact- mostly illegal likely- as players looked at depth charts and their current NIL standing and coaches looked at positions they felt they needed to upgrade. 

Florida coach Billy Napier stated his intent to add a quarterback after his offense struggled in its spring game. Other programs are evaluating their needs and the quarterback position, which saw significant movement back in January may heat up again. UCF's Thomas Castellanos entered the portal on Thursday as did Cincinnati starter Ben Bryant- after former Florida and Arizona State transfer Emory Jones became a Bearcat.

Van Dyke had a strong finish to the 2021 season where he threw 25 touchdowns and just six interceptions. Injuries and inconsistent play in 2022 saw a drop in production. Miami changed offensive coordinators and the belief was Van Dyke was set to return to his 2021 form and the Canes' offense was trending upward in 2023. But if Van Dyke had left Miami's offense would be in a difficult position with just Jacurri Brown and freshman Emory Williams as options, unless Miami had to go portaling as well.

Van Dyke had leverage and may have used it as other college players are learning the game. If you believe you have leverage and your team needs you, it's understandable why a player might force a school, and it's collective, to pony up. Maybe Miami's collective stepped up. The school has a collective other than John Ruiz that has stepped forward to do deals with players as the Canes have been active in the portal. Had he left, Mario Cristobal's rebuild would have taken a hit. That is the leverage Van Dyke had and that is how other players are using this portal window to get more money and this is how it's going to be moving forward in the April portal and the end-of-the-season period as well.

This is college football today and this is what every school and its collective is dealing with. Is it good for the game? Well, it's good for the players. Is it good in the years to come? I have no idea but it's where we are and isn't going back to the way it used to be so get used to it...

Orlando and Orange County are flushed with cash and that means it's a good time for all parties to decide about how to spend some money, including investing in existing sports facilities. The Orlando Sentinel's Matt Murschel had a great story where he spoke with many parties about what could be done with Camping World Stadium and what the projected plans and costs might be. 

I am all for anything that adds more sporting events to the area and believe Orlando has much to offer. The challenge is not knowing how many events you can guarantee to an upgraded stadium. If you spend a few hundred million dollars on the stadium does it mean a college football playoff title game comes? How many stadium concerts can you add? But one question to also consider is if you don't upgrade the stadium might you lose the two bowl games you have or lose the standing in team selection?

I will write more on this in the months ahead but my guess is look for a plan to upgrade Camping World Stadium and even freshen up Amway Center to be presented to the city and county. The debate will be interesting on so many levels...

It's less than a week until the NFL Draft. I love mock drafts and love mock drafts that project trades. My guess is the Panthers will take a quarterback and it will be Bryce Young. CJ Stroug, Anthony Richardson and Will Levis are expected to go in round one. I have no idea if any of these guys will be great. Bryce Young was special at Alabama but he is going to a bad team and that likely hinders his development. Anthony Richardson was inconsistent in college. Why does anyone think he is no longer inconsistent a few months later? I also believe it's possible the Texans, at second in the draft, make a deal with the Ravens for Lamar Jackson and then Baltimore takes CJ Stroug- if they move to second- and get a quarterback on a rookie contract...

Final note: The first NFL Draft was held in 1936 at the Ritz Carlton Hotel in Philadelphia. A total of 90 players were available and the Eagles took Jay Berwanger, who won the first Heisman Trophy.

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