As we’ve pointed out in some of our earlier entries in our Top Five ProCanes series, the University of Miami has generated NFL talent at every position on the field. Some lists have been topped by rookies, others by All-Pros and future Hall of Famers. Today’s countdown of UM’s top cornerbacks to play in the NFL was the most challenging list to formulate yet.
The Hurricanes have a stake to the claim of ‘defensive back U’, but after doing some digging, it has become apparent that most of Miami’s DBs in the pros have enjoyed much of their success as safeties, not cornerbacks. That’s right. Despite the pedigree we have at safety, our lesser-known cornerback contributions are more successful. Given the prevalence of pass defense in both college football and the NFL, the lack of elite corners to come from The U is startling.
So with that, here are some of the names that stood out to us based on the information we found.
Brandon Harris — One of the vaunted cornerbacks the Hurricanes landed recent, Harris was a prized commit from local Booker T. Washington. Selected in the second round of the 2011 draft by the Houston Texans, the former UM CB tallied 48 tackles and batted down 10 passes in his four-year career. He also started for Houston in their divisional round playoff matchup against New England. After three seasons with the Texans, he would play one season with the Titans.
Kelly Jennings — Before the selection of Artie Burns in the 2016 NFL Draft, Kelly Jennings was the last Cane to be taken in the first round of an NFL draft. Standing at 5’11” and weighing 180 pounds, Jennings possessed the prototypical measurements. His 4.39 40-time helped vault him into first-round consideration. The former Suwanee High School grad seemed to fit well with the Seahawks his rookie year, snagging an interception, forcing a fumble and piling 40 tackles. Jennings would spend five seasons with the Seahawks and start in five postseason contests. After six seasons in the league — he did spent one season in Cincinnati — Jennings totaled 240 tackles, two tackles-for-loss, a forced fumble, two interceptions, 53 pass defenses and two fumble recoveries.