Eight local Miami Hurricanes have been busy preparing for the season opener against the Florida Gators on Aug. 24 in Orlando.
Southridge’s DJ Scaife, Mark Pope, and Dee Wiggins; South Dade’s DJ Ivey and Patrick Joyner; Coral Reef’s Colvin Alford; Westminster Christian’s Darian Stephenson; and Coral Shores’s Robert Prosek represent the local players at Miami.
Wide receivers Pope and Wiggins have been vying for roles in the passing game in their second season.
“I think they both bring something different to the table,” wide receivers coach Taylor Stubblefield said. “Pope has the ability. He’s quick, fast, catches the ball well. With him it’s just making sure using the right tool at the right time. Wiggins is a guy who wants to be really good, he wants to be great, and he has long-ball abilities. He’s fast as well. They’re coming along. They’re young, it’s not like we’re dealing with 40 catches under their belt. These guys are young guys so they’re going to continue to improve. I expect them to contribute this year.”
Although it is big game for Miami, Pope is focused on pushing for a role during practices.
“I’m not too much worried about it all, for me I just have to focus on trying to get on the field,” Pope said.
There are nine receivers batting for playing time.
“The competition level is very high so you’ve got to know what you’re doing,” Wiggins said. “When you get out there you’ve got to know what route you’re running, what blocks you have to make, and make plays out there—not just by catching the ball.”
Scaife, another sophomore who played at Southridge, has been working at right guard on the top unit after starting the last seven games of last season at right tackle.
“I proved that I’m dependable,” Scaife said. “Last year I was getting my feet wet. This year I feel like will be my breakout year.”
Ivey, a sophomore, has been the team’s third cornerback who figures to receive plenty of playing time against the Gators.
“This is what we wanted so this is what we’re going to get,” Ivey said.
Joyner, a redshirt freshman linebacker, has not been practicing due to a leg injury suffered in the summer, which is expected to keep him out of the start of the season.
“Everything is still on track with him for the heart of the ACC season,” head coach Manny Diaz.
Alford, a sophomore who was named Special Teams Scout Player of the Year last season, has been working as a striker with the hopes of having a role on special teams this year.
Stephenson, a redshirt freshman, has seen his role increase with three linebackers out with injuries leaving only five scholarship players ahead of him. He has been working on the second unit at times.
Prosek is a freshman tight end who joined the team in the summer and has been enjoying the experience.