CORAL GABLES, Fla. (AP) — Dee Delaney got a pile of awards from his final season at The Citadel, including being selected as an FCS All-American by at least six different outlets.
It was an impressive haul.
Delaney, however, wasn’t moved.
“To be honest, when I got those awards I didn’t feel joy or anything like that,” Delaney said. “I wanted more. I just felt like it wasn’t enough. I didn’t think it like it was respected enough, so I want more.”
Here’s his chance for more.
Delaney is about to play his 38th college game — and his first in a Miami uniform. The cornerback is a starter for the 18th-ranked Hurricanes, who open their season at home Saturday by playing host to Bethune-Cookman. And Miami is expecting big things from the transfer who has already found himself in a leadership role at Miami.
“He was able to really capture the room with the way that he went about and prepared,” Miami defensive coordinator Manny Diaz said. “I always say the locker room will always, first and foremost, be impressed by your work ethic and your toughness. So he came in and he established both of those things. Now the next step for him is to take a leadership role in our entire defense. We want him to expand his sphere of influence.”
Delaney filled a big-time need for the Hurricanes in the secondary, after Miami lost Corn Elder and Adrian Colbert from that position — along with safeties Jamal Carter and Rayshawn Jenkins — to graduation. Carter, Jenkins and Elder were three of Miami’s top four tacklers a year ago, and since Miami’s front seven is expected to be strong the Hurricanes know teams will try to test them through the air.
Delaney figures that means a lot of challenges will be coming his way. At 6-foot-1 and 193 pounds, he isn’t exactly imposing. And coming from an FCS school, he thinks that might mean he’s overlooked by opponents as well.
“I know they’re going to pick on me,” Delaney said. “That’s their decision. I know what the outcome is going to be. They just don’t know the outcome yet.”
The Hurricanes have been raving about Delaney’s tackling ability since he arrived on campus. He didn’t need refinement, cornerbacks coach Mike Rumph said, and Miami could see from his Citadel film that he would fit their scheme without any problem.
“I teach him something and within a team period he’s working on it already,” Rumph said. “So it’s just very easy to coach him.”
Delaney knows he’s stepping up in class, though. The Hurricanes are the preseason favorite to win the Atlantic Coast Conference’s Coastal Division title, and most of those lofty expectations are because of the potential Miami’s defense has this season.
It didn’t take Delaney long to be convinced that there’s a reason why much is expected for Miami this season.
“This team can be really good,” Delaney said. “I’ve been around some horrible teams and I’ve been around some undefeated teams. The way this team is, these guys and the way they have each other’s back, I believe we can have an amazing season.”
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