The thing that almost every University of Miami football fan has been debating for the past two months, finally has an answer.
Junior quarterback Brad Kaaya announced Monday night that he will forgo his senior season and will enter the upcoming 2017 NFL Draft.
Kaaya, who played and started for the Canes since his freshman season in 2014, broke multiple school records in 2016. In 38 starts, Kaaya took hold of the UM career records for passing yards (9,968), completions (720) and attempts (1,188).
The California native and son of actress Angela Means, said that he’s going to miss playing at The U.
“While I am looking forward to pursuing my future endeavors, I am going to miss our fans, media, students, administrators, coaches, families, and most importantly my teammates, who were with me through the good times and the tough times,” Kaaya said in a statement released by the school.
“Attending a University this far from home wasn’t the easiest transition initially, but this program provided me a home away from home ever since my arrival in 2014. Since then I have registered as a resident of Florida and am proud to call Miami my long-term home. I plan to be involved with the University of Miami moving forward as I pursue my degree in communications. I also will give back to this university and South Florida community, two places that had such a positive impact on my life. I look forward to watching Coach Richt and his staff, and our team do even bigger and better things for years to come.
Kaaya’s announcement to leave comes on the heels of redshirt sophomore tight end David Njoku – one of Kaaya’s favorite targets this season – saying that he’d also be entering the NFL Draft, which will take place April 27-29.
Prior to the start of the 2016 season, the 6-foot-4, 216-pound Kaaya was projected by some NFL pundits to be a top five pick in the upcoming draft. While he posted career highs in completions, attempts, yards and touchdowns this season, Kaaya’s stock did slip some – as he’s been forecast to likely be selected in the second round.
Still, over his final five games of his collegiate career Kaaya threw 14 touchdown passes and had just one interception – including leading Miami to a 31-14 win over West Virginia in the Russell Athletics Bowl, going 24-for-34 for 282 yards and four touchdowns.
While many UM fans wanted to see Kaaya return to The U for his senior year, Canes fans can rest a bit easier knowing that former four-star recruit Jack Allison is waiting in the wings to replace Kaaya. Allison took on a redshirt this season and still has four years of eligibility remaining.
Also, Ocala Vanguard four-star dual threat quarterback N’Kosi Perry is set to come in with the 2017 recruiting class and could compete for playing time right away since his style of play – comparable to that of Clemson’s Deshaun Watson – fits what head coach Mark Richt has said he’d like to implement into UM’s offense.
University of Miami athletics director Blake James was complementary is his statement on Kaaya.
“On behalf of the University of Miami Athletics I want to thank Brad for the wonderful job he did representing our program on the field, in the classroom and in the community,” said Miami Athletics Director Blake James. “We wish him the very best as he starts the next chapter of his football career.”