Ex-’Cane hopes for new chance
Ex-’Cane Muhammad knows questions are coming his way
Draft prospect’s combine dream.
Former Miami Hurricanes pass rusher Al- Quadin Muhammad’s promising college career went off the tracks last summer.
Muhammad, who didn’t play at UM last season because he was one of three defensive players dismissed from school before the start of the 2016 season following an investigation into their relationship with a luxury car rental company, plans to explain himself to the NFL teams he meets with at thisweek’s NFL scouting combine.
“I learned a lot,” Muhammad consistently repeated when asked about his time away from football. “I’m prepared for [the tough question]. Honestly is everything. Whatever they ask me [at the combine] I’ll definitely be prepared to answer. Just being honest will get you a longway.”
The combine, which begins Tuesday in Indianapolis, is an annual invitation-only event where 300-plus draft prospects are put through a job-interview process that tests them both physically and mentally.
The combine involves four different segments of evaluation: medical checks, interviews with teams, agility/ strength and positional drills
on the field, and measurements.
The 330 invited prospects traveling to Indianapolis this week will be put through a battery of tests at Lucas Oil Stadium to determine where they’ll end up on each team’s draft board, which will lead to what team, and what round they are selected in the April 27-29 draft.
The medical checks are the most important aspect of the process, but for players like Muhammad the interview portion can raise or sink their draft stock.
According to a league source familiar with Muhammad, who played 17 games for the Hurricanes from2013 to ’15, his maturity is “a major concern.”
Outside of last year’s dismissal from the program, Muhammad also missed the 2014 season due to a suspension after a fight with a former student.
NFL teams see a dynamic talent in Muhammad, but they want to know if he’s coachable or a hothead.
“At first when Iwas coming out of high school I did what a lot of kids do. They get caught up in the hype,” Muhammad admitted. “You may be a big name, and people may say this and that, and instead of you focusing on what got you there and continuing that exact training, sometimes you get distracted by the hype. That kind of takes away from your game.”
And what lesson did he learn?
“Don’t get distracted,” Muhammad said. “Don’t believe the hype.”
Back in 2012 there was a young pass rusher from the University of Miami whose last season with the Hurricanes was cut short by a suspension before he entered the draft early. Like Muhammad, that pass rusher was an athletic freak, but a mystery in the draft process before the Dolphins selected him in the third round.
Oliver Vernon turned into a three-year starter for the Dolphins, and last offseason the New York Giants signed him a massive contract to lure him away as free agent.
With the right team, and the right coaching the same could happen with Muhammad if he matures and continues to develop.
Where does he fit — in a 4-3 defense as an end or a 3-4 defense as an outside linebacker — still needs to be figured out. Muhammad has been training to play both, and according to Pete Bommarito, whohas helped him prepare for the combine, he has the athleticism for it.
Bommarito, who owns and runs Bommarito Performance Systems, which specializes in combine training, said Muhammad will showcase his “great lateral motion” during the position drills in Indianapolis.
“He’s a perfectionist when it comes to how well his hips pivot, how well he drops and the things he’ll have to do in this league because of his athleticism and size,” Bommarito said. “Muhammad will push himself to the max. He loves to do speed work, and he … loves to do position specific work. He knows where people project him. He realizes he’s going to have to drop [back in coverage] and playmore line back erand do things he might not of done at UM.”
On Twitter @omarkelly
NFL prospect Al-Quadin Muhammed is shown working out last week at the Pete Bommarito performance camp. Muhammed will be facing some tough questions from NFL scouts because of his dismissal prior to his senior year at UM.
Fitness trainer Pete Bommarito, left, talks to this year’s class of NFL prospects he is helping to train for the NFL scouting combine.
NFL prospect Danny Isadora from UM goes through a sprint at the Pete Bommarito performance camp.