Ex-’Cane hopes for new chance

Ex-’Cane Muham­mad knows ques­tions are coming his way

Sun Sentinel Broward Edition - - FRONT PAGE - By Omar Kelly Staff writer

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.

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