3 Miami Hurricanes football players that would be x-factors in March Madness

As the calendar approaches March, the nation’s consciousness shifts to the madness of the NCAA Tournament.

Fresh off a scintillating home victory against Boston College thanks to freshman phenom Lonnie Walker’s game-winning 3-pointer with 2.3 seconds remaining, the Miami Hurricanes (20-8) are right in the mix as March Madness inches closer.

Even in the absence of sophomore guard Bruce Brown, Miami is in a three-way tie for sixth in the ACC and most bracketology experts peg them as a No. 8 seed.

Which got us thinking of a fun hypothetical exercise: Which ‘Canes football players could seamlessly transition from the gridiron to the hardwood to provide a boost in the NCAA Tournament?

There’s plenty of dynamic talent on a Miami football team that finished 10-3 last season and captured the ACC Coastal crown for the first time in school history.

But if these three athletes took their talents to Jim Larranaga’s squad, Miami basketball would be the undisputed Cinderella of the Big Dance.

DeeJay Dallas

The 5-foot-10, 200-pound rising sophomore displayed impressive versatility in his first season.

Dallas arrived at Miami as a consensus 4-star recruit who was utilized all over the field as a quarterback, receiver, running back, defensive back and return specialist at Glynn Academy in Brunswick, Georgia.

Dallas began his freshman campaign as a receiver but then received reps at running back after Mark Walton went down.

Dallas rushed for 217 yards (5.3 yards per carry) and three touchdowns while also hauling in four receptions for 92 yards (23.0 yards per catch).

Coming out of high school, the explosive Dallas native was rated the No. 12 ATH in the nation according to 247Sports.

At 5-foot-10, Dallas would be the shortest player on the basketball team other than 5-foor-7 Chris Lykes. But as the freshman Lykes is proving, height doesn’t matter as long as you have heart and determination.

Meanwhile, Dallas’ 200-pound frame is larger than any guard other than 210-pound Anthony Lawrence, so he’d be able to bring the Hurricanes basketball squad more physicality.

Dallas could serve as quite the spark plug at guard with his speed, power and energy.

Christopher Herndon IV *

From Tony Gonzales to Antonio Gates, the tight end position has a rich history of basket-ballers.

There’s no reason to think the senior Herndon couldn’t thrive in one last hurray at The U for Coach L.

The 6-foot-4, 252-pound Herndon was second on the team with 40 receptions for 477 yards and four touchdowns before sustaining a season-ending MCL injury prior to the ACC title game.

(*Under the assumption Herndon recovered in time for the NCAA Tournament)

Herndon improved in each of his seasons at Miami. This shows he has the IQ and work ethic necessary to successfully cross over into a new sport.

As a tight end, Herndon spent four years serving as a blocker as well, so you can bet he’ll be adept at boxing out and grabbing boards. This would be a boost for a Miami squad which ranks 186th in rebounds (35.3 per game).

The sure-handed and bruising Herndon could be a dominant force on the glass, in jump ball scenarios and throwing down alley-oops. Having to decide between Walker and Herndon on a fast break would be a nightmare for the opposition.

Herndon as a swingman would give the Miami basketball team another high-class athlete to utilize in the rotation.

Tre Johnson

At 6-foot-7 and 305 pounds, the rising redshirt sophomore from Orlando is the biggest player on the football team. Despite his stature, though, you can’t be faulted if the name doesn’t ring a bell.
Johnson, an offensive lineman, redshirted in 2016 and spent last season on the practice squad.
While there’s a possibility Johnson could finally crack the rotation next season, perhaps a stint as a basketball center could open Mark Richt’s eyes.
Johnson is 74 pounds heavier than Miami’s current starting center, 6-foot-10 Ebuka Izundu. Yet while three inches shorter than Izundu, Johnson has the requisite bulk to make his presence felt in the paint.
Miami’s current cast of big men (Izundu, Dewan Huell and Sam Waardenburg) would be enhanced with the lunch pail mentality of Johnson. Imagine the menacing Johnson roaming the lane on defense as an enforcer and setting bone-crushing picks on offense.
Johnson would be the ultimate x-factor in the front court by doing all of the dirty work that doesn’t show up in the box score but greatly impacts the outcome.
College basketball is increasingly shifting towards more of a perimeter bent even for centers but the value of good old-fashioned post play shouldn’t be understated.

The post 3 Miami Hurricanes football players that would be x-factors in March Madness appeared first on Diehards.

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