The Hurricanes have no shortage of player nicknames and most likely, creative ideas for customizing cleats. (Getty Images/Post illustration)
A pro sports league is bucking tradition and doing something fun.
According to a memo obtained by Yahoo Sports, Major League Baseball will allow players to wear nicknames on the back of their jerseys, like theshort-lived XFLonce did (and the NBA tried for a minute). The ballplayers can also wear crazy colorful shoes and personalize a patch paying tribute to someone instrumental in their development. MLB and its players association worked out a deal for the event, called Players Weekend, to run Aug. 25-27.
This makes us wonder: what would a Players Day look like at Miami?
Obviously there would be outstanding cleat designs, especially at a school thats already done the personalized footwear thing. That was one guy painting more than 100 pairs, though, and they generally looked the same. With leeway to go outside the team-issued colors, wed probably see guys trying to look like Odell Beckham Jr.and Cam Newton,plushometown tributes and a lot more.
But maybe not, since, you know, professional players can use part of their big-money paychecks on custom gear. Amateurs cant do that. Anyway.
That brings us to the nicknames. College players are all over social media, which presents myriad opportunity to hang on oneself a creative tag. So, we can already see how certain guys may lean, given free reign. For purposes of this exercise, were assuming the role of nickname coordinator. Some we wont touch. Others may need a little help.
Either way, lets dive deep on this one, shall we?
Possible nicknames for a Miami Hurricanes Players Day:
Defensive tackle Kendrick Norton Big Thick. Were starting strong. Seems to date back to high school, as seen here. Norton is 6-foot-3 and 315 or so pounds. Perfect nickname for a run-stuffing, quarterback-harassing monster in the middle who has a good sense of humor.
Defensive end Chad Thomas MajorNine. All I know is I can talk about why, but Miami cant.
Linebacker Zach McCloud Cyborg. Not sure who gave him the nickname, but it refers to how McCloud played most of last season with a robotic-looking arm. He doesnt want to wear the brace this year, now that his hyperextended elbow has healed, but he may have to if hes putting that name on his back. Who doesnt want a Cyborg at Sam linebacker?
Running back Trayone Gray Choc. A family-given tag stemming from his childhood love of sweets. Its excellent, and its rare you hear a teammate call him something different. As former offensive coordinator James Coley used to say, Everyone loves Choc.
Defensive end Joe Jackson Not that theres anything wrong with Joe Jack or Joedy, a couple real-life monikers he goes by, but Im tempted to call the 6-5, 250-pound sophomore Gladiator after hearing Thomas use that word to describe his physique last year. We need more mighty nicknames. (We need more good sports nicknames of any kind, as some have argued.)
Defensive end Demetrius Jackson Another name-generated one: D-Jack. Id like to see The Deacon catch on, as a reference to his involvement in his church (and a nod to one of the meanest D-ends of all time).
Could go the same route with freshman running back Robert Burns: The Preacher.
Miamis last staff called defensive endTrent HarrisToolbox, and the new coaches saw no reason to change that. Rightfully so. Ideal name for a trustworthy guy with a lot of skills.
Wide receiver Braxton Berrios Hnynut Berrios, a perfect play on his name. Here we are using the preferred online spelling. Creative. A Canes Internet 2014 classic, like Trinidad Brad.
Cornerback Michael Jackson Thriller. Easy, but hey. No mere mortal can resist.
Freshman linebackerBradley Jennings Jr.s pops earned the nickname Monster at Florida State for his bone-crunching hits. Why not continue the legacy? See if you can earn it.
Defensive endJonathan Garvins nickname is Neo, which is a family name.
A group of name-based ones already in use:
Linebacker Darrion Owens instantly becameD.O. when he stepped on campus.
Wide receiver Ahmmon Richards has A.R. as his Twitter handle. UM would like him to one day be known as All-American sophomore wide receiver Ahmmon Richards.
Defensive tackle Gerald Willis is Gee.
Friends call safety Robert Knowles Ra-Ra.
LinebackerTerry McCrayis T-Mac, or if he isnt, should be.
Offensive linemanKai-Leon Herbertshortens his social media handles to K. Herb.
I wonder if anyone has ever called offensive linemanZach DykstraLenny. I doubt they are related.
Patch, obviously, is defensive endScott Patchan.
KickerMichael Badgleyis Badge, though a former UM head coach called him Jersey Mike.
LinebackerJamie Gordinier would be Gordo in most locker rooms.
Freshman punterJeff Feagleswill be Feags, Im sure, and tight endBrian Polendeycan be Poe.
PunterJack Spicer is Spice, unless you want to make a reference to a beleaguered White House Press Secretary.
No reason we shouldnt refer to quarterbackEvan Shirreffsas simply, The Sheriff no matter what type of gunslinging he does.
Malik Rosier (right) could honor Russell Wilson with his nickname, and perhaps, his playing style. (AP/Miami Herald photos)
QuarterbackMalik Rosierused to put Russell Jr. as his Twitter handle, as a nod to fellow mobile quarterback and semi-lookalike Russell Wilson. Unless he wants to move on from that, Im fine with it. If he wins the starting job and performs well, even better.
Do not callquarterbackVincent TestaverdeVinnys Kid, unless you want to sound old. He goes by Young Vinn.
Based on theknee injurieshe overcame and underdog status in the quarterback race, maybeCade Weldoncould be The Comeback Kid.
Quarterback NKosi Perry goes by Kosi, though if he wins the starting job, fans will no doubt anoint him something Messiah-like.
Another potential freshman standout, offensive lineman Navaughn Donaldson (6-6, 350), is appropriately called Big Vaughn, though better nicknames could be coming.
Wide receiverDeeJay 13K Dallaspicked up a good one on the recruiting trail: The Ambassador.
CornerbackRyan Mayesgoes by Rico. That works.
LinebackerCharles Perrycould throw it back to the PBGametime days and call himself King Perry. Its that, or C.P. Similarly, safetyAmari Carteris A.C.
ReceiverDayall Harrishas King Dayall on his Twitter, though I wondered if anyone called him Big Country when I first heard his deep-in-the-heart-of-Mississippi speaking accent.
Waynmon Steeds name is so unique I dont want to touch it, but his Twitter handle They Envy Wayne is even better. Got a little He Hate Me flavor to it. A winner all around.
Im stuck on nicknames for new additions Mike Harley(something about his size and speed, for sure. I might borrow from a hockey legend and go Pocket Rocket.). Jhavonte Dean (Jah or Tae seem right),Derrick Smith(big, imposing safety. We clearly need something better than Smitty here). Anyone got anything for reserve cornerbackTerrance Henley?
Struggling with offensive linemen, too. Like Kc McDermott(Ive never heard anyone call him Big Mac),Hayden Mahoney (of Irish descent, for what its worth), Corey Gaynor (Bad Intentions, based on what his high school coach says he harbors for opponents), Nick Linder (Canes media called him Baby Linder for a time, since his brother had just left the program), Trevor Darling, Tyler Gauthier, Zalontae Hillery, Tre Johnson, Jahair Jones, Tyree St. Louis andBar Milo(The Hebrew Hammer has been done, and really only works if hes a linebacker or safety).
Im also unsure ofChris Herndon. Hes an excellent tight end. Very versatile player. Ive called him Miamis Swiss Army knife, but that doesnt sing. Suggestions welcome.
If freshman linebacker DeAndre Wilderwears No. 11 at UM, as he did on his official visit, Sticks is a possibility. His Twitter handle includes the nickname EyeCandy in it, which is in itself very good.
Cornerback Trajan Bandy Trajan Bandy is already a great name, and Im good with just Bandy on the back. Tra Bands if you need to have a nickname, I guess.
Same deal with safetyRomeo Finley. Romeo is good. His numbers 30, so Im offering Rom30 free of charge.
Cornerback Sheldrick Redwine Why mess with Redwine on the back of a jersey? Its so good. We could go Red, which is what people call him, but cmon. Redwine.
Who could blame Mark Walton if he wanted to get a little braggadocious? (Post photo, Post illustration)
Im taking suggestions for running back Mark Walton, a player with a supremely important role on the team. The Franchise? The Chosen 1?
Linebacker Michael Pinckney, a player with a loquacious personality, deserves more than just Pink. Same with linebacker Shaquille Shaq Quarterman. Open to suggestions for both. The screen names are 56 Nightmares and OG Boobie Shaq, respectively. Maybe we can mine something from that.
Dread-headed linebacker Mike Smithhas been on social media as Rasta Mike, and that works just fine.
We know this about freshman defensive tackleJon Ford:He is built like a truck (6-5, 275), and you can probably call him Ford Tough. Ideally, he would make quality (play) his job one, and he would not need to be fixed or repaired (at all, much less) daily.
Now that defensive end Al-Quadin Muhammad is in the NFL, safety Jaquan Johnson is the only Quan on the team, though his social handle includes the phrase Authentic Made. It is important to be authentic made, a wise man once said.
Same AQM deal with running backTravis Homer, who goes by Chief. The former Chief of Coral Gables,David Njoku, likely approves, since that was one of his handles.
Cornerback Malek Young uses Humble Child on social media, and theres nothing wrong with being humble. Throw a comma in there, and you have a cocky directive to opposing receivers.
Defensive end R.J. McIntosh uses Big 80, and thatd look great as a nameplate-number combo. No issue there.
Im going to put in a recommendation kickerDiego Marquezdye his blue streak of hair red, so he can be Rufio.
I very much like wide receiver Lawrence Cagers handle, for a 6-5, 215-pound wideout who can dance: Smooth. Also fine: Cage. UM hopes youll have to learn one of them or yet another by seasons end.
Another big wideout,Evidence Njoku, can be E83, if you dont want to make a play on his first name or famous brother. Big Easy also works. Taken from basketball, like some of Njokus pass-catching ability.
Not to sound harsh, but Im not sure what to do with wideoutsDionte MullinsorDarrell Langham,or defensive tackles Pat BethelorAnthony Moten. But let me introduce you todefensive tackleTyreicThe FreakMartin,which is a nickname lazily borrowed from the last Tyriq (McCord) at UM. Were wrapping this up soon.
Wide receiver Jeff Thomas might win the day with what his Twitter handle gives us. A nameplate with There Goes over the number 4. That is outstanding. One of the fastest players on the team, and when he blows by you, all you can say is
Tight end Michael Irvin IIsscreen name, for reasons I dont know, is Yung Tut. This is already awesome, and should not be messed with. Dont try to force a Playmaker II in there. Yung Tut it is.
Offensive tackle George Brown Jr. uses MADDAWG_70 or just MADDAWG, but Im sorry, Im not really feeling it. Lets try this. Hes from Cincinnati. Skyline has an imposing connotation for a guy whos 6-7, 300 just hope he doesnt disappoint like Cincinnati chili (or the 2015 Canes in Cincinnati. Too soon?)
Cornerback Dee Delaney A winning user handle: DeeThatGuy. I would want someone on my team willing to be That Guy.
Defensive end D.J. Johnson The Predator. Yup, absolutely.
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