When it rains, it pours – seemingly.
As Hurricanes fans spent much of the weekend still reeling from UM’s disappointing loss to unranked and non-bowl eligible Pittsburgh, they received another big blow Sunday evening.
The University of Miami announced that senior tight end Christopher Herndon IV will have season-ending knee surgery this coming week. Herndon left during the second half of the game against the Panthers with a noticeable limp and it was confirmed that he sustained an injury to the MCL in his left knee.
The 6-foot-4, 255-pound Herndon was enjoying the best season of his career – his first as the Canes No. 1 tight end – posting career-highs in receptions (40), receiving yards (477) and touchdowns (4).
Herndon was upholding Miami’s “Tight End U” moniker with his performances and was earning the attention of pro scouts. He recently earned an invitation to the Senior Bowl, where he would’ve been able to drive up his draft further.
Sophomore Michael Irvin II replaced Herndon Saturday – catching one pass for seven yards – and will likely serve as the No. 1 tight end moving forward.
Losing Herndon is a significant hit for Miami’s offense.
Herndon was more than just a “safety blanket”, he was a was versatile weapon that head coach Mark Richt used to create mismatches because of his combination of size and athleticism.
Miami Falls In AP Poll
Aside from losing Herndon, the Hurricanes also lost their spot near the top of the AP Poll.
Miami fell to No. 7 in the latest AP Poll following its 24-14 loss to Pitt.
The Canes (10-1) had risen to No. 2 in the media-voted poll two weeks ago and could have been in line to ascend to the top spot with previous No. 1 Alabama losing to Auburn Saturday.
UM could face a similar fate in terms of where it falls come Tuesday’s release of the new College Football Playoff Poll. The Hurricanes were ranked No. 2 in the last CFP ranking but should fall around the same area – likely behind Oklahoma, undefeated Wisconsin, Auburn, Alabama, Ohio State and Clemson.
As disappointing as the loss to Pittsburgh was for the Canes, they still hold a significant amount of their destiny in their own hands.
Miami should still be able to play its way into the College Football Playoff top four if it is able to topple defending national champion Clemson this coming Saturday in the ACC Championship game.
The Tigers, who moved up to No. 1 in the AP Poll Sunday after they defeated rival South Carolina this weekend, will likely be ranked No. 1 in the CFP Rankings and would be the perfect resume booster for UM – which could potentially finish the season as a 1-loss, power-5 conference champion.