Barely 24 hours on the job as the University of Miami’s head football coach, Manny Diaz is making positive things happen.
Canes junior linebacker Michael Pinckney announced Monday evening that he will be returning to school and will play his senior year of eligibility with the Hurricanes.
It was widely speculated whether or not Pinckney, among other draft-eligible Hurricanes, would return to the program given the recent flux from Mark Richt’s abrupt retirement and the whirlwind signing of Diaz to become the new Canes head man.
But Diaz’s impact and influence as defensive coordinator (while also serving as the linebackers coach) showed itself to loom large for the Jacksonville native Pinckney to pledge to come back.
“Canes nation,” Pinckney began his statement released on his Instagram page. “I’ve decided to return to the University of Miami for my senior year and will not enter the NFL draft [sic]. I couldn’t end my career at Miami on that note. Under the new leadership of Manny Diaz, I look forward to trying to bring this team a national championship [sic]. I’m excited for another year with my brothers! Much love to Canes nation.”
A starter since he arrived on campus three years ago from Jacksonville Raines High, played in 12 games for Miami this past season and finished as the team’s third-leading tackler – registering 74 total tackles, 11 tackles-for-loss, 3.5 sacks, and an interception.
Pinckney’s decision to come back to Coral Gables completes the second part of a potential Canes linebacker trifecta return. Fellow three-year starter Zach McCloud announced earlier this month his intention to return to Miami for his senior year, but the jury is still out on whether Shaquille Quarterman will leave for the professional ranks.
As of the final day of 2018, Miami has only lost one junior to the NFL in running back Travis Homer – who signed with an agent and declared for the draft shortly after Richt announced his retirement. The other big decision will come from junior defensive end Joe Jackson.
Transfer redshirt junior offensive lineman Venzell Boulware also declared for the 2019 NFL Draft.