The underclassmen exodus at UM has reached a tipping point. On Friday UM announced junior OL Brandon Washington and junior DE Olivier Vernon have both elected to forgo their senior seasons at Miami.
The two join RB Lamar Miller, WR Tommy Streeter and DT Marcus Forston looking for NFL riches following abbreviated careers at the U.
Washington was the anchor of UM's offensive line, which was lining up to be an area of strength next season. He started all 12 games at tackle this season after starting 13 games at guard in 2010.
He will leave a sizable hole in the offensive line next season, which will be without three 2011 starters.
Vernon leaves Miami with 81 career tackles (20.5 for loss) and 9 sacks in his three-year career. A six-sack sophomore season in 2010 had Canes fans excited for his junior year, but Vernon had to serve a six-game suspension for taking impermissible benefits from booster Nevin Shapiro.
Vernon is the second key contributor on the defensive line to leave early, along with Forston.
Factoring in the five underclassmen leaving early, UM will open the 2012 season missing three starters on defense and seven starters on offense. It is unlikely that any more underclassmen will declare early for the 2012 draft. The only other significant pro prospect, safety Ray Ray Armstrong, announced earlier this week he will stay for his senior season.