Two Miami RedHawks Opt-Out to Focus on 2021 NFL Draft

CB Manny Rugamba and OL Tommy Doyle first two from the MAC to forego their senior years for the NFL Draft during this coronavirus era.

After winning a Mid-American Conference title for their team’s first time since 2010, cornerback Manny Rugamba and offensive lineman Tommy Doyle both announced that they’d forego their final seasons of college ball to get ready for the 2021 NFL Draft instead.

The decisions by Rugamba, Doyle, and many others around the country to not play football this fall (or in the spring, which is when the MAC’s season will take place) due to ongoing COVID-19 concerns.

Rugamba was only able to play one season for Miami after he transferred over from Iowa. As a redshirt-junior, Rugamba recorded 85 tackles (58 solo) out of the cornerback position and defended eight passes with one interception. Rugamba played and started in 13 contests, including the MAC Championship Game where he had a Defensive Player of the GAme performance (11 tackles). He also finished the 2019 season with Third Team All-MAC honors. With Iowa, Rugamba played in 17 career games and intercepted the ball twice.

Doyle started 23 times over the last two years and was a First Team All-MAC honoree in 2019. Doyle started four times in five games in 2017, but missed most of the year with a foot injury.

The MAC isn’t the place where one would expect a ton of players to pass on their senior years in exchange for NFL Draft dreams — with or without a health pandemic — but these two are certainly worth that type of consideration. While the two were certainly looking forward to making a repeat at a MAC title this year for Miami, I think they made the correct business decision by trying to stay healthy and get stronger instead.

The odds of MAC players being good enough to not need a third or fourth year of tape to prove to scouts that they’re NFL-worthy isn’t great, but it’s much better for some than others. Rugamba and Doyle are on that shortlist, and I wouldn’t expect too many others to be in that same caliber. Some other MAC players I’d keep looking out for to see if they’ll follow suit: Jaret Patterson, Kevin Marks, Malcolm Koonce, Taylor Riggins, Kalil Pimpleton, and Treshaun Hayward.

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