Tag Archives: University Of Miami

Oakland Raiders Amari Cooper Gets Encouraging Words From Childhood Idol Andre Johnson

 By Shawn Jonas

Oakland, California  – The Oakland Raiders fell to the Tennessee Titans 27-14 in their their third preseason game (1-2) and first at home on Saturday night.  The Raiders second year wide receiver Amari Cooper had another great night as a pro.

HeadShot

Photo by Shawn Jonas
Amari Coopers’ 30-yard touchdown grab from Derek Carr.  Photos by Shawn Jonas

Cooper had three receptions for 52-yards and a touchdown with a 17.3 yard per catch average in limited duty.  Raiders quarterback Derek Carr and Amari connected on a deep 30-yard scoring play where Cooper made a spectacular catch in the back of the end zone.

Derek Carr and Amari Cooper celebrate. Photo by Shawn Jonas
Derek Carr and Amari Cooper celebrate. Photo by Shawn Jonas

That wasn’t the only highlight of the night for Cooper.  During the traditional post game meet in the middle of the field event that happens after every NFL game, Amari had another gem happen.  He was tapped on the shoulder from behind and it was none other than 7-time Pro Bowl wide receiver Andre Johnson.

Johnson had some encouraging words to share with the second year wideout.

Question: I saw Andre Johnson sought you out after the game, what did he say to you?

Cooper- “He just told me to keep on doing what I am doing,” Amari said. “That guy was my favorite receiver growing up. He went to the University of Miami, I’m from Miami. He’s a great wide receiver.  I wanted to meet him a while ago, but I’m happy I got a chance to meet him at the game and kinda talk to him. It was cool.”

Amari Cooper was born in Miami, Florida in June of 1994 and Andre Johnson was born in Miami, Florida in July of 1981.

Johnson has had a storied career where he currently has the most reception of any active player with 1,053 receptions which also puts him 8th on the all-time list in that category.  He also has the most receiving yards of any active player with 14,100 which also puts him 9th on the all-time list. He has countless other statistics that puts him right there with some of the greatest to ever play the game.

Cooper has a long way to go, but there is no doubt he would like to be one of the best ever like his childhood idol Andre Johnson.

All Photos by Shawn Jonas

Oakland Raiders Trade Down Select Miami Guard Jon Feliciano

May 2, 2015 10:30 AM PT

Alameda, California – When day three started the Oakland Raiders originally had pick 102, but traded it to the Carolina Panthers in exchange for pick 124th in the fourth round, 161st  fifth round and  242nd seventh round.

When pick 124 came up, the Raiders traded back again four spots to 128 and picked up another seventh round pick (No. 218).

What started the day as a seven-man draft class the Raiders GM Reggie McKenzie turned  into a 10-man draft class.

They finally selected Miami guard Jon Feliciano in the fourth round of the NFL draft, 128th  overall.

The heavy-footed brawler 6-foot-4, 323 pound Feliciano started 13 games for Miami and was an All-Atlantic Coast Conference honorable mention selecteion.

The Raiders brought Feliciano to compete at the right guard position with  Khalif Barnes and Tony Bergstrom. Coach Jack Del Rio also mentioned the right tackle position  is wide open with  Austin Howard and Menelik Watson competing.  Coach Jack Del Rio has voiced his preference for Barnes to be a swing player available at all positions except center.

Scouting Repport

Feliciano is huge, a hulking man who looks as heavy as his weight suggests. He has a thick lower body and maintains his place against a pass rush. He is a strong run blocker as well, using his size to create lanes for running backs. He doesn’t have great mobility, and might not be a good blocker in space.

College Bio

2014 (Senior): Started season opener at left guard against Louisville…Made second consecutive start of season against FAMU, paving way for 198 rushing yards…Started against Arkansas State, helping lead offense to 488-yard performance…Started against Nebraska and helped offense generate 435 yards…Saw time at both left guard and right tackle in start against Duke, leading way to 426-yard offensive performance….Started at right tackle against Georgia Tech…Started at right tackle against Cincinnati, helping offense finish with 621 total yards…Helped guide offense to 456-yard performance in road win over Virginia Tech…Started at left tackle against North Carolina, paving way for 494 total yards and 295 rushing yards…Helped lead offense to 492-yard performance against Florida State…Made 11th start of season on offensive line against Virginia…Started season finale on offensive line, leading team offense to 421 total yards…Made final start of career in Duck Commander Independence Bowl against South Carolina, helping lead offense to 422 total yards.

2013 (Junior): Started all 13 games along offensive line … Made 11 starts at left guard and two starts at right tackle … Honorable mention All-ACC selection by ACSMA … Helped anchor offensive line that paved way for Hurricanes offense that averaged 425.8 yards of total offense and 33.8 points per game … Earned letter … Graduated from Miami in May 2014.

2012 (Sophomore): Started all 12 games at left guard … Earned All-ACC honorable mention from ACSMA … Anchored O-line that paved way for third-best passing offense (295.4) and fifth-best total offense (440.2) in ACC … Earned letter.

2011 (Redshirt Freshman): Saw action in 10 games and earned eight starts … Suffered injury midseason but returned to start two of team’s final three games … Finished with overall grade of 84 percent … Allowed zero sacks on season … Earned letter.

2010 (True Freshman): Sat out first season at Miami and participated on practice squad, redshirted to retain eligibility.

High School: Three-star recruit and No. 19 offensive guard by Scout.com … Rated three-star prospect by Rivals.com … No. 56 prospect on Bill Buchalter’s Florida Top 100 state list … First-team All-Broward by Sun Sentinel.

Oakland Raiders Q & A Transcript 

Q: Where are you? What’s the scene like when you got the news?

Feliciano: “I’m at my boy’s house in Davie, Fla. I got my family here along with my high school basketball coach, my high school football coaches. We went berserk when we heard my name.”

Q: We’re just finding out some of your back story. You’ve been through so much. What does it mean to you to maybe be able to help your family with an NFL contract?

Feliciano: “Yeah growing up there was a lot of just extra stuff that I had to go through and everyone here at this house right now at this party helped me get through it. That’s why I wanted them around me and to be able to get drafted in the fourth round by such a great organization. It’s a blessing and I’m so happy.”

Q: Did you have much contact with the Raiders before? Did you know that they were interested? It seems like a lot of the players didn’t know and wound up being surprised.

Feliciano: “No, actually me and [offensive line] coach [Mike] Tice, we kicked it off at the combine. He was a great guy and I had a real good time talking with him. This is one of the top spots for me I wanted to go. To hear my name called by them is just unbelievable.”

Q: This team needs a starting right guard. Does that excite you that there is going to be some competition right away and that you may be able to contribute early on?

Feliciano: “Of course. That’s all you want coming in is an opportunity to compete and get better. We have that there at the Raiders and I know everyone is going to go in there and compete and try to get better and that’s going to be awesome.”

Q: Did you play on the right side or the left side at Miami?

Feliciano: “Both. I had time at right guard, right tackle, left tackle, left guard and center sometimes, so I can do whatever.”

Q: Where are you most comfortable?

Feliciano: “I played left guard most of my career, but moving over to right guard is not a big deal.”

Q: Raiders are big with offensive line with position versatility. That sounds like something that is right up your alley.

Feliciano: “That’s something that I pride myself in, being able to play all five positions. It’s going to help me here with the Raiders.”

Q: You said the Raiders were one of the teams you were hoping you might end up with. How come?

Feliciano: “Just because my relationship with coach Tice. He’s a great guy. Me and him really hit it off at the combine. They have [defensive line coach] Jethro Franklin on their staff and I was with him for four years at Miami, so just being able to be with people that I know. Plus, Clive [Walford] just got drafted there yesterday. I know it’s going to be so amazing to be able to play with him again.”

Q: Have you gotten a chance to talk with him already?

Feliciano: “I haven’t yet. I tried to call him but he’s probably just as busy as I am right now.”

Q: Have they told you that right guard is pretty much where they have you planned for?

Feliciano: “No, they haven’t really said anything. They just said to be ready and just enjoy the moment right now.”

Q: At what point did you feel the NFL was a real possibility for you?
Feliciano: “Growing up I always dreamt of playing in the NFL. Probably when I got to college it became feasible to follow my dreams and play in the NFL.”

Q: What is your weight at right now and what do you think is ideal for you?

Feliciano: “Right now I’m at 325, 327. That will probably be my plan weight.”

Q: I know Mike Tice likes big, tough guys. Is that what he told you?
Feliciano: “I fit what Raiders players are supposed to be like. It’s awesome for me to come to the Raiders.”

Q: What do we need to know about Clive Walford?

Feliciano: “He’s tough and he’s going to bring it every day. I think he’s going to score a lot of touchdowns for us.”

Offensive Line Coach Mike Tice Got His Guy

Mike Tice likes his guards big, physical and quick, and that’s precisely what he got in fourth round selection, Jon Feliciano.

“Our guys are going to have to be able to run,” Tice said Saturday after the Raiders selected Feliciano. “They’re going to have to be able to pull. Jon pulls well already, so that’s good. I’m excited to add him to the mix. It’s going to be good for our room.”

Listed at 6’5” and tipping the scales at 325 pounds, the former Miami Hurricane figures to fit the mold of a Mike Tice-lineman, and will compete for playing time on the right side of the offensive line.
Tice is looking forward to spending time with the Davie, Fla., native and the feeling is mutual.

The pair met at the NFL Scouting Combine in Indianapolis, Ind., and after speaking with Tice, Feliciano put the Raiders on the short list of teams he wanted to play for.

“Me and offensive line Coach Mike Tice, we kicked it off at the combine,” Feliciano said during a conference after his selection. “He was a great guy and I had a real good time talking with him. This is one of the top spots for me I wanted to go. To hear my name called by them is just unbelievable.”

Feliciano’s selection adds depth and competition along the Raiders offensive line, and Tice is pleased to have another student to mentor.

“I’m very pleased with Jon,” he said. “I think it’s a good pick for us.”

Oakland Raiders Selected Tight End Clive Walford In The Third Round

May 1,  2015 6:52 PM PT

Alameda, California – The Oakland Raiders selected University of Miami (Fla.) TE Clive Walford in the 3rd round of the 2015 NFL Draft.

Walford is a dual-threat tight end with a basketball background with  huge upside. He dominated the Senior Bowl, showing athleticism, a feel for space and a big catch radius. Walford is a very good move-blocker who can seal off the edge with an angle block and does well getting off his initial assignment to get to the second level.

He effectively uses his 34-inch arms to lock out defenders and is a tough player at the point of attack. He’s a three-down tight end with the versatility to play in-line, in motion or flexed into the slot. It wouldn’t be a surprise to see an NFL team use Walford in the backfield at times if it doesn’t carry a fullback.

2014 STATISTICS

Receptions: 44
Receiving Yards: 676
Touchdowns: 7

College Bio:

2014 (Senior): Has established himself as one of country’s premier tight ends in final year…Started in season opener at Louisville, recording three catches for 38 yards…Hauled in team’s first touchdown of season, two-yard catch in back of endzone…Registered long catch of 31 yards against Cardinals…Caught two passes against FAMU for 31 yards, including long of 16…Recorded three passes, including second touchdown of season, totaling 57 yards against Arkansas State…Led team with seven catches against Nebraska, finished with 80 yards and one touchdown…Caught two passes for 23 yards in start against Duke…Totaled 37 yards on two receptions in start against Georgia Tech…Led team with four catches in start against Cincinnati, finishing with 40 yards and one touchdown…Had team-high totals of six catches, 89 yards and two receiving touchdowns in start against North Carolina…Had game-high totals of four catches and 127 yards, including 61-yard touchdown catch, in start against Florida State…Recorded game-high totals of 105 yards on seven catches in start against Virginia…Totaled 49 receiving yards on four catches in start against Pittsburgh, including long of 31 yards.

2013 (Junior): Played in all 13 games, making 12 starts at tight end … Finished season with 454 receiving yards and two TDs on 34 catches … Ranked second on team in receptions … Opened season with three catches for 34 yards and TD in win over FAU … Added 50 yards on two catches, including season-long 36-yard grab, in win over Savannah State … Second TD of season came in home win over Georgia Tech … Had 4 receptions in three straight games – four for 33 yards vs. Wake Forest, four for 46 yards at Florida State and five for 23 yards vs. Virginia Tech … Streak of 27 consecutive games with at least one reception snapped in home win vs. Virginia … First game without catch since Oct. 22, 2011, vs. Georgia Tech … Had two catches for 40 yards at Pitt, including 32-yarder … Eclipsed 1,000-yard mark for career in bowl game vs. Louisville … Hauled in four passes for 82 yards vs. Louisville in Russell Athletic Bowl … Earned letter.

2012 (Sophomore): Played in all 12 games, making five starts … Enjoyed career season as second-year TE, finishing third on team with 451 yards on 25 catches and tied for team lead with four receiving TDs … One of only two Hurricanes to catch at least one pass in all 12 games … Scored team’s lone TD at Kansas State, finishing with three grabs for 61 yards … Had two catches for 56 yards in win over Virginia Tech … Closed season with 3 TDs in final three games … Had 13 yards and TD on two catches in road loss at Virginia … Hauled in career-high 135 receiving yards and TD on three catches in home win over USF … Finished one yard shy of second 100-yard game at Duke, catching four passes for 99 yards and TD … Earned letter.
2011 (Redshirt Freshman): Played in all 12 games and earned eight starts, emerging as team’s primary target at tight end … Registered at least one catch in 10 of team’s 12 games … Finished fourth on team in catches (18) and yards (172) … Led Hurricanes with four catches and career-best 66 yards against then-No. 21 Virginia Tech … Also recorded career-long 25-yard reception againt Hokies … Scored career-first touchdown against Florida State … Earned letter.
2010 (True Freshman): Sat out first season at Miami, redshirted to retain eligibility.

Oakland Raiders Q & A Transcript

Q: Did you have any expectations about where you would fall in the draft? Were you surprised either in a good way or a bad way?
Walford: “I really didn’t have any preference. I thought was going to go more in the second but that didn’t work out. I’m not tripping. It is what it is.”

Q: Have you had any contact with the Raiders in the pre-draft process?

Walford: “Yeah at the combine and at the Senior Bowl. I talked to the Raiders a lot.”

Q: What would you say your strengths are as a player?

Walford: “I can hop for the ball. I’m a great pass-catcher. I’m a great run-blocker. I’m just a dual-threat tight end.”

Q: Are there NFL tight ends who you have followed or who you might model yourself after at all?

Walford: “Yeah of course. Rob Gronkowski from the Patriots.”

Q: Why would you say that your senior season went so well? You were obviously pretty productive.

Walford: “Just maturity, and becoming a legitimate leader and just focusing more.”

Q: Who have you talked to here with the Raiders so far?

Walford: “I talked to the offensive coordinator [Bill Musgrave], the GM [Reggie McKenzie], and I think the tight ends coach [Bobby Johnson], if I’m not mistaken.”

Q: What did Bill Musgrave tell you about your role here?

Walford: “He really didn’t say anything about my role. He just asked me if I’m ready to be a Raider, and I told him I’m ready.”

Q: Do you see the role of the tight end as diminishing in the NFL, or do you think you can be on the field for a lot of snaps?

Walford: “I mean, I don’t know. I’m going to go out to Oakland and just compete. I’m not looking to go start right away. I’m going out there to learn from the veterans and take some of their advice, but you know I’m going to compete at the same time. If I win that starting spot, then that’s all on God.”

Q: How much special teams background do you have?
Walford: “I played kick return in college. I played punt block. I played field goal.”

Q: Miami has a pretty good tradition of tight ends. Is that what attracted you to go there?

Walford: “We’ve got a great line of them, from Bubba Franks, Jimmy Graham, Greg Olsen, Kellen Winslow, you name them. That’s what we do, we build tight ends. Standish Dobard is up next, a young tight end coming out of Miami.”

GM Reggie McKenzies Comments on Clive Walford

“We see him as a complete tight end,” Raiders general manager Reggie McKenzie said. “He’s not just a blocker or a receiver. He has the strength to block a defensive lineman or he can flex out and go catch a pass. He’s the total package when you’re looking at a tight end.”

Walford said he models his game from New England Patriot Rob Gronkowski.

McKenzie chose a Raider who he reminded him of.

“How about Raymond Chester,” he said with a laugh.