Senior class set to play in final home game this Saturday

Thirteen seniors, headlined by four-year starting linebackers Shaquille Quarterman and Michael Pinckney, will be playing their final game at Hard Rock Stadium for the Miami Hurricanes this Saturday against Louisville.

Quarterman and Pinckney have played in a combined 94 games and have 566 total tackles going into their fourth and final year together, making them two of the longest tenured and most efficient linebackers in Miami Hurricanes football history. The two were key members of Mark Richt’s first recruiting class in 2016 and have started in every game since.

But, despite an emotional pre-game ceremony awaiting Quarterman, it’s been business as usual heading into an important conference game against the Cardinals.

“I’ve been focused on preparing,” he said. “You know moments like that, I don’t think about like that. It’s just going to happen. You can’t ever be prepared for something like that. Taking the next step after committing four years of your life to something very precious to you. I haven’t really thought about it, but I have a feeling about how it’s going to go down.”

Pinckney, on the other hand, reminisced on the time spent with Quarterman, his first roommate, his best friend and somebody he considers a brother.

“We had good times, man. Just coming from the dorms, just coming in together, just all the work we put in – things that guys can’t see. And just, you know, the moments that made us bond real strong that you’ll never forget, that you’ll never get again,” Pinckney said Wednesday following practice.

And Manny Diaz, their head coach and former defensive coordinator, reflected on his two defensive captains by sharing something they did last season.

“Last year, just for fun, we put on the [2016] FAMU game, their first game ever,” Diaz said. “They were laughing hysterically because they had, I mean they didn’t admit this back then, they’re like, ‘Coach, we had no idea what we were doing out there. We were literally just running around like chickens with their heads cut off.’ So that was fun to see how they’ve developed over time and to be with those guys every step of the way.”

But playing for the University of Miami, a storied program with five national championships and eight Pro Football Hall of Famers, means much more than just putting on a uniform. Pinckney said he wants to be remembered by the mark he left on the program.

“Just making a change,” he said. “Turning this program around and putting it in a direction that it needs to go, and I think we’re doing a good job of that right now.”

Other seniors being celebrated Saturday include K.J. Osborn, who leads the team in catches and touchdown receptions, Trevon Hill, Pat Bethel, Romeo Finley, Robert Knowles, Jimmy Murphy, Scott Patchan, Chigozie Nnoruka, Jack Spicer, Tommy Kennedy and Jacob Munoz.

Born and raised in Miami, Florida. He is currently a Miami Hurricanes football and recruiting writer for 247Sports.