Miami tight end Cam McCormick has been granted a 9th year of NCAA eligibility in a decision that is virtually unheard of in college football, allowing the oft-injured player to return for an unprecedented additional season with the Hurricanes.
Background on McCormick’s Long Career
Now age 27, McCormick was originally part of Oregon’s recruiting class in 2016 along with future stars like Jalen Hurts and Nick Bosa. However, a foot injury caused him to redshirt what would have been his true freshman season. More injuries followed over the next few years, limiting McCormick to only 17 catches for 203 yards over his first 5 years of eligibility at Oregon and then Miami.
He transferred to Miami in 2020 but missed both that season and 2021 with injuries before finally making his debut for the Hurricanes this past season as a 26-year old “redshirt freshman.” He flashed potential when healthy in 2022, catching 17 passes for 199 yards, but once again missed significant time with an ankle injury.
Rare 9th Year of Eligibility Granted
In a virtually unprecedented move, the NCAA has granted McCormick a medical hardship waiver to return for a 9th season at Miami in 2024. Players are typically limited to 4 years of eligibility that must be used within a 5 year window, but McCormick’s many missed seasons due to injury led Miami to successfully argue for the extremely rare extra year.
He will turn 28 years old during the 2024 season, making him one of the oldest players in college football history. Reaction online ranged from celebratory support to confusion at how the 9th season was allowed under NCAA rules.
What McCormick Brings to Miami
When healthy, McCormick provides Miami with an athletic 6’5″ 250 lb tight end weapon that can impact games as both a receiver and blocker. His size creates mismatches against defensive backs while his speed allows him to stretch the middle of the field. Pro Football Focus graded McCormick with an impressive 80.9 overall mark this past season, illustrating his potential.
“He’s got flexibility, he’s got length, he’s got really good ball skills,” Miami head coach Mario Cristobal said about McCormick this past August during training camp.
The additional year of development could be key for allowing McCormick to finally show his full potential if he can stay healthy. There are also benefits for Miami’s offense led by young quarterback Jacurri Brown to have another veteran pass catching weapon.
What This Means for Miami’s 2024 Outlook
McCormick’s return alone likely won’t transform Miami into a championship contender next season, but he provides quality depth and injury insurance at tight end behind likely starter Elijah Arroyo. The Hurricanes lose top running back Henry Parrish but return Brown and others in what could be a decent offense.
The defense loses star safety Kamren Kinchens to the NFL Draft but many key contributors return. Miami projects as a borderline Top 25 team that could compete near the top of a weak ACC conference.
|2023 Miami Final Record
|2024 Predicted Record
|9-4 (6-3 ACC)
|8-4 (6-3 ACC)
An 8 or 9 win season with continued growth from young players would make 2024 a success. McCormick getting through a full healthy season could provide a nice storybook ending to his long, winding college football career.
What Next for Cam McCormick?
Should McCormick stay healthy in 2024 and produce, he could potentially get looks for the 2025 NFL Draft at age 28. Colleges have also become creative recently hiring former players like Deion Sanders to coaching staffs, so McCormick could explore going straight into coaching. There is also the possibility of trying out for the CFL or other professional leagues after exhausting all US college eligibility.
But first, McCormick will be back in Miami orange and green come August 2024, embarking on a year of college football that players almost never experience. After 6 long years marked by injuries and adversity, the perseverance shown in earning this unprecedented 9th season could serve as motivation to finally meet his potential.
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