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VIDEO: Arroyo, Deen, Rivers, and Taylor III Address the Media after Third Fall Practice



Defensive Tackle - Leonard Taylor III | Photo Credit: University of Miami Athletics

The Miami Hurricanes Football team’s third fall practice on Friday brought forth enthusiastic statements from key players, as tight end Elijah Arroyo, defensive tackle Branson Deen, offensive lineman Jalen Rivers, and defensive tackle Leonard Taylor III addressed the media.


For the first time in his UM career, Arroyo is expected to be the number one option at tight end for the Miami Hurricanes, and he is determined to make the most of this opportunity.

Over the past two seasons, Arroyo patiently waited behind Will Mallory, taking on the role of TE2 on offense while showing promise as a starter in three of the first four games in 2022. However, an unfortunate ACL injury during a bye week practice derailed his season, limiting his playing time. Despite the setback, Arroyo has persevered and is now fully healthy, ready to showcase his skills as an impactful, all-around tight end.

When in optimal condition, Arroyo boasts impressive physical traits, clocking a blazing 22 miles per hour on UM’s GPS tracking system. Arroyo’s targets over the past two seasons have primarily come within the short area passing game, but now, as TE1, he looks forward to taking on Mallory’s role in doing damage downfield as well.

Arroyo has been working hard with the training staff, feeling confident and eager to make a significant impact in Miami’s passing game, showcasing his run-after-the-catch skills and ability to haul in deep balls. With his weight up to 253 pounds, Arroyo enters the 2023 season in prime physical condition, a testament to his dedication and determination.

As the starting tight end for the Miami Hurricanes, Arroyo has the chance to shine and be a key playmaker for the team’s offense this season.


Defensive tackle Branson Deen also addressed the media, sharing his enthusiasm for Miami’s defensive approach. According to Deen, Miami’s defense excels at disguising plays and keeping offenses on their toes, with attacks coming from different angles. He emphasized the team’s opportunistic mindset, ready to capitalize on any chance to make an impact on the field.

Deen and the defensive unit are approaching the season with a hunter’s attitude, determined to rewrite their story and dominate opponents. Despite the noise and distractions, the team remains focused, blocking out external factors and committing themselves to hard work and dedication.

As one of the leaders on the defensive line, despite being a transfer addition in the offseason, Deen is set to play a crucial role in Miami’s defensive success this season. His disruptive skills and positive influence on the team make him an essential component of the Hurricanes’ defensive strategy in 2023.


Offensive lineman Jalen Rivers took the opportunity to address the media, discussing his transformation since last season. With his sights set on playing left tackle, Rivers worked hard during the offseason to handle the athleticism he would face at his new position. He managed to drop his body fat percentage from 27 to 23 percent and shed weight, going from 335 to 328 pounds. This significant change has made Rivers quicker and more agile, better prepared to protect the quarterback and anchor the offensive line, and ultimately protecting Tyler’s blindside.

Primarily known for playing guard during his Miami career, Rivers is now in the best shape of his college career and ready to embrace the challenges at left tackle. He highlighted the unity and synchronization among the offensive line, stressing their commitment to being physical and protecting the quarterback from any sacks.

Rivers mentioned that the players are also listening to quarterback Tyler Van Dyke and putting in extra effort to watch film together, fostering team bonding and a strong team culture, which head coach Mario Cristobal harps on every time he discusses this Miami Hurricanes team with the media.


Defensive tackle Leonard Taylor III opened up and discussed his preparations for the season. Now weighing 310-pounds, Taylor feels explosive and powerful on the field. He is confident and ready to give his all on the field this year and even hired a personal chef during the offseason to help with his nutrition plan.

Taylor expressed his focus on practicing with greater effort this season, realizing that he can push himself much harder than he did in the previous year. This commitment to improvement showcases his dedication to becoming a dominant force on the defensive line, as he has been projected by numerous media outlets to be a potential first-round pick in the 2024 NFL Draft.

As for the changes in the defensive approach this year, Taylor pointed out that the team is focusing more on movement and versatility. This shift will allow him to showcase his skills and contribute to a dynamic and disruptive defensive unit.

Taylor also praised Purdue transfer DT Branson Deen, acknowledging the leadership he has brought to the defensive group since his arrival. Deen’s influence and skills will undoubtedly complement Taylor’s abilities, making them a formidable duo on the defensive line this season.

The Miami Hurricanes will return to the Greentree Practice Fields on Saturday morning for their fourth practice of Fall camp.