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Dallas Does it All for Miami

By BJ Bennett
SouthernPigskin.com
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There is a special energy to Deejay Dallas, a swagger, if you will, fit for one place in particular.

When we walk out every day and go to practice, we think 'Ed Reed practiced here, Gino Torretta, the Heisman winner, practiced here'.
~Deejay Dallas

Listed as an athlete on Miami's official athletics website, Deejay Dallas is a versatile playmaker for the Hurricanes. He, in a dynamic true freshman season, rushed 41 times for 217 yards and three touchdowns, caught four passes for 92 yards, returned a pair of kickoffs and, as a former prep quarterback, even attempted a pass. Furthermore, the confidence Dallas played with became an important part of Miami's run up the national rankings. For all of his physical gifts, attitude may be Dallas' best skill.

Smiling, Dallas doesn't just see a bright future in Coral Gables, he is at his best in the shadows cast.  

Breaking out after moving to running back midway through last year, Dallas emerged as a key contributor for the Hurricanes. He setup a touchdown with a critical 49-yard reception in a close win at North Carolina. Dallas rushed for two scores in a high-profile showcase against third-ranked Notre Dame; his first touchdown featured a highlight-reel dive over the pylon, while his second was the grand finale in a South Beach fireworks show. With big plays for the big stage, Dallas took a direct snap 39 yards for a score in the Orange Bowl.

Dallas is affable and engaging, but driven and focused, too. Humble transitions to hungry once the helmet comes on. There is a special energy to Dallas, a swagger, if you will, fit for one place in particular. 

"That’s one of the reasons you want to come to the "U", because of the tradition, because of the past and the people who have stepped on Greentree," Dallas nodded on the Southern Pigskin Radio Network. "When we walk out every day and go to practice, we think 'Ed Reed practiced here, Gino Torretta, the Heisman winner, practiced here'."

A season ago, Dallas became the first Miami freshman to rush for multiple touchdowns and average at least 5.2 yards per carry since Duke Johnson in 2012. Dallas became more of a focal point down the home stretch of the year, compiling 40 rushing attempts over the Hurricanes' final six games. Expect the coaches to continue to find ways to get him involved. With spring practice now in the books, Dallas moves into more of a leadership role ahead of this fall. 

A running back or, at times, a wide receiver or return specialist for Miami, Dallas is, above all else, a continuation of an unwavering set of expectations.

"Just play Miami football and line up down after down and beat people to sleep," Dallas added. "That’s just Miami football and that’s what we have to do, line up, you versus me, and me beating you."

Position and production aside, Dallas wants to win. Hard-working and team-first, it's what he has always done. Alongside current Hurricane offensive lineman Zalontae Hillery at Glynn Academy in Brunswick, Georgia, Dallas led the Red Terrors to a 23-5 record as an upperclassman, setting a new two-year program mark for victories. Dallas, as a junior, took Glynn Academy to the state championship game. As a senior, his offense set a new school mark for points scored.

In high school, Dallas played quarterback, running back, wide receiver and defensive back, also returning kicks and punts. So far, his college experience has come with more of the same. 

"I feel like that has always been my game ever since high school," Dallas shared. "With coach Rocky Hidalgo, he gave me a chance to play four or five different positions and I’m glad that coach Richt has given me those same opportunities."

Whatever his role, Dallas will be prepared.

"I just like to get on the field and contribute. Last year, I waited and got my time to contribute and I’m looking forward to this year and what we can do as a team," he detailed. "I think it’s going to be a lot of the same stuff as last year, I’ll be in the backfield some and then I’ll be in the slot some and I might be out in the spilt some, too, so I am just ready."

After emerging as a College Football Playoff contender late last season, Miami isn't planning on going anywhere. The Hurricanes started 2017 a remarkable 10-0, a stretch which included dramatic wins over Florida State and Georgia Tech and impressive routs of Notre Dame and Virginia Tech. A late three-game losing streak was disappointing, but Miami, regardless, put the nation on notice. Correspondingly, the Hurricanes will likely be the pre-season ACC Coastal Division favorites. 

On a talented roster with a throwback feel, Dallas is helping to set the tone. Now, he and his team are ready for more.  

"We know what happened last year and we aren’t expecting that same outcome. We are expecting to do way better than last year and finish way stronger than we did. The energy around campus and the energy around our facility is pretty great, the students have bought in to bringing the "U" back," Dallas concluded. "As a team we have been bought in, bringing the prestige of our football program back to where it was in the old days."

Miami is coming. Regardless of where he lines up, expect Dallas to lead the way.

BJ Bennett - B.J. Bennett is SouthernPigskin.com's founder and publisher. He is the co-host of "Three & Out" with Kevin Thomas and Ben Troupe on the "Southern Pigskin Radio Network". Email: bj@espncoastal.com / Twitter: @BJBennettSports