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Miami offensive lineman Venzell Boulware declares for NFL Draft

The Miami Hurricanes’ offensive line rotation next season will be missing one more returning starter. Venzell Boulware, who started six games for Miami in 2018, will forego his final season of eligibility and enter the 2019 NFL Draft, he announced in a pair of simultaneous social media posts Monday.

The offensive lineman announced his decision on Twitter and Instagram, attaching an extended note to a shorter message: “Moving on to the next level. Thank you canesfootball!”

Boulware’s stint in Coral Gables was a short one. The offensive lineman committed to the Hurricanes in January and officially transferred from the Tennesse Volunteers in the summer. He was able to play immediately after graduating from Tennessee. He arrived with two seasons of eligiblity remaining, but will not use his final one after playing in all 13 games as a redshirt junior.

Boulware’s departure comes on the heels of a surprising coaching change at Miami. Former coach Mark Richt announced his retirement Sunday and by the end of the day former defensive coordinator Manny Diaz was in place as the new coach. Boulware, once a three-star guard in the composite rankings, was originally recruited by Richt out Creekside in Union City, Georgia, when Richt was with the Georgia Bulldogs, although Boulware ultimately signed with the Volunteers.

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“I send a special thank you to Coach Richt,” Boulware wrote in his social media message. “You gave me a second chance to be under your leadership as a graduate transfer. You will forever be one of the greatest coaches in my book! I am grateful for you and can never thank you enough for all the opportunities.”

The Hurricanes rotated its offensive linemen throughout the season, particularly at the two guard spots. Boulware, Jahair Jones, Hayden Mahoney and Navaughn Donaldson all started games at guard for Miami, and Boulware became one of the Hurricanes’ top options at left guard when Atlantic Coast Conference play began. Boulware first started against the FIU Panthers in September, then started the next two games against the North Carolina Tar Heels and Florida State Seminoles. He came off the bench in Miami’s next three games, before starting three of the Hurricanes’ last four, including the 35-3 loss to the Wisconsin Badgers on Thursday in the Pinstripe Bowl.

Boulware’s departure leaves Miami with four returning offensive linemen who started at least once in 2018. Offensive lineman DJ Scaife will be the front-runner to start at one tackle spot and Donaldson will be the incumbent at right guard. Mahoney is also set to return after starting at center against Wisconsin in New York. The Hurricanes also signed offensive lineman Tommy Kennedy, a graduate transfer from the FCS Butler Bulldogs, on Dec. 19 and he will compete for the starting left tackle spot in 2019.

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