The University of Miami Hurricanes opened their spring practice last Saturday with a new, well-known assistant coach on the field.

Pro Football Hall of Famer Jason Taylor, who served as an off-field coaching analyst for the staff last season, was promoted earlier this month to a full-time position as defensive line coach. The Dolphins’ six-time Pro Bowler previously had been an assistant coach for five seasons (2017-21) at St Thomas Aquinas High School in south Florida before joining the Hurricanes’ staff last year.

There were reports in recent weeks that Taylor would move to the Dolphins coaching staff, but Hurricanes head coach Mario Cristobal made it a priority to keep him at the college.

“Jason was already here,” Cristobal said last weekend, “and we identified him as an elite member who we needed to keep on our staff. We all are very pleased we did.”

As a full-time coach, Taylor now will be able to recruit on the road and spend more on-field coaching time than he did last year as an analyst. Several Miami defensive line recruits have said his presence impacted their decision to sign with the University.

“I enjoyed the entire experience last season,” the 48-year-old Taylor says.  “It was my first time on the collegiate level, but I believe we now are building a culture leading to what Hurricane football should be, and hopefully will be, sooner rather than later.”

The upperclassmen last season were excited to have Taylor around the team.

“Having him in the meeting room was a blessing,” said one defensive lineman. “He’s a guy who has made more plays than anyone else in our building. He’s allowed us to understand the game a whole lot better. Everyone on our side of the ball also went to him off the field to ask him questions. He’s just always around so it’s great to have him.”

Taylor, the 2007 Walter Payton NFL Man of the Year, continues to have an impact on the Miami community through his eponymous Jason Taylor Foundation which he started in 2004. Its mission is to support and create programs that facilitate the personal growth and empowerment of south Florida’s children in need by focusing on improved health care, education, and quality of life.

We at NFL Alumni are pleased that Jason Taylor has joined the ranks of you former players who are giving back to our great sport through coaching the next generation of young athletes. We wish J.T. and the University of Miami much success this season.