It’s common to hear University of Miami players refer to freshman running back Jaylan Knighton as “Rooster.”
Donald Chaney, Jr., the fellow Hurricanes freshman running back, did a few times Wednesday.
“Me and Rooster,” this… and “Me and Rooster,” that…
He said it a few times on the video conference call with the media.
So we went to the source, Knighton, to find the origin of the nickname.
“ ‘Rooster came from 2008, in little league,” Knighton began.
He scored a touchdown the first time he touched the ball. It was a 70-yard run. People in the crowd began yelling.
“They were like, ‘That’s Jaylan! That’s Jaylan!’ ” Knighton said. “And my coach, coach Dave, he passed away, he said, ‘We’re not calling him Jaylan any more, we’re calling him Rooster! We’re calling him Rooster!
“And that name just kept going.”
Knighton had red hair, which he wore in a big Afro. His dad, by the way, also had red hair. Like a rooster.
“So that’s where the name came from,” Knighton said.
And the name is popular.
Sometimes in practice if Knighton breaks a long run players will yell, “The Rooster is out!”
They’ve probably yelled that a time or two because Knighton, according to coach Manny Diaz, has had a nice fall camp along with Chaney. Diaz said both players had a good first scrimmage but tried to break too many long runs in the second scrimmage. They’ve been working with both backs on being patient. It’s a process.
However, at some point this season the 'Rooster' will probably run wild in the yard that is Hard Rock Stadium. And players will probably cut loose with a variety of Rooster-related yells.
Running backs coach Eric Hickson, however, will keep it simple.
“I call him Jaylan,” Hickson said. “Some of the guys on the team call him ‘Rooster,’…but as far as me, I call him Jaylan.”