MIAMI — With the 2020 NFL Draft just hours away from kicking off Thursday, Romeo Finley posted a short message to his Twitter page.
“An opportunity is all I ever needed,” he wrote.
An opportunity is all I ever needed...— Rom30 (@RomeoFinley1) April 23, 2020
Since graduating from Niceville High School in May 2016 ranked as a four-star prospect by ESPN and Rivals, the Miami striker — a linebacker-safety hybrid — had done just that with the Hurricanes, making 12 starts during his senior season. Still, Finley was a long shot to be selected in any round.
His opportunity would have to wait just a few days more. Late Saturday night, the Los Angeles Chargers opened the door, signing the versatile Finley as an undrafted free agent.
“Thank you @Chargers for the opportunity!” he again posted to his Twitter page. “Now let’s work!”
Thank you @Chargers for the opportunity! Now let’s work! ⚡️⚡️⚡️ pic.twitter.com/9M5SHNgjk8— Rom30 (@RomeoFinley1) April 26, 2020
This past year, Finley racked up 54 tackles, including a season-best eight in a 17-9 victory against Virginia, dropped four players for a loss and intercepted Florida quarterback Feleipe Franks in a season-opening loss to the Gators.
For his career, Finley posted 96 tackles, nine tackles for loss, a forced fumble eight passes defended and three interceptions, returning one 83 yards for a touchdown in a 2018 victory against North Carolina.
Susan Miller Degnan, the Miami Herald’s Hurricanes beat writer, wrote Saturday “(Finley’s) versatility makes him an interesting option in the NFL, which values linebackers who can reliably drop back into coverage.”
At Niceville, Finley helped the Eagles to their most recent Final Four appearance in 2014. Then a junior, Finley posted 563 all-purpose yards, 50 tackles, one interception, one fumble recovery and one touchdown.
As a senior, he emerged as the Eagles’ second leading receiver, finishing with 444 receiving yards and three scores, while still holding down his safety spot, racking up 64 tackles, 1.5 sacks, one interception, one forced fumble and a blocked punt to catch the eyes of Clemson, Georgia Tech and Miami.
“I just want to go in, practice hard and earn my spot,” Finley told the Daily News after committing to Miami a few months later in February 2016. “I know it’ll take a lot of hard work and time, but it’s a process.”
That process paid off. Finley is bound for the Golden State and the NFL.
Now it starts over.
@Niceville_FB Alum @RomeoFinley1 makes it official with the @Chargers#LosAngeles#BoltUp#Chargers pic.twitter.com/vJI11X7Hf3— Adron Robinson (@AD_Nice3) April 26, 2020