ESPN’s film “The U” was a breakthrough documentary for the network’s “30 for 30” series when it was released back in 2009. The film garnered so much popularity that for years fans have clamored for a sequel to Bill Corben’s widely acclaimed hit.
Well fans, your wish has finally been granted.
According to SI.com’s Richard Deitsch, the network’s ESPN Films division has ordered a second documentary on Miami’s football program, tentatively titled “The U: Part 2”. Corben and producer Alfred Spellman will join together again to make the film, which is set to air this winter and will be two hours long.
“The original film followed the transformation from a Miami football program that went largely unnoticed to ‘The U’ and all that [associated with it] both on and off the field,” said an ESPN Films spokesperson. “It became a cult classic and remains one of the most talked-about ‘30 for 30’ films we've ever done. But that narrative didn't end in the early 90's and this sequel will pick up where the original left off.”
2.368 million viewers tuned into their televisions to watch “The U” when it aired in 2009, making it ESPN’s highest-rated documentary at that time. The original film focused on the rise of the Hurricanes’ football program that won four national titles between 1983 and 1991. The program was hit with sanctions in 1995 for numerous infractions inside the school’s athletic department but rose to prominence again in 2001 when Miami defeated Nebraska for its fifth national championship.
Deitsch also reported that Corben and Spellman started shooting last week and have already sat down with former Miami offensive lineman Bryant McKinnie, who played on the 2001 title team. There is no short list of standouts that played for the Hurricanes during the 1990s and 2000s. 42 players from the 2001 national championship team went on to be drafted from 2002-2006, including 17 in the first round.
The school also produced an NFL first round pick for 14 straight seasons from 1994 to 2008, which is an NFL record. Miami also set a record in 2004 when six players were taken in the first round. Some of those first round picks during that span include Ray Lewis, Clinton Portis, Ed Reed, Warren Sapp, Jeremy Shockey, Reggie Wayne, Kellen Winslow Jr., Vince Wilfork, Willis McGahee, and Phillip Buchanon.