Borregales Living a Dream
By Christy Cabrera Chirinos
CORAL GABLES, Fla. – All four of his older sisters had used it for years, with no real issues.
It took one kick from a young Jose Borregales, though, to break the family crib.
The incident, he jokes now, earned him the nickname “Bamm-Bamm” from his mother.
It may have also been a sign of what was to come.
“Maybe it was a sign that I was going to be a kicker someday,” Borregales laughed not long after arriving at Miami as a graduate transfer from FIU. “The crib that they got for all the babies, all my sisters used it. Then I came along and kicked it. I broke it by kicking it.
“I always used to break everything.”
These days, the only thing the kicker seems to be breaking are records.
After becoming the all-time leading scorer at FIU with 281 points and converting on 21 of his 29 field-goal attempts for the Panthers last fall, Borregales, a redshirt senior, made the decision to become a Hurricane.
The move came less than two months after Borregales kicked field goals of 29, 50 and 53 yards in FIU’s stunning 30-24 win over Miami in November.
It was an especially emotional game for Borregales, who graduated from Miami’s Booker T. Washington High in 2016 as a state champion hoping to kick for the Hurricanes.
At the time, though, Miami didn’t recruit the former All-State and All-Dade selection.
So, Borregales opted to stay in South Florida and kick for the Panthers. His goals? Become the best kicker to play at FIU and someday, prove to the Hurricanes he was worthy of a scholarship.
He’s confident, after scoring the most points in FIU history, hitting the longest field goal in school history (53 yards) and setting the school record of 54 in single-season point-after attempts he accomplished the first.
His performance against the Hurricanes that night at Marlins Park may have accomplished the second – and helped pave the way for him to finally wear orange and green.
“Coming into the  season, I didn’t know I was so close to breaking all those records. I was thinking I’d stay another year and break them. Then, all of a sudden, after the mid-season, they’re telling me I’m 13 points from breaking the record. There were two games left and I was like, ‘Am I going to get it or not?,” Borregales said. “Before I even got to college, I told my parents I wanted to break all the records and be the best kicker that ever came out of FIU. I did that this year. I didn’t feel like there was anything else to prove. … I wanted a new challenge, a bigger stage and that’s what came down to my decision.”
And so, after FIU’s appearance in the Camellia Bowl, Borregales entered his name into the NCAA’s transfer portal. Several schools reached out, hoping to land his services.
Miami was among those schools, with special teams coordinator Jonathan Patke using a single eyeballs emoji in a direct message on Twitter that sparked some dialogue.
After some long conversations with his family – including his father Enrique, a longtime Miami fan – Borregales made the decision to finish his college career nine miles from where it began.
“I’m excited. My family’s excited. They were crying as soon as they knew I was coming here, especially my dad. He’s a big UM fan,” said Borregales, who played soccer in his native Venezuela before transitioning to youth football after his family moved to South Florida. “He was the one that kept telling me, after I went into the portal, ‘Go to UM, go to UM’ and I was like, ‘They haven’t talked to me.’ Then Coach Patke came along and it was like ‘That’s it.’
“My dad didn’t think I was going to go anywhere but UM. They’re all very proud of me.”
Borregales is one of three high-profile graduate transfers to join the Hurricanes in recent weeks, along with former Houston quarterback D’Eriq King and former Temple defensive end Quincy Roche.
All are expected to have a significant impact on the Miami roster, with Borregales, likely helping make a difference in a very specific area of need for the Hurricanes.
During a tough season last fall, three different Miami kickers combined to go 12-of-20 on field goals. Missed kicks were a factor in a handful of close losses and inconsistency took its toll.
The 22-year-old Borregales will give the Hurricanes much-needed experience at the position and, Miami hopes, an advantage the Hurricanes couldn’t always count on in 2019.
The confident veteran is embracing that challenge, making it clear that’s why he wanted to become a Hurricane, despite his unusual journey to Coral Gables.
“I’m excited. Finally, I’m here. I wanted to be here for a long time, but sometimes, you don’t get what you want,” Borregales said. “But if you keep working, then one day is going to come. This year is that year. I’m looking to give everything I’ve got to the program and getting back to the old ways, winning every game.”