- Joins Kevin Negandhi and Mack Brown, Replaces New Monday Night Football Analyst Booger McFarland
- Miami Hall of Famer’s Presence to Increase on College Football Live, Additional ESPN Shows and Platforms
ESPN has signed college football analyst Jonathan Vilma to a new multi-year contract heading into the 2018 season and will shift the former first-team All American linebacker from ESPN2 to ABC studio coverage on Saturdays this fall. The University of Miami Hall of Famer joins fellow national champion-turned-analyst Mack Brown and host Kevin Negandhi each week for Saturday Night Football, college football’s most-watched franchise, and the network’s noon and 3:30 p.m. ET games, replacing Booger McFarland who was named an analyst on Monday Night Football in May. The former first round NFL Draft selection will also appear on studio programming surrounding the network’s biggest college football events including the New Year’s Six and College Football Playoff.
“Jonathan brings immediate credibility to any telecast, having been one of the sport’s all-time great players on one of the all-time great teams,” said ESPN vice president of production Lee Fitting. “But that is just the foundation of his broadcasting career – he is prepared, smart, and provides well thought out opinions. Teamed with Mack, viewers will get varying perspectives from two people who have won at the sport’s highest level.”
Vilma’s presence will also greatly increase on ESPN shows and platforms, including regular appearances on College Football Live, SportsCenter, Get Up! and other studio shows throughout the season in addition to ESPN Radio programming.
“Growing up, watching the sport I love was second only to playing the game,” said Vilma. “Being able to connect with fans, providing them that same enjoyment I had as kid, is what drives me each and every day. I look forward to this new challenge, joining Kevin and Mack each week, and appreciate the help Chris Cotter has provided me during my first two seasons at ESPN.”
Vilma joined ESPN as a college football analyst in 2016, spending the last two seasons on ESPN2’s studio coverage each fall Saturday. Over the course of the last two years, he has steadily increased his profile, appearing on a variety of studio shows and ESPN radio.
Prolific Career Set the Foundation for Broadcasting Success
Vilma was a first team all American at the University of Miami, leading the Hurricanes in tackles for three consecutive years. His nearly 400 career tackles as a Hurricane still ranks in the school’s top 10 all-time. In his four years, Miami went 46-4, played in four prestigious bowl games and won the 2001 National Championship. His outstanding college career led him to be a first round draft pick of the New York Jets, where he embarked on a three-time Pro Bowl career. Following his time with the Jets, he was a captain for the New Orleans Saints, anchoring a defense that won the franchise its first ever Super Bowl. Vilma’s prolific playing career resulted in him being inducted into the University of Miami Sports Hall of Fame in 2015 and the New Orleans Saints Hall of Fame in 2017.
Vilma resides in Miami with his daughter Samaara.