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Props Slaps
 9 years ago '04        #1981
madness 7 heat pts
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$12,689 | Props total: 474 474
sh*t, we could use the depth at DT if he ends up here
not getting my hopes up, tho
 9 years ago '04        #1982
Cap Peeler 7 heat pts
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college football
Calais big hit with 'Canes
South's Campbell plunges into stardom at Miami with father's help
By John Henderson
Denver Post Sports Writer
Article Last Updated: 08/06/2007 01:18:27 AM MDT

"Once I start something, I have to f!ght my way through and find a way to do it." - Calais Campbell, Miami DE (Getty Images / Jamie Squire)

Coral Gables, Fla. - Calais Campbell was just a little kid and had barely learned how to swim when he took his c*cky swagger up the long ladder of the high dive. "I'm going to show my dad I can dive off this," he said to himself.

When he reached the top, he might as well have reached the top of the Qwest building. His tone changed from "I am God!" to "Oh, my God!" He started to climb back down. He never made it. He was met by his father.

"Once you start something," Chuck Campbell told him, "you have to finish."

Calais, as he always did, obeyed his father. He climbed back up and leaped right off.

"I'm glad he made me jump," he says today. "Now I realize I can't really go through life scared. Once I start something, I have to f!ght my way through and find a way to do it."

This explains why this once tall, gangly kid from Denver's South High School has developed into arguably the best college defensive lineman in the nation. His name is sprinkled through all the football magazines as a preseason All-American and a leader of a defense that rarely withered under the frightful collapse of Miami Hurricanes football.

But neither his impressive numbers, nor his towering 6-foot-8, 280-pound presence, tell the story that began with a long, scary dive into the unknown. They don't tell how he stayed at South through turmoil no high school athlete should endure. They don't show the snippet from the Hurricanes' brawl with Florida International in which Campbell plays peacekeeper with fists flying around him. They don't show his transcript that has him set to graduate at season's end, a semester ahead of schedule.

They don't show how he landed in that pool.

Sophomore success

Calais Campbell is sitting in Dan Marino's Fine Food & Spirits across U.S. 1 from Miami's campus. He's wearing a camouflage T-shirt reading "Canes On Patrol," a souvenir from his police ride to build rapport among the police, team and community. His hair is braided and pulled up in a little bob. You wonder if it hurts to wear a helmet. Not that it matters. He hasn't cut it in a year.

"Me and a couple teammates made a pact that we wouldn't cut it until we won a championship," Campbell says. "But I think I'm the only one still standing."

If Miami does matter again after last season's 7-6 pratfall, Campbell will be a huge reason. His 10 1/2 sacks and 20 1/2 tackles for a loss made him all-Atlantic Coast Conference and team MVP, an astonishing feat for a sophomore defensive end.

"He was as disruptive a football player as we played against," says Virginia Tech offensive coordinator Bryan Stinespring, who watched Campbell get three sacks against the Hokies. "You can talk talent and great pass rusher and good against the run, but when you start labeling with 'disruptive,' it puts him on another plateau."

It wasn't always this way. The greatest sack artist in Colorado prep history had to mount a steep learning curve when he landed at Miami. He stood 6-8, but played 6-3. Randy Shannon, Miami's new head coach and Campbell's former defensive coordinator, remembers one particularly pitiful defensive drill.

Shannon stopped practice.

"I said, 'Calais, just run upfield,"' Shannon says. "'You can touch China, as long as your arms are. You've got to use them. You just can't run into people and not use those long arms. You touch him, he still probably can only reach to your wrist."'

Once he got it down, Campbell became almost unstoppable. He had sacks in seven consecutive games last year and dismantled North Carolina with 14 tackles (including nine solo and four for a loss), a sack, three quarterback pressures, two deflected passes and a forced fumble.

"The big thing is having confidence," Campbell says between bites of baked mahi mahi. "Once you lose your confidence you'll start second-guessing yourself, second-guessing your moves. But the biggest thing about sacks is effort. Usually, you don't get a sack on your first move. It's always second effort."

Campbell's chest appears as broad as the booth he's sitting in. However, his strength hasn't caught up with his size. He almost apologizes for bench-pressing only 315 pounds. His little brother sitting next to him, true freshman safety Jared, does 285. Calais' true strength, he says, comes from inside his head. But it's not his voice. It's his father's.

"He was always telling me: 'Come on, Calais. Push it,"' Calais says. "'You have to be hungry. You have to play harder. Pick it up a notch. You can do better. You have more in you.' When I'm in the games now, I hear him inside my head, telling me: 'You've got to give more. You can dominate a game."'

Adds Miami guard Derrick Morse, a three-year starter, about Campbell's strengths: "Two things - his work ethic and attitude. He's always going. He's got a motor. Especially from an offensive lineman's point of view, he's good from one move to another move."
 9 years ago '04        #1983
Cap Peeler 7 heat pts
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The accolades could fill an NFL scouting report. In fact, they have. But Shannon, a former Dallas Cowboys linebacker, has a different read. Asked what he admires more, Campbell's ability or his character, Shannon doesn't hesitate.

"His character," he says. "He's so humble: 'Calais, I need you to see these kids.' 'Calais, I need you to host this kid, take him out.' 'OK, Coach, no problem.' He's that kind of person."

He's the type of person Shannon needs. The Miami native has fought against his beloved alma mater's bad-boy image for years, but all his work backfired last Oct. 14 when Florida International and Miami engaged in a bench-clearing f!ght. The game was called early, 28 players were suspended and two FIU players were booted. Worse, the film clip was shown almost hourly from coast to coast the following week. However, it took a keen eye to see Miami's No. 81 holding back his own players and reasoning with FIU's players in the middle of the brawl.

"The whole time I didn't know what was going on behind me, who was getting beat up," Campbell says. "I see a couple of FIU guys and I was like, 'Calm down! Calm down! We're out here to play football. We're not out here to f!ght.' One or two of the guys said, 'Yeah, I'm with you."'

It was not the first time Calais Campbell fought the good f!ght.

Father knows best

Campbell, only a high school freshman, was sent off the practice field before the gun was pulled. He never saw the incident. To this day, he doesn't exactly know why it happened, but according to witnesses, South coach Harold Johnson tried to fire offensive coordinator Herman White and angry a.ssistants circled Johnson. Steve Johnson, Harold's brother, came out of his car and allegedly pulled a gun on White.

Campbell, a freshman starter on the top-ranked team in the state, definitely knows what happened later. Johnson got fired, and that weekend the Rebels were upset in the first round of the playoffs by Dakota Ridge. When South's administration chose former Evergreen High a.ssistant coach Ryan Mullaney over White, uncle of star running back LenDale White, the black parents were furious.

Mullaney's rťsumť of six years in the NFL and growing up on Denver's east side didn't hold much street cred for a school where whites were a minority. That all changed when out of the chaos came a calming voice.

Chuck Campbell. He faced down the black parents.

"He said, 'We wouldn't want a white not giving a black person a chance,"' said Mullaney, who runs a debit card business with his brother. "'Let's give this guy a chance."'

Finish what you start

The parents did, but many players didn't. A mass exodus began. White and quarterback Allen Webb transferred to Chatfield. White approached Campbell about doing the same. He said they could carpool all the way to the Littleton school. But White had never seen Campbell jump off the high dive.

"I said, 'I started here,"' Campbell says. "'I'm going to give this guy a chance.' He said: 'You're crazy if you do that. You can come over here and win.' 'I said: 'Dad said this Mullaney is a good guy. Let's give him a chance."'

Sure enough, Chatfield went on to take state the next season. But Campbell blossomed into the most feared pass rusher in Colorado prep annals. Despite only 206 pounds stretched across his 6-7 frame as a junior, with his dad screaming from every sideline, every game, Campbell amassed a state-record 57 career sacks, including 38 his last two seasons.

It wasn't easy for Chuck, a former pole vaulter at Colorado whose five sons all are now playing college football. How hard is it to scream with a faulty liver that desperately needs a transplant? Campbell's father, who worked for Comcast, missed one game. South opened the playoffs against Legacy in Campbell's senior year, and Chuck had spent the day before in a hospital on life support.

"I didn't know how bad it was," Calais Campbell says.

It was worse than he thought. Chuck Campbell died two weeks later, on Thanksgiving. He was 62. Thinking back, Calais puts down his fork and reflects. He doesn't well up. He doesn't lose his voice.

"Everything happens for a reason," he says. "I'm a spiritual person. I believe in God. I felt like my dad lived a good life. We've got a lot to show for it. Everything he did for us can't be in vain."

Campbell did jump off that high dive, didn't he? He didn't quit then. Why now? By the way, did hitting the water hurt?

"Most definitely," he says with a big smile. "I think I belly-flopped. But I realized it wasn't that bad."
Family fit for football

Miami Hurricanes defensive end Calais Campbell is one of five Campbell brothers from the Denver area playing college football.

Raj: Junior wide receiver, 23, graduated from Denver South High School and is attending Adams State after two stints at California junior colleges.

Ciarre: Junior cornerback, 22, graduated from Denver South and is attending Montana after transferring from Colorado State.

Calais: Redshirt junior, 20, all-ACC player at Miami and graduate of Denver South.

Severin: Redshirt freshman linebacker, 19, at Montana backing up two seniors after graduating from Golden High School.

Jared: Freshman safety, 17, above, graduated from Overland High School and is playing with Calais at Miami. Chose the Hurricanes over Washington.

Staff writer John Henderson can be reached at 303-954-1299 or .
 08-07-2007, 03:54 PM         #1984
Hurricane Ra 
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Kids a former 5 star prospect.. Hes nice.. I hope the Clearinghouse will let him in
 9 years ago '04        #1985
Cap Peeler 7 heat pts
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$12,861 | Props total: 0 0
just seen this video on youtube.. it looks real nice, just thought i would share it wit ya'll if you ain't seen it

[code]http://youtube.com/watch?v=eU3V64c8wf4[/code]
 9 years ago '04        #1986
madness 7 heat pts
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$12,689 | Props total: 474 474
A deeper look: Offensive line
Among UM's many reasons for its offensive struggles the past two seasons, no unit likely received more criticism or blame than the offensive line. An eye-opening 36 sacks was part of the reason former line coach Art Kehoe got the boot after 2005.

But as porous as UM's line was in Kehoe's final season, most didn't expect much more from the o-line in 2006. Mario Cristobal started the season with one player -- Anthony Wollschlager -- who had any real significant playing time from the previous season and a rash of injuries. Yet, somehow, Miami's offensive line improved in 2006 even with a true freshman making 12 starts at tackle. Under Cristobal's leadership, the team cut its sacks allowed by 14 from 36 to 22.

This season, as Miami looks to improve on probably its worst offensive showing I've seen since I began following the Canes at age four, the offensive line is likely in the best shape its been in a while. This weekend as Camp Shannon began I took time to speak with several offensive lineman, defensive lineman and new line coach Jeff Stoutland to see how much progress has actually been made since last season. In my estimation: substantial.

Part of coach Randy Shannon's spring and summer conditioning program under strength coach Andreu Swasey was to whip Miami's fatboys into shape. Did he ever. Saturday, as Shannon pushed his entire team with 50-yard sprints to finish practice, only three lineman were straggling way behind. And most of that was due to dehydration and the need to vomit.

"Coach Shannon just focused on us being quick and being fast and moving faster. I think the whole o-line lost between 30 and 40 pounds,'' fourth-year junior Chris Rutledge said Saturday. "Iím proud of our whole o-line as a whole. I couldnít have done it on my own. Coaches helped, the players as well. The competition we had on a daily basis, that was big.Ē

Rutledge said he dropped from 333 at the end of last season to his current weight of 304. While he was among the bigs to cut weight, progress was also made in other ways. Freshman phenom Jason Fox, who began last season at 6-6, 265, now tips the scales at 6-6, 290. Most, if not all of that, was muscle.

"I donít think I lost anything far as speed or agility goes," Fox said. "I donít want to go into exact numbers. But I've gotten 30 to 40 pounds stronger in about every lifting category. Iím feeling good and so is the rest of our offensive line. Weíre ready to go."

Truth is, it doesn't look like everybody is ready. After speaking to players and coaches, I got the sense Miami has a core of about seven lineman -- Derrick Morse, Fox, Reggie Youngblood, Andrew Bain, A.J. Trump, Rutledge and Orlando Franklin -- who could probably start and hold their own this season. The next group -- Matt Pipho, John Rochford and Tyrone Byrd -- could play if needed. And a final group -- Cyrim Wimbs, Chris Barney, Harland Gunn, Joel Figueroa, Tyler Horne, Ian Symonnette -- probably just will never really be able to cut it or aren't ready yet. Of course, Monday was only the third day of practice (heck, these guys aren't even really hitting yet). And in the coming weeks, things can always change -- especially with injuries. But Canes fans should be happy because the situation is without a doubt improved on the o-line.

For starters, I think its pretty safe to say the tackle jobs have been won -- with Fox (at left), Youngblood (at right) and Rutledge (the key backup at either spot). Rutledge, once considered a project after leaving Miami Dr. Krop, certainly looks like he's really ready to contribute more than he did in his six starts a year ago when he looked lost.

"I think Rutledge has done a nice job in making transition from guard to tackle in the spring," Stoutland said. "I thought he did a really nice job. All of that does is make us thicker and make us a little thicker by position."

Guard is where it gets tricky, but only if sophomore Trump stumbles at center. If Trump, who is coming off nine months of rehab on a torn ACL, can hold his own, then Morse should be able to start as Miami's pulling guard on the right side and not at center. Trump, a redshirt sophomore from Clearwater, will be given a shot though and it appears Stoutland likes him a lot. And even if he struggles, John Rochford, once the long-snapper, may be able to step in if he steps up some more. Stoutland said he likes Rochford's quickness.

"What I like about A.J. is that heís a good leader," Stoutland said. "Heís a very smart and intelligent player and heíll make the appropriate calls when heís there. But heís got to do it physically. I have total confidence in him from a mental standpoint."

In my mind part of that opinion is formed from the idea having Morse at that guard spot is far more important for Miami's offense, which should be more run-based this season with Javarris James and Graig Cooper.

"Derrick is just a freak," Fox said. "Heís got an unbelievable motor. Heís the type of guy you want on your offensive line. At the end of every play, everybody is walking back to the huddle, heís running downfield trying to cut some guy."

"Guards, I think weíre really starting to solidify that position," Stoutland said. "D-Mo is an All-American and thatís why I really donít want to move D-Mo. He kind of solidifies s. Heís kind of in my mind one of the top players in this whole conference at the guard position. Although if Orlando comes on, then maybe you got three of them. Itís a lot of scenarios that can kind of happen."

Franklin is probably the one freshman on the team who has impressed most. After sitting out last season because he had to retake two high school English classes, the 6-7, 326-pound 19-year old freshman has turned heads enough now that the left guard spot is considered open for competition.

"Orlando is a new guy, but among the freshman he's furthest along," Stoutland said. "Heís so physical. Heís as strong and as quick on his feet as a fifth-year senior would be. So, heís way advanced in that category. Now, I got to get him mentally advanced to play."

Said Fox of Franklin: "For how big he is, heís an unbelievable athlete. Ive never seen him with pads on, but I canít wait. I'm excited about it. He could [be one of those freshman that plays right away]. Heís that type of guy. Heís studies hard. Im really excited about what he can do."

In the end, I expect senior Andrew Bain, the only Canes lineman to start all 13games last season, to edge out Franklin for the starting job (who appears prime to be a key contributor at either guard spot). But should an injury knock someone out, Franklin is likely the first man in.

Stoutland, of course, will say otherwise in the coming weeks. He's got to keep his guys competing on a high level and getting the most of his backups for progress sake.

"They look different than when I first got here," he told me when I asked him for an a.ssesment of their growth Monday. "Thereís still room for improvement. Now itís a matter of putting this group together, finding out the right combinations of people playing next to each other. Because you know, during the season, guys are going to get dinged up. Youíre going to have several different players going in there. So, I want to make sure I have a preseason that gives me a good understanding of who should be in the game if something would happen here, something would happen there so I can have the right people in the game."

As for Stoutland, he might be the perfect replacement for Cristobal. One player said he's a cross between Kehoe and Cristobal, fiery, but also a great tactician. One player told me, Stoutland spends more time correcting mistakes than any coach he's ever had. He's also apparently fair in distributing pain.

"Heís all-around -- funny and serious," Rutledge said. "He wants what he wants when he wants it. You can watch its kind of like NFL. If you work hard, you get a little rest. If you donít work hard, then you get run into the ground all day. Thatís how he is. Heís about hard work, work ethic and working hard."
 9 years ago '04        #1987
madness 7 heat pts
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$12,689 | Props total: 474 474
 Cap Peeler said:
just seen this video on youtube.. it looks real nice, just thought i would share it wit ya'll if you ain't seen it

[code]http://youtube.com/watch?v=eU3V64c8wf4[/code]
yessir...cant wait to see what highlights await us this season:applause:
 9 years ago '04        #1988
1000bluntz 
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If Powe can't even get into Ole Miss how in the fu*k would he get into Miami? I think it's a pipe dream and it's kind of sad, the kid is fu*king ill but stupid as sh*t.
 9 years ago '07        #1989
ttime236 38 heat pts38
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calais campbell gonna sh** on every1 we face
 9 years ago '04        #1990
madness 7 heat pts
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$12,689 | Props total: 474 474
CORAL GABLES, Fla. - The University of Miami Hurricanes wrapped up their fourth day of preseason camp at the Greentree Practice Fields Tuesday morning. Miami will put on full pads for the first time Wednesday.

"We worked again in the red zone and added third-down situations in there," UM head coach Randy Shannon said. "We got physical a little bit on the inside. The run guys did a good job on both sides of the ball."

Freshmen wide receiver Leonard Hankerson and defensive end Adewale Ojomo participated in their first practice after being cleared by the NCAA Clearinghouse on Monday afternoon. Hankerson prepped at St. Thomas Aquinas High School in Fort Lauderdale and led Broward County with 803 receiving yards on 39 receptions while scoring 14 touchdowns. Ojomo signed from nearby Hialeah High School, where he had 60 tackles and four sacks as a senior.

"It's nice for the team to have those guys practicing," Shannon said. "It's an opportunity for those guys. It's discouraging when you have to sit out and want to be a part of something. They did everything they were asked to do. But the Clearinghouse has to do paperwork and clear them. That's what happens."

Shannon confirmed that senior defensive tackle Teraz McCray sat out practice and is a "little nicked up right now."

Miami returns to the practice field in full pads at 7:50 a.m. Wednesday. The team will have a closed scrimmage on Thursday.

Notes:
Shannon Likes Split Punting and Kicking Duties
Redshirt freshman Matt Bosher, junior Daren Daly, senior David Strimple and senior Francesco Zampogna are all in competition for UM's punting and placekicking duties. "I really don't want the punter and kicker to be the same guy," Shannon said. "All of us (coaches) feel that way. It's a different rhythm of kicking the football. One is leg up. One is leg down. One is your drop has to be right. One is don't snap your head up."


Phillips Just Doing Fine
Junior safety Kenny Phillips was selected preseason All-ACC. He's also garnered preseason All-American honors from several publications. "He's doing fine right now," Shannon said. "He's working hard. He's trying to get better with the team. He's making adjustments. We're excited about him."

Gordon Dropping Deep Some
Sophomore tight end Richard Gordon has worked some at returning punts the first couple of days of practice. At 6-4, 260 pounds, Gordon is also in the mix to be the starting tight end for the Hurricanes.
 08-08-2007, 01:01 PM         #1991
Hurricane Ra 
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August 8, 2007

Gary Ferman, CaneSport Magazine

Related Links:
Darrell Simmons bioVideo highlights

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College Park (GA) Banneker High School safety Darrell Simmons has never visited Miami.

But he says that won't stop him from possibly announcing he will be a Cane at some point in the next few weeks.

"Miami's No. 1 on the list right now," Simmons said. "I talk to coach (Patrick) Nix about once a week. Last time we talked he just said he would love for me to come down and play for Miami."

As for his announcement time line, Simmons said, "It could be any day now. I might commit without visiting because Miami's a school I grew up watching. I always wanted to go to Miami."

He says the latest he would wait to make an announcement is his first game of the year.

He says Alabama is No. 2 on his list.

"Miami's pulling away from them, but it's still kind of close," Simmons said.

He said other schools still in the picture are Florida, Michigan and Ohio State.

Of what he knows about UM, Simmons said, "I just know they send a lot of players to the NFL and that they're a good winning program."

Simmons has earned comparisons to a young Sean Taylor, and last year he finished with 90 tackles, eight for losses, with an interception.

"He's a phenomenal ball player," Banneker High coach Benny Crane said. "He's one of the best football players that I've ever had. He's just an unbelievable player and I fully expect for him to dominate at the next level.

"Miami's definitely the school that's his dream school. I'm just happy we were able to procure an offer for him, because that's something he always wanted. I wouldn't be surprised if he winds up there."

Simmons is expected to graduate high school early and report to a college in January.
 9 years ago '04        #1992
madness 7 heat pts
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Hankerson cleared for practice

After days of waiting on a paperwork holdup, one of Miami's next big hopes at receiver got his chance to practice with the team.



[pic - click to view]


His position coach said he has ''hands the size of Godzilla,'' which might make Leonard Hankerson one of the scarier University of Miami football players.

But during his first practice in a college uniform Tuesday, it was the baby-faced Hankerson whose nerves were frayed.

Hankerson, rated the best high school wide receiver out of Broward County in 2006, watched practice in street clothes for three consecutive days before Tuesday, often shoulder-to-shoulder with coach Randy Shannon while growing increasingly nervous that the NCAA Clearinghouse would not permit him to play.

''[On Monday] it started to get to me a little bit, like I felt like I wanted to give up,'' said Hankerson, a 6-3, 199-pound freshman from Fort Lauderdale. "But I was going to keep praying and stuff and keep hanging around and know that it was going to work out for me.''

Finally on Monday afternoon, UM compliance director David Reed and director of football operations Corey Bell told Hankerson he had been cleared. He said he was ''very excited,'' then anxious.

"My first day was tough....I had to f!ght through it. When I had to do my first workout, I ran, I was shaking, I was nervous. I was just very happy to be able to come out and be with my teammates.''

Hankerson's coaches were just as thrilled, even if his first session was both daunting and inspiring. UM has been in desperate need of depth at receiver. Jermaine McKenzie, another heralded freshman receiver, broke three bones in his neck in a car accident and is expected to be redshirted.

Hankerson played for George Smith at Fort Lauderdale St. Thomas Aquinas High and was The Miami Herald Class 6A-4A Male Athlete of the Year. In football (he also ran track and played basketball), Hankerson averaged more than 20 yards a catch in his final two seasons. He caught 39 passes for 803 yards and 14 touchdowns as a senior.

He attended Dillard as a freshman, which Hankerson believes was part of the Clearinghouse holdup -- something to do with a transcript.

''Hankerson is very, very smart,'' UM wide receivers coach Marquis Moseley said. "He has worked with [former NFL receiver] Cris Carter the last couple years in high school. You can tell. Hank catches the ball very well.....He and Lance [Leggett] can battle out that position [at split end] and we'll see who steps to the top.''

Leggett, a senior who has had various setbacks the past three seasons, is one of only two UM players who had more than two receiving touchdowns last season. He and Sam Shields had four apiece. Leggett finished with 38 catches for 584 yards, a 15.4-yards-per-catch average. Shields, now a sophomore, had 37 catches for 501 yards (13.5), the most catches by a UM true freshman since Reggie Wayne in 1997.

Two other newcomers to compete for playing time are Kayne Farquharson of Homestead, a 6-2, 185-pound transfer from El Camino (Calif.) Junior College, and 6-6, 215-pound freshman Daniel Adderley of Simpsonville, S.C.

Hankerson, 18, said he chose Miami over Ohio State, Michigan and Georgia because he wanted to be near home.

Not only is he close with his mother, Lisa Williams, but he has a 17-month-old son.

''I love him to death,'' Hankerson said of his son, Leonard III. 'My favorite thing to do is play with him. He's walking around saying a couple of little things and getting into everything. `Da-da, Mama, Mommy.' And he says,`I love you.'

"When I look at him, I know I have to work hard on the field because I have to take care of him -- he's got to eat.''
 9 years ago '04        #1993
madness 7 heat pts
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$12,689 | Props total: 474 474
simmons got arrested for buglary in june, i wonder if that will play a role on whether he ends up in miami
 9 years ago '04        #1994
madness 7 heat pts
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$12,689 | Props total: 474 474
The other guy at safety
Covering Miami-Dade high school football for the past decade has allowed me to develop some special relationships with guys who have ended up at The U. One of those is safety Lovon Ponder, who is without question one of the greatest two-sport athletes to come out of Dade in the last decade. Ponder, in fact, is one of the rare Dade athletes to win a state football and basketball title in the same season. He did that in 2003 at Monsignor Pace.

While most of the attention in Miami's secondary will go to former Carol City star Kenny Phillips (a guy I've always believed would end up being a first round pick since I first saw him as a sophomore in high school) Ponder could be the guy who shines brightest this season. With Anthony Redd*ck out for the season and Brandon Meriweather off to the NFL, Ponder's role and responsibility in Miami's secondary has been elevated. While freshmen Jojo Nicholas (Homestead High) and Doug Wiggins (North Miami Beach) are likely to own Miami's safety future, Miami's last line of defense the next two seasons will likely be Ponder's responsibility.

I caught up with him at media day and had a long one-on-one conversation. Here it is:

Q: First of all, how are you and how do you feel about the opportunity now of really being counted on to be the man with Kenny Phillips at safety?
A: "It's a great opportunity for me and Kenny to lead this secondary group that I believe is one of the best in the country. It'll be a fun ride if this group right here can stay together and stick with each other."

Q: What's it like to play with Kenny back there? You guys obviously grew up just a few miles away from each other in Opa Locka? When did you first meet and how well do you guys know each other, to the point you don't even need to communicate on the field?
A: "Actually, through a marriage, my wife and Kenny are cousins. We're related. I met him when he was in the 10th grade at Carol City and I was in the 11th grade at Pace. We kind of connected then. And when he came here we kind of connected even more. My wife Lakanya and him went to Carol City together. It's a small world. They treated each other like sister and brother out there."

Q: Talk to me about the rest of those guys in the secondary, start with Randy Phillips first. I know recently he lost his brother. What's it been like talking to him and have you guys been trying to lift his spirits?
A: "It's devastating to lose a brother, especially one your close to. When I found out it happened, I called him and asked him how he was doing and just let him know I'm there for him. He's going to be stepping up big time as a starter and he started last year and played pretty good last year. I believe he's going to play good this year. He was kind of down, but I believe when he went home and saw his son that uplifted him. I have a son and anytime I do something bad or something bad happens, I just look at him and know life goes on."

Q: Talk about Glenn Sharpe. What have his spirits been like? I know he's had a rough career here with injuries and what happened in that 2002 national title game.
A: "Glenn is probably the most high-spirited guys on the team. I always look at him as motivation because he could have quit anytime he wanted to because he could have said 'This is over, I tore both knees, I don't need to play.' But he's stuck through it and through the grace of God he's still here."

Q: There are a lot of other young guys from Dade who are going to be a part of the future of this secondary, Chavez Grant (Booker T. Washington), DeMarcus Van Dyke (Pace), Jojo Nicholas and Doug Wiggins. How are they doing? And are of them ahead of the game, more mature then expected?
A: "It's equal opportunity really. They're going to get a chance to show what they can do in two-a-days to have a chance to play against Marshall. Jojo Nicholas is really going to come along as the third or fourth safety behind me Kenny and [Wille] Cooper. Tervaris [Johnson] and Chavez have been playing real good. Then, you got DeMarcus who has been doing really well covering guys. Bascially, all of those new guys who came in have gotten interceptions on 7-on-7s and really done things."

Q: Anybody in those 7-on-7s really show you something or standout?
A: "I'll say two guys, probably DeMarcus and Jojo. They played pretty good on 7-on-7s, picking up plays and just learning the system."

Q: What it's like with coach Walton being the coordinator and not having coach Shannon out there, calling the plays?
A: "It's no different. It's the same defense. They basically run the same philosophy. It's just a different coaching style."

Q: Last year, you threw that touchdown pass in the win against North Carolina. People say that might have been one of the top moments of all of last season. Any chance we get to see your arm again this year?
A: "Hopefully, he'll do it again. And if he don't, maybe I can be a decoy, run the fake and they go deep to Lance, Sam or Nuke."

Q: Talk a little about the receivers and what you saw out of them this summer, and the quarterbacks too, are they really better than last year?
A: "Oh, they're 100 percent better. I guess their chemistry. They have been in the film room together, outside, running routes and doing different things that has really made them a unit."

Q: Do you think coach has really made a huge impact with the offense by having the offense sort of work the same way the defense has for years?
A: "It's a credit to Coach Shannon and to Coach Nix. Coach Nix is basically Coach Shannon on the offensive side. He's fiery, gets hoarse a lot in practice. I know he pumps the offense up."

Q: The receivers, I know Darnell missed the spring and is coming off that injury. He cut his dreads Is there a different attitude with him and Leggett?
A: "Different attitude. Both of them. They have workman's mentality. They're much better. Nuke is doing real good and Lance is doing real good. They're different people."

Q: You mentioned Jojo and DVD on defense, which freshman have shown you the most on offense in the receiving game?
A: "Well, Jermaine was doing real well in the springtime before he hurt himself. Richard Gordon looked pretty good at tight end because he's quick and fast. Leonard can really catch the ball. He's got that knack for the ball. He goes and gets it. There were several times in 7-on-7s he went and got the ball over a couple of people."
 9 years ago '07        #1995
ttime236 38 heat pts38
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leonard is gettin alot of hype comin out of pratices so he better be a sick ballplayer come gametime
 9 years ago '04        #1996
1000bluntz 
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Y'all hearing that Ramon Buchanan will probably wind up being a Gator rather than a Cane? I heard he's about to switch and people have been saying since he committed to y'all that he would wind up at UF anyways. I don't really buy that sh*t because why commit to somewhere knowing you're not going there. He comes from a Gator pipeline school and he's really good, I hope we steal him from y'all.
 9 years ago '04        #1997
madness 7 heat pts
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 1000bluntz said:
Y'all hearing that Ramon Buchanan will probably wind up being a Gator rather than a Cane? I heard he's about to switch and people have been saying since he committed to y'all that he would wind up at UF anyways. I don't really buy that sh*t because why commit to somewhere knowing you're not going there. He comes from a Gator pipeline school and he's really good, I hope we steal him from y'all.
i've heard that, both he and marcus robinson are wavering on their soft commitments, which is why i dont put too much stock in early commits, they're 17-year old kids who's minds are constantly changing. it is what it is, tho.
 9 years ago '04        #1998
madness 7 heat pts
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Bad news: Cook, Ponder hurt
The first bad news of the fall has come out -- linebacker Glenn Cook and safety Lovon Ponder (who were both expected to be starters) -- are injured.

As UM scrimmaged for the first time this fall, both were out with injuries. Coach Randy Shannon told reporters Cook is expected to miss between three to four games. Ponder, who was seen on crutches around school Wednesday, could return to the team before the start of the season.

Cook's loss means Miami will be without its most experienced linebacker to start the season. Cook was tied for the lead for most starts with Tavares Gooden with 14. But without question, he was expected to replace Jon Beason as the brainchild and leader of the linebacking corps from the weakside. Now, Gooden or Spencer Adkins will likely replace him in the starting lineup alongside sophomore Darryl Sharpton and Colin McCarthy.

Willie Cooper who made the big interception to save UM from an ugly loss to Duke last season is now expected to carry the load at safety alongside Kenny Phillips until Ponder returns. Freshmen Jojo Nicholas could also see some time there.
 9 years ago '04        #1999
madness 7 heat pts
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Small lineman plays big for Hurricanes
He doesn't look the part of a defensive tackle, but Josh Holmes -- who has a spot on the first team -- sure can play the part.

Don't judge a defensive tackle by the way he looks.

At least don't judge Josh Holmes.

University of Miami coach Randy Shannon didn't.

He liked the young left tackle so much that he came to two of his basketball games at San Diego's Point Loma High School, visited his home at least twice and called him on the phone constantly.

''All the time,'' said Holmes, a redshirt freshman who has never played a snap in college but has been promoted to the first team. ``He personally came down to give me my [scholarship] papers to sign.

``I chose the Hurricanes because of tradition and Coach Shannon. Coach Shannon really recruited me hard and I fell in love with the guy. That's why I came here.''

Holmes is listed as 6-2 in the UM media guide, but he concedes he's 6-0 and 278 pounds. Looking at him, he doesn't fit the image of a hulking muscle man. But Shannon compares him to UM great Warren Sapp -- not to mention Holmes was rated the 15th-best defensive tackle by rivals.com and chose UM over Southern Cal and Florida State.

''You know what?'' said defensive line coach Clint Hurtt. 'If you look at him, you'd say, `That guy plays defensive tackle at the Univerity of Miami?' [Heck,] that would be my first comment. Physically, his body type, his dimensions, don't hold up to the rest of the guys. But he has great burst. He's good, and he had the heart, determination and character of a guy you want for a defensive tackle.''

Shannon was asked what he saw in Holmes in high school that made him travel to the West Coast as much as he did. ''He's explosive,'' Shannon said. ``He's explosive like Warren Sapp was. He had that first great step and he played hard. And he played tight end also. When you have a guy that can play two positions, that means a lot.''

Holmes, 19, said his short stature helps him leverage-wise, just like it helps fellow defensive tackle Teraz McCray, who is built similarly.

''Being short is a plus for me and Teraz, because whoever is lowest is going to win the battle up front,'' Holmes said. ``I watched Teraz play on TV before I committed here and he's a wonderful player. The whole defense has been talking to me and encouraging me.''

The offense, too.

Right guard Derrick Morse, who is a hulk, has been going against Holmes since camp started. ''Let me tell you, that kid has a lot of heart,'' Morse said. ``He's very fast off the ball. He's not very big, but he plays with good technique. He plays low and he never quits.

'I try to work these guys down till they die and Josh never dies. He's like, `Damn! You pancaked me!' '' And I'll be like, 'Damn! That was a nice pass-rush move you had -- that little shake got me.' He's got a lot of moves, and he's a great kid.''

All-American Calais Campbell said Holmes also was ``tremendously smart.

''That's what separates him from the pack,'' he said. ``He plays with his head first.''

Holmes, whose mother is a manager at Radio Shack and whose father is a night manager for a water company, said he will stay humble. He just wants to play.

''I'll just keep competing,'' he said. ``I might be a short guy, but when it comes to getting off the line, I'm going to come after you.''
 08-09-2007, 12:15 PM         #2000
Hurricane Ra 
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Shields caught a 50 yard Touchdown
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