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 10 years ago '04        #4876
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Update

Randy Phillips interview quick notes:

Reporter: This is your fourth defensive coordinator since you have been here at the U. Tell us about the system that coach Lovett is implimenting.

Phillips: Its going real good. Coach Lovett is very enthusiastic and he has a great scheme.

Reporter: How tough was it on you to have to sit out after being injured last year in the Texas A&M game?

Phillips: The toughest thing was having to sit out knowing that his teammates needed him out there on the field. The recovery part is long and humbling

Reporter: Talk about the secondary in particular on where you feel like your strength's and weaknesses are.

Phillips; I think that we very strong all through the secondary. We have a lot of veteran corners that are coming back and alot of young boys coming in at corner that can play. In the safety, we have myself and JoJo Nichols coming back and Vaughn who did real good in the spring. I think we are going to be solid back there.

Reporter: What should hurricane fans expect to see defensively on the field this year?

Phillips: You can expect to see a great defense with alot of hard hits, alot of turnovers, and the defense scoring plenty of touchdowns.

Update

Lyrone Byrd interview quick notes:

Reporter: A great group of wide receivers coming back this year. Talk about the talent that you guys have in that unit.

Byrd: Its so diverse. We can hit you in so many areas. You have Benjamin, a 4.2 guy, Collier, a shifty guy, Hankerson who is a big target, Tommy Streeter who is a serious deep threat.

Reporter: Talk about the playbook with coach Whipple.

Byrd: We we first got it, it was kind of hard and everyone was confused. He brought in alot from the NFL so it was kind of hard for us to pick up on it but once he broke everything down and started explaining the concepts, we began to understand it alot more.

Reporter: Talk about the stable of running backs that you guys have this year.

Byrd: You got Greg Cooper and Jarvaris James who have been doing their thing since they were freshman. And then you have Mike James who have been tearing things up. Everyday he breaks at least a 50 yard run.

 10 years ago '04        #4877
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Update

Jason Fox interview quick notes:

Reporter: How is the offensive line coming along?

Fox: Its coming along pretty well. We have improved alot. We still have some ways to go but we have all summer and the fall to get ready for the beginning of the season.

Reporter: How are the younger guys coming along?

Fox: It is like night and day from since the time that they got here up until now. Guys are doing a real good job.

Reporter: What are your goals for this year?

Fox: My goal is to win a national championship. Its my goal and everybody elses goal. And we are not going to change our standard. We want to win the ACC and then a National Championship.

Update

Sean Spence interview quick notes:

Reporter: How did things go particularly for the linebackers this spring?

Spence: I think we went out there and got alot done on the linebacker side. We had guys out there flying around and just making plays.

Reporter: You had a great freshman year here at miami. How do you build on that for your sophmore year?

Spence: I go back at look at film from last year and I just try to improve on things and just get better. Im working on the little things.

Reporter: Its going to be a challenge right away kicking off the season at Florida State. Is that a good thing?

Spence; Yeah! Its a very good thing. Guys like myself came to miami to play in big games like this on a huge stage in front of large capacities.

Part II of Randy Shannon interview quick notes:

Reporter: Lets move on to your side of the ball. Miami has been known throughout the years for having that swagger on the defensive side. What can fans expect? Are we going to have that back?

Shannon: Yeah. Yeah. We are going to have it (swagger) back. Coach Lovett has been doing a great job with the defense and he has been around alot of football. The players like what he is doing and he has that good sense of humor with the players. They joke around with him but when it is time for him to get stern, he's stern. The players really respond to him.

 10 years ago '04        #4878
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After arriving five minutes into the game and already staring down the barrel of a 4-0 Florida State lead, we turned our attention to making FSU Leftfielder/Pitcher Mike McGee’s life a living hell at the Friday night baseball game.

Let’s just say we were unsuccessful, as his two home runs and double were enough to silence his doubters.

However, what truly endeared McGee to us (take off your white wig) was during the eighth inning, when McGee made a play just in front of our seats. As he jogged back to his position we asked him a very simple question: “Jennifer Anniston or Courtney Cox?”

Expecting the typical straight ahead glare very common of baseball players who are trying to “stay in the game” and “be professional”, Scarpa and I were both surprised and charmed when McGee yelled back to us “Jennifer Anniston bro!”

Needless to say, Scarpa and I have a new, collective bromance.

While all this was fun, the point of this blog post is not to make you laugh. Obviously, we take our self much more seriously here at Stein on the Sidelines.

So we will continue with our breakdown of the 2010 recruiting class. Up today is the wide receiver position.

Quinton Dunbar, Booker T. Washington

Dunbar, at 6’3”, 170 lbs. according to Rivals, is a tall and lanky downfield threat. He already has committed to the ‘Canes and then rescinded that commitment, but most consider him a ‘Cane lock. Rivals has him as a 4 star player.

Dunbar

Ivan McCartney, Miramar

Chad Johnson’s cousin “Sticks” is in my opinion the top receiver in South Florida. He is the total package, and many think he is Miami’s to lose. He is 6’3”, 180 lbs. and a 4 star player according to Rivals.

Sticks

Michaelee Harris, Miami Northwestern

Northwestern’s latest wide receiver prospect is considered to be a solid but not spectacular player, they type that all teams need. He will naturally get compared to Aldarious Johnson, but he is not big enough for that. Rivals has him at 6’, 167 lbs.

De’Joshua Johnson, Pahokee

Johnson is “The Muck’s” annual smurf that does nothing but make plays, following in the footsteps of players like Travis Benjamin, Martvaious Odoms and Nu’Keese Richardson. He is considered a Florida State lock, but Miami is working hard on him. Rivals has him as a 4 star player and listed generously at 5’11”, 150 lbs.

Chris Dunkley, Royal Palm Beach

Dunkley is a battle between the Gators and ‘Canes, and may be the most electric player in Florida. Most a.ssumed he was heading away from home, but Miami is very much in the picture. Rivals has him at 4 stars and 5’10”, 164 lbs.

Joshua Reese, Miami Central

Reese, like Harris, is solid but not spectacular. He is the type of player that has typically ended up at USF or West Virginia, but Miami likes to take players from Central, so he may be a strong Plan B receiver if the ‘Canes miss out on Johnson and Dunkley. Rivals has him at 4 stars and 6’1”, 172 lbs.

Willis Wright, Miami Springs

Wright is a playmaker at both receiver and safety. He is down to UM and FIU, and many think he is headed to FIU to get a chance at receiver, while Miami wants him at safety. Rivals has him as 6’2”, 185 lbs.

Others to Keep an Eye On: Kenny Shaw, James Louis, Teddy Meline

That is the rundown for the receivers.

 10 years ago '04        #4879
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2010 Recruiting: Running Backs

by Dan Stein

1 April 2009

Hello All,

Today, we continue the introduction to the class of 2010 with a breakdown of the running back class, featuring a lot of South Florida studs.

Last season, the 'Canes took two running backs, Mike James and Lamar Miller. James has already showed that he has a bright future. Miller is expected to make an impact as a kick returner and possible out of the backfield upon arrival.

Given that the 'Canes have a solid stable in place and will lose only 1-2 to graduation means that Miami will get to be choosy with their scholarships at this position.

Eduardo Clements, Booker T Washington High School

Clements is regarded as the most complete back in South Florida and one of the tops in the nation as a 4 star player at Rivals. He has the combination of burst, size and speed that coaches love at 5'10" and 185 lbs. and can catch the ball out of the backfield. He has been rumored to be Florida State's to lose, but has declared Georgia his leader. With Miami in his backyard, nothing will be finalized until signing day.

Clements

Jakari Gore, Columbus High

Gore, the cousin of former Hurrican and current 49er superstar Frank Gore, is on the smallish side but is a beast with the ball in the open field. Many think he will be a scatback/slot receiver at the next level, in the mold of a Devin Hester type. He is the type of guy that you get the ball 10-12 times a game and let him do the rest. Rivals lists him as a 4 star player at 5'10", 170 lbs.

Gio Bernard, St. Thomas Aquinas

Bernard, who's older brother starred at Oregon State, is one of the top handful of backs in Florida this year. He is well coached at St. Thomas Aquinas and measures in at 5'9", 198 lbs. He has been rumored to be headed to the West Coast for college, but Miami is reportedly hard after him. Rivals has him at 4 stars.

Bernard

Brandon Gainer, Miami Central High

Gainer is listed at 6', 194 lbs. by Rivals and was one of Dade's top rushers as a junior last season. He will not blow anyone away with raw ability but is a grinder that will be productive. Is apparently a heavy lean to FSU, but again, he is in Miami's backyard.

Devon Wright, Taravella High

Wright is somewhat unknown at this point to the casual observer, but coaching staffs across the nation are taking notice. He is unlisted on Rivals, but other indications have him at 6'1" 195 lbs. and equally adept at running back as safety. Wright will blossom this year, and the 'Canes may take him as a bigger compliment to a scat back.

Other local players to take note of include Southwest Miami's Hosey Williams, Northwestern's Corvin Lamb, Pace's DeAndre Johnson and ArchBishop Carroll's Jeff Scott. Also, the 'Canes are after another runner out of Wichita, 4 Star Joseph Randle. However, the 'Canes have offered him as a defensive back, and may cut bait altogether after the Bryce Brown fiasco.

 10 years ago '04        #4880
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Recruiting: 2010 (Insert Law and Order Chime Here)

by Dan Stein


Hello All,

Now that the spring game is over, it is time to turn our attention to recruiting for the next month or so. This is shaping up to be a loaded year in South Florida, and this will probably be the most balanced of Randy Shannon’s recruiting classes to this point, with the emphasis most likely being on cornerbacks and offensive linemen.

I will begin a position by position summary of the prospects you should know at this point at the most important position of all, quarterback.

This year, Miami will certainly take one and probably two quarterbacks. After taking only A.J. Highsmith last season, Miami may not have to leave the state to take two this year.

This is also the position that we know the least about right now. There has not been much news about Miami and any of the prospects listed here aside from the players that have attended Miami camps and made statements publicly about the ‘Canes. However, this is a pretty good idea of where the ‘Canes stand on their recruiting board presently.

Jeffrey Godfrey, Miami Central High School

Godfrey seems to be the number one signal caller in South Florida this season, although he is at maximum 5’11”. Still, Godfrey has a cannon and will lead a loaded Central team this season with fellow Miami targets Josh Reece and Brandon Gainer. Godfrey is currently a 4 star player on Rivals despite his lack of height.

Godfrey

Christian Green, Tampa, FL

Green is a dynamic athlete at 6’2” with a listed 4.4 forty according to Rivals. Scout actually lists him as a receiver, but Green is regarded as one of the best recruits in Florida at any position. He is from Tampa, so one would naturally a.ssume that if UF wants him he is theirs. However, Green is high on several SEC schools as well as Miami, and the Gators already have stud QB recruit Trey Burton in the barn. Green could be a nice addition for Miami, and the pair of Green and Godfrey would give Miami two guys who can chuck it and run it with equal aplomb. Rivals ranks Green as a 4 star player at this point.

Turner Baty, St. Thomas Aquinas

Baty is a transfer from California who will take over the top high school team in the nation. He likes the ‘Canes, but Miami will probably wait and see how he performs in South Florida with so much talent around him before they make a decision one way or another on him. He is a solid 6’2” and 200 lbs. according to Rivals.

Michael Strauss, Gulliver Prep

Strauss is a scrappy competitor who I watched in the Gulliver’s state title game loss this past December. I thought he had a lot of work to do if he wants to be a Miami-caliber quarterback, but it would not surprise me if he worked his way to an offer. He is not the most physically gifted, but there is a bit of a nasty streak to him, which I like.

Others to keep an eye on: Brandon Doughty (Coconut Creek, FL), Brandon Hill (Audubon, NJ)

Tomorrow, I will take a look at the LOADED running back position.

Also, this is a debate that I have been having with my friends for a while now: Who is the most popular athlete on Earth?

I know that Tiger has all the money (and easily the best looking girl), but does that make him the most popular? Is Beckham really representative of soccer? What about Michael Schumacher? Formula 1 is popular everywhere but America, and he is the Michael Jordan of the sport. Or is it Kobe Bryant, the rockstar of the China Olympics? Maybe a Wild Card like Yao Ming or Michael Phelps?

More importantly, is this girl hot or not?

These are the questions I want answers to. Anyone that reads this (and there has to be someone out there reading this), please let me know what you think.

Until I have found my answer, I will continue to search, like Kentucky fans are still searching for an answer to this.

 10 years ago '04        #4881
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ACC Spring Football Power Rankings
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ACC Spring Football Power Rankings

Slide 1 of 14
TAMPA, FL - DECEMBER 06: Tech fans celebrate after the Virginia Tech Hokies score in the third quarter against the Boston College Eagles in the 2008 ACC Football Championship game at the Raymond James Stadium on December 6, 2008 in Tampa, Florida. Virgin

Spring is finally here and it's never too early to start talking ACC football.

Seems like a good enough reason for spring Power Rankings and team-by-team breakdowns.

The ACC was as competitive if not more so than any league in the country last season, sending a staggering 10 teams bowling.

The scary thing is 2009's version could and probably should be even more competitive.

Virginia Tech will enter the season as defending Atlantic Coast Conference Champions for the second straight season.

Also, for the first time in 16 years both the ACC Offensive and Defensive Players of the Year return in Georgia Tech's Jonathan Dwyer and Boston College's Mark Herzlich.

They'll all have to work though if they'd like to retain their respective titles.

Yes, this season should be another step forward for the ACC, which should finally get the respect it deserves on a national level.

Now to the power rankings:

12. Duke Blue Devils

Sorry, Blue Devil fans. Although Duke took steps in the right direction last year, they're still bringing up the rear in the ACC.

For now.

In just his first year with the Blue Devils, David Cutcliffe matched the combined win total of Duke's previous four seasons.

However, four wins is nothing to write home about. It is progress though for Duke, and they should take yet another step forward this year.

The Blue Devils will miss the services of talented receiver Eron Riley and linebacker Michael Tauiliili who led the ACC last year in tackles.

On the plus side, one of the better quarterbacks in the league, Thaddeus Lewis returns, as well as 2007 team leading rusher Re'Quan Boyette, who sat out all last year with a knee injury.

Returning sack leader defensive tackle Vince Oghobaase and linebacker Vincent Rey, should help anchor the defensive unit.

Don't expect the Blue Devils to take a step back this season.

11. Virginia Cavaliers

Virginia fans have to be excited about the prospect of quarterback Jameel Sewell returning to the field and bringing back four of five starters on the offensive line.

Not so much, though, about the loss of leading rusher Cedric Peerman and last season's top four receivers: Kevin Ogletree, Maurice Covington, Cary Koch and tight end John Phillips.

Losing three of your starting linebackers is never fun, either.

Though I would be cautious to deem Sewell some kind of savior before the season even begins, he could very well reemerge as a solid quarterback.

Running back Mikell Simpson will tote the rock for the Wahoos and could turn some heads if he works hard enough.

With the addition of new offensive coordinator Gregg Brandon's spread offense, UVA could be a surprise team.

 10 years ago '04        #4882
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10. Boston College Eagles

Boston College has been one of the most consistent teams since joining the ACC and has played in the last two ACC Championship games.

However, this season will likely be more of a down year for the Eagles.

BC fans should be thrilled about ACC Defensive Player of the Year linebacker Mark Herzlich returning to lead the defense, and sophomore running back Montel Harris showed his skill in eclipsing 100 yards in three of the Eagles' last five games.

Expecting a third straight trip to the ACC Championship is probably a little unreasonable though.

The loss of big-time players on defense like B.J. Raji and Ron Brace, as well as linebacker Mike McLaughlin, who is out indefinitely after tearing his Achilles' tendon, won't help the Eagles' cause.

Add a young and unproven quarterback as well as a new coaching staff to the mix and you've got the Eagles probably looking at a rebuilding year.

That being said Boston College is consistently consistent and has a knack for overachieving.

9. Wake Forest Demon Deacons

Wake Forest's question marks lie on defense and wide receiver. The Demon Deacons will be without top pass catcher D.J. Boldin and another starting receiver in Chip Brinkman. However, the real area of concern for the Deacs is on defense.

Wake will have to replace seven starters on the defensive side of the ball, including a phenomenal corner back in Alphonso Smith and a simply irreplaceable talent in linebacker Aaron Curry, who may be the best player in this year's NFL draft.

That being said, it's not all doom and gloom for Wake.

The offense should improve just about everywhere, with maybe the possible exception of the receiving corps.

Talented quarterback Riley Skinner returns behind an offensive line that should be better.

Behind him, the Demon Deacons should also improve with a deep rotation of running backs featuring Brandon Pendergrass, Josh Adams, and a player to watch in Kevin Harris.

Furthermore, Jim Grobe is an excellent coach who can X and O with the best of them so Wake fans have no reason to sulk.

8. Maryland Terrapins

Maryland was a somewhat baffling team at points last year, losing inexplicably to Middle Tennessee State and getting shellacked 31—0 by UVA, but then turning around and toppling four ranked teams, including a 26—0 win over then-No. 21 Wake Forest.

If the Terrapins want to contend for an Atlantic division crown, they'll have to win the games they're supposed to win.

They'll also have to replace three starters on the offensive line, talented speedster receiver Darrius Heyward—Bay, and four starters from Maryland's defensive front seven.

The good news? Senior quarterback Chris Turner, who passed for 2,516 yards and 13 touchdowns last year as well as talented running backs Da'Rel Scott and Davin Meggett, who teamed for over 1,500 yards and 12 touchdowns on the ground, all return.

If first—year defensive coordinator Don Brown can put together a solid defense to go along with what should be a productive offense, the Terrapins will definitely be around in the end.

 10 years ago '04        #4883
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7. Clemson Tigers

Clemson was unanimously viewed as a disappointment last year after beginning the season ranked No. 9 in the nation and ending with a record of 7—6, which was inflated by two wins against FCS teams The Citadel and South Carolina State.

The beauty of spring though is it signifies a new beginning, and Clemson will surely like to start anew.

No more Tommy Bowden, James "Thunder" Davis, Aaron Kelly and Cullen Harper, along with a new offensive coordinator, will give the Tigers a different look this season.

However, Clemson fans will be glad to get back offensive playmakers C.J. Spiller and Jacoby Ford.

They'll also be familiar on defense with nine starters back from a defense that finished in the top 20 nationally in both scoring and total defense.

Defensive end Da'Quan Bowers could emerge as a star this season.

In any case, Dabo Swinney and the Tigers will put last season in the past and focus on putting together the best possible team to contend in the Atlantic this season.

6. NC State Wolfpack

After dropping six of their first eight games, the Wolfpack got hot and won four of the last five.

A big part of that late-season success was due to the emergence of Russell Wilson, who became the first freshman quarterback to earn first—team All—ACC honors.

Wilson will return as arguably the best quarterback in the ACC to lead the Wolfpack.

On offense NC State will have to replace both starting guards, John Bedics and Meares Green, as well as leading rusher Andre Brown.

Defensively, there's not too much change though they will lose two starters in the secondary.

However, the Wolfpack will get 2006 leading rusher Toney Baker back after two injury-plagued seasons.

He will share the load with running back Jamelle Eugene in the backfield on what should be an improved offense overall.

NC State should be much better this year and will be legitimate contenders for the Atlantic crown

5. North Carolina Tar Heels

North Carolina took some huge steps forward last season in Butch Davis's second year as the Tar Heels' head coach.

Their eight wins doubled their 2007 total, they made their first bowl appearance in five years, and they cracked the Top 25 for the first time in seven years.

The Tar Heels should continue their rise in '09, though it likely won't be as drastic.

UNC returns nine starters on defense, tied with Clemson for the most in the ACC.

They'll also get back talented quarterback T.J. Yates, who missed seven games last season after injuring his ankle in a game against Virginia Tech.

Running back Shaun Draughn who led the team last year 866 rushing yards, will be a player to watch.

Fellow running back Ryan Houston will also be a big part of the ground game, as Greg Little will move to wide receiver.

It's not all good news for the Heels though. A large part of the reason for Little's move to receiver is the departure of North Carolina's top three receivers from last year.

Superstar Hakeem Nicks will be irreplaceable and Brandon Tate will be missed for multiple reasons including his dangerous return abilities.

Yes, losing Nicks and Tate isn't fun but North Carolina has a lot of confidence in their defense, ground game, and quarterback T.J. Yates. They should be better overall in '09.

 10 years ago '04        #4884
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4. Miami Hurricanes

Talent isn't something Miami fans should be worrying about in 2009; they've got plenty.

It's whether that young talent will be able to jell in time to survive an early season schedule that would make the other team in green from Miami sit up.

The Canes' first three games are against arguably the three best teams in the ACC, including road trips to Florida State, the always friendly Lane Stadium, and one at home against a Georgia Tech team that dismantled them by 18 points last year.

They begin the non—conference portion of their schedule with a walk in the park when the Oklahoma Sooners come to town. Yeah, just kidding.

A 2—2 record to start the season would be impressive enough.

Don't tell that to the Miami Hurricanes though. With new offensive coordinator Mark Whipple's creative pro style offense and a bunch of young talented receivers for up—and—coming quarterback Jacory Harris to throw to, the Canes feel they can play with anyone.

They just might be right.

3. Florida State Seminoles

There hasn't exactly been much good news coming out of Tallahassee for Seminoles fans recently, especially if you're a wide receiver enthusiast.

Most of Florida State's offensive firepower from last year is gone and on top of that receivers meant to fill starting roles like Rod Owens, have been suspended.

Last year's leading rusher Antone Smith is also gone and the defense will have to find replacements for six starters including star defensive end Everette Brown.

Lou Groza Award winning placekicker Graham Gano will also be sorely missed.

So why is Florida State ranked so high?

It begins up front where the Seminoles return all five starters on the offensive line.

They should make things a lot easier for a very smart quarterback in Christian Ponder and running backs Ty Jones and Jermaine Thomas.

Florida State has talent at wide receiver, it's depth they're lacking. Bert Reed, Jarmon Forston, Louis Givens, and Richard Goodman will try and offset the loss of play—making receivers Greg Carr and Preston Parker who was dismissed among others.

On defense, cornerback Patrick Robinson and defensive end Toshmon Stevens are emerging as defensive leaders.

Florida State still isn't where they want to be as a program, but Seminoles fans can still expect a successful season similar to last year's.

 10 years ago '04        #4885
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2. Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets

Georgia Tech fans have plenty to be excited about in '09 as they'll return the starters at every skill position.

The Yellow Jackets should continue their dominance on the ground with Paul Johnson's triple—option spread offense.

Running back Jonathan Dwyer is an exciting player to watch; he'll be defending his ACC Offensive Player of the Year Award.

Quarterback Josh Nesbitt doesn't have to be Colt McCoy, but he needs to improve as a passer for Georgia Tech to progress.

Throwing for two touchdowns and five interceptions to go along with a 43.9 completion percentage, just won't cut it, especially if the Yellow Jackets get behind.

Although most of the defense returns, three veteran starters from the defensive line are gone.

Defensive end Derrick Morgan remains from that group. Safety Morgan Burnett will join him as the leaders on defense.

Georgia Tech will be a legitimate contender for the ACC crown this season.

And if you still don't understand Paul Johnson's offense, the GTG's can break it down for you. Just Google "The Perfect Option."

1. Virginia Tech Hokies

Virginia Tech fans will see a very familiar team in 2009, as 16 starters return from last year's squad.

They were one of the youngest teams in the country last year and still managed to win an ACC Championship as well as the Orange Bowl.

The Hokies will surely miss phenomenal corner back Victor "Macho" Harris and star defensive end Orion Martin, but the seven starters returning should be more than enough to keep Bud Foster's consistently stellar defenses among the best in the nation.

Cornerback Stephan Virgil, linebacker Cody Grimm, and defensive end Jason Worilds will be all over the field in '09.

On offense, Virginia Tech should have one of the best backfields in the country this season with elusive quarterback Tyrod Taylor, emerging star running back Darren Evans, and highly touted red—shirt freshman running back Ryan Williams.

Virginia Tech struggled at times moving the ball through the air last year, but should look better this season with a year of experience under their now sophomore receiving corps. The return of speedster Brandon Dillard won't hurt, either.

With almost every educated mind in the college football world pegging Virginia Tech as a top 10 team and potential national title contender, it's easy to see why Hokie Nation is so excited.

However one thing is clear: nothing will be easy in this year's ACC.

 10 years ago '04        #4886
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Miami Hurricanes Looking to Sure Up Secondary, Offensive Line



Miami University football coach Randy Shannon thinks his Hurricanes can turn things around this season after a 7-6 year.

But several things have to fall into place.

"We will have to see,"said Shannon,entering his third season as the 'Canes coach. "I don't know if we are experienced enough or tough enough."

One reflection as to why Miami finished 7-6 last season was,in sum, a lack of talent.For the first time in the last 16 years the Hurricanes the Hurricanes will not have a player selected in the first round of the upcoming NFL draft.

And, while the Hurricane supporters have a genuine liking for their coach, he understands too that Miami football has not been up to the elete standards they once held.

The quarterback situation and a blethera of running backs appear as team strengths.

Harris has taken over the quarterback spot after splitting time last season with now transferred Robert Marve. A year ago the signal caller did play in 13 games and threw for 1195 yards while completing 60 percent of his passes. Freshman Taylor Cook has won the back-up job,while classmate Cannon Smith is listed at No. 3.

"He looks real improved," Shannon said. "And he's become the leader for us that we've looked for."

Javarris James (4.2 ypc) and Griag Cooper (841 yards,4.9 yards per carry) were the workhorses of last season and they both return but will have to compete with sophomore Damien Berry and Mike James. Berry ran for 114 yards on 14 carries during the Hurricanes' spring game and he is listed as the third team RB.

Lamar Miller will report in the fall, too. Miller ran for 17.48 yards and scored 22 touchdowns at Miami-Kilian. In the fall, Lee Chambers,who had a great game vs Cal in last season's bowl game, will also join the frey in the candidate pool.

"We have put in new offenses and defenses," added Shannon, mentioning new offensive coordinator Mark Whipple and new Miami defensive coordinator John Lovett. "We have all been doing alot of learning. I'm pretty pleased with where we are right now."

The Hurricanes wideout and slot positions were extremely unique in that the leading UM receiver totaled 332 yards. But, the good news is there is help on the way AND the 'Canes did have TEN ball-catcher that averaged 10+ yards per catch.

Aldarius Johnson had 332 yards and a 10.7 ypc,while Thearon Collier grabbed 26 passes and averaged 12.5 per grab. Deddrick Epps, a solid blocker at his TE spot, averaged 16.3 per catch.

Tommy Street, a 6'5" freshmen who gives UM a true high-jumping,deep-running Wideout and Kendall Thompkins,who is a trademark wideout following many of the greats at Miami Northwestern High School, will bolster a group that is already strong.

Brandon McGee, the 10th ranked defensive back in high school football last season,joins a group(secondary) that must live up to their potential. In fact the four interceptions that the 'Canes came up with last year, tied a school "record."
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* Move Up Move Down Move Box Miami Hurricanes Football Articles
o ACC Spring Football Power Rankings
o Athletes Transferring in the Name of Life, Liberty, and the Pursuit of Happiness
o Miami Hurricanes Looking to Sure Up Secondary, Offensive Line
o Hurricane Offense Gets Whippled Into Shape by New Offensive Coordinator
o Is Randy Shannon Hearing Tommy Tuberville Whispers?
o ACC Spring Football Power Rankings
o Athletes Transferring in the Name of Life, Liberty, and the Pursuit of Happiness
o Miami Hurricanes Looking to Sure Up Secondary, Offensive Line
o Hurricane Offense Gets Whippled Into Shape by New Offensive Coordinator
o Is Randy Shannon Hearing Tommy Tuberville Whispers?
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1 comments Last one added 13 days ago — Leave a Comment

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Andrei 13 days ago

Lowell,
I liked the time, effort and background work that you put into your article. I could tell you really did lots of research. While I have never written a story for the Bleacher Report I always enjoy the stories written. I am a huge Miami Hurricane fan who attended the Spring game last week and saw first hand some of the things that you wrote about. Just a little constructive criticism. Just spell check your article before sending it out in the future. Elete is (elite) and blethera is (plethora). They were some other slight issues, like Eric Moncur went to Carol City High and at the end of the article you had the DE's and DT's inverted. I am not an editor by any means, but enjoyed your article and just thought I would mention these things to you for your future articles. I always use spell check and/or a dictionary whenever I write/type anything up just to be safe. Again, I hope you don't take it the wrong way, I just had to let you know. I look forward to reading more of your articles in the future (on whatever subject, topic or team). Best of luck to you. Go Canes!!

Lowell, I liked the time, effort and background work that you put into your article. I could tell you really did lots of research. While I have never written a story for the Bleacher Report I always enjoy the stories written. I am a huge Miami Hurricane fan who attended the Spring game last week and saw first hand some of the things that you wrote about. Just a little constructive criticism. Just spell check your article before sending it out in the future. Elete is (elite) and blethera is (plethora). They were some other slight issues, like Eric Moncur went to Carol City High and at the end of the article you had the DE's and DT's inverted. I am not an editor by any means, but enjoyed your article and just thought I would mention these things to you for your future articles. I always use spell check and/or a dictionary whenever I write/type anything up just to be safe. Again, I hope you don't take it the wrong way, I just had to let you know. I look forward to reading more of your articles in the future (on whatever subject, topic or team). Best of luck to you. Go Canes!! Edit Comment Cancel
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 10 years ago '04        #4887
Cap Peeler 7 heat pts
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Hurricane Offense Gets Whippled Into Shape by New Offensive Coordinator



Finally, someone has brought creativity back to The U. His name: Mark Whipple.

For the last thirty years, the University of Miami has long been known for bringing not only swagger to games but an offense that can put up 40+ points on any given Saturday.

However, over the last five years those numbers have been in steady decline, barely touching the mid 20's as of last year.

Luckily, Miami has also been blessed with being known for a fast, aggressive, and turnover driven defense that has hid the blemishes of Miami's lack of offensive production.

However, when Randy Shannon, Miami's defensive coordinator for much of that time, was promoted to head coach, that defensive Band-Aid was ripped off. This exposed not only how much Randy Shannon's creativity on defense meant to the U, but just how far Miami's offense had fallen off since its last national title in 2001.

This lack of production from the offense and Pop Warner style of play led Randy Shannon to make the move every Hurricane fan needed: hire a creative, proven, NFL-minded guy named Mark Whipple.

Whipple comes to Miami with tons of experience at every level. He has won national championships at the Division 1-AA level while also setting records for scoring and offensive yardage.

He has spent the last five years in the NFL—most recently for the Philadelphia Eagles and the Super Bowl Champion Pittsburgh Steelers.

So with this new playbook, how has Miami looked?

Well, by all accounts during spring practice Miami is doing something they have not done in the past three years: throw the ball deep and score some points off those throws.

According to Whipple, Jacory Harris, the clear starting quarterback, is very consistent and has a ton of potential. Harris has stated on numerous occasions how this offense reminds him of the offense he played while winning a national championship with several of his current Hurricane Teammates at Northwestern High School.

Harris stated that the offense is wide open, allowing him to put the ball in the hands of his playmakers quickly and often, in turn keeping defenses guessing and allowing the offense to dictate the pace of the game.

During the spring game held this last Saturday at Lockhart Stadium, it seemed nearly every past Hurricane great showed up to see what Whipple is cooking up.

About 10 percent of the Hurricanes playbook was brought out in the spring game.

The Miami offense executed by rushing for over 157 yards and Jacory Harris completed 75 percent of his passes for 141 yards.

According to the Miami Herald, there were multiple plays of over 30 yards. Of course, there were some interceptions and mishaps but overall Miami should give fans something to finally cheer about beyond a defensive touchdown this year

Get used to the idea of Miami as an ACC national champion contender because the winds of change are coming in the form of a Hurricane.

 10 years ago '04        #4888
Cap Peeler 7 heat pts
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is Randy Shannon Hearing Tommy Tuberville Whispers?



Most schools might give a coach five years to build a program and get his feet under him. Miami is not one of them.

Entering his third season and building on a 12-13 record, the whispers that Randy Shannon may not be the man to fix the program will turn into shouts by season's end if the 'Canes don't show very significant improvement.

What may make the hot seat even hotter is that Tommy Tuberville has shown some interest in the job at Miami. In case you don't know your coaching history, Tuberville has three national championship rings in a drawer somewhere he earned as an a.ssistant at Miami.

"I don't wish anybody bad will. Something is going to happen somewhere. There are some places I'd coach and some I wouldn't. I want to go somewhere where they are committed. You've got to get everybody on the same page. If you can't get everybody on the same page, it's not going to work," said Tuberville recently.

Translated—I wouldn't consider going to Wyoming or some such place. I want a big job at a big time school where I will be loved and revered and not have to worry about boosters or former coaches trying to stab me in the back.
Author Poll

What is the future of the Miami Head coaching spot?

* A. Shannon pulls it out and survives
* B. Tuberville comes in after this season
* C. Miami goes in a different direction

vote to see results

Clearly the powers that be fondly remember Tuberville and are impressed by his resume, and why shouldn't they be?

After leaving Miami with three national championship rings, he took over Ole Miss and led them to three bowls in four years—a feat not since repeated. Then his record at Auburn speaks for itself, including an undefeated season.

Boosters already lobbying for Tommy are pointing at Shannon and saying that promoting an a.ssistant to this job just didn't work. Yes, they got a decent coach for a cheap price, but they also are getting the results they paid for and that's just no bargain.

So the question is not so much would Miami want Tuberville—of course they would. The question is, why would Tommy give up a job with ESPN and the easy lifestyle to dive back into coaching?

In a word: ego.

At Miami, Tuberville would have the national stage he desires, he would suddenly become a huge fish in a small pond of coaching talent in the ACC, and lastly he wouldn't have to work as hard in recruiting as he had to at Auburn.

Let's face it, if you can't recruit in Florida you can't recruit anywhere.

Tuberville would like nothing better than to take over a program like Miami and lord his success over the same people that he felt never appreciated him at Auburn.

There are just two things that remain to be seen.

Can Shannon turn Miami around enough this year to salvage his job? Most think no. And will Tuberville take a shot or two at Shannon should he get the chance with his television gig?

All these questions are what makes football season so much fun.

There are so many "games" going on behind the scenes that are as interesting as the contests themselves—and it never ceases to be entertaining.

 10 years ago '04        #4889
Cap Peeler 7 heat pts
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Louis Nix Video from Sunshine Preps


 10 years ago '05        #4890
Deeangoe 2 heat pts
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damn cap you just k!llt it.

 10 years ago '07        #4891
ttime236 38 heat pts38
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 P. Dedos said
real talk im a big time shannon fan but if we dont get 9 wins or better.........


tommy it is!!!!!!
Truth:cool-smiley-009:

btw, Marcus robinson bout to look like aaron maybin out there:agreement6:

 10 years ago '04        #4892
madness 21 heat pts21
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 P. Dedos said
real talk im a big time shannon fan but if we dont get 9 wins or better.........


tommy it is!!!!!!
basically

i hope randy wins soon.....but i feel better knowing tuberville may possibly be waiting in the wings


and thanks cap:applause:

 10 years ago '05        #4893
Deeangoe 2 heat pts
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i read somewhere bout the tommy hire being unrealistic becuz dude is looking to get paid and we dont have the money to do so.

 10 years ago '04        #4894
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 Deeangoe said
i read somewhere bout the tommy hire being unrealistic becuz dude is looking to get paid and we dont have the money to do so.
He could be a possibility. He doesn't "NEED" to get paid because he's basically getting paid by Auburn right now. He has said before he loves UM and still does. During NSD, dude was so pumped when talkin about the U that it felt like he was finna give a pep talk

Anyways, no prob fellas, i just cant wait for football to get started... 6 months of unbearable and miserable baseball to go...

Graham giving football a shot

Jimmy Graham hasn't played football since the ninth grade. But he's not letting it stop him from giving it another shot.

Jimmy Graham Around lunchtime Wednesday, University of Miami coach Randy Shannon confirmed the rumors we'd all been hearing for weeks when he told reporters during his 10-minute ACC teleconference that the 6-8, 260-pound Canes power forward will indeed be trying out at tight end.

"We will give him a chance if he wants to do that," Shannon said. "I told Jimmy he has an opportunity to come back to school, enjoy the dream of playing football. He's been around, been with the players, Jacory Harris some... with his size and speed he may help us."

The Hurricanes could definitely use the help. UM is not only thin on experience at tight end, they don't have any proven talent aside from Dedrick Epps. Seniors Richard Gordon and Tervaris Johnson and redshirt sophomore Daniel Adderley took the majority of the snaps the spring and looked average at best. Stephen Plein and Billy Sanders will likely not be ready to help as true freshmen.

Wednesday, Shannon provided some good news when he told reporters Epps, coming off knee surgery in December, was ahead of schedule. "He should be ready for camp, should be running full speed in July," Shannon said. "He should be full speed and ready to go."

But it's Graham who could be the most intriguing prospect at the position considering his size and athletic ability. Some of the NFL's best tight ends -- Antonio Gates, Tony Gonzalez -- have come from the basketball court. Graham, who is declining interviews according to UM sports information director Margaret Belch, could be the next one.

Wednesday, after Shannon's press conference, I caught up with Carlos Peralta, Graham's old basketball coach at Charis Prep in N.C. Peralta, who has talked to Graham at least once a week since he's been at UM, told me the football team approached Graham about giving tight end a try. Peralta said Graham wrestled with the decision for weeks, praying on it for days before finally telling Shannon recently he would give football a shot.

"First and foremost what swayed him was that he's enjoyed his time at UM," Peralta said. "And he saw this as an opportunity to extend his experience a little bit. He talked about going to graduate school, how he'll be able to be a double major [marketing and business] by the time he graduates. Jimmy always loved football. It was his first love really. The way he and I see this is he gets to let go of more unleashed aggression -- without the fouls."

According to Peralta, Graham explored all of his basketball opportunities before deciding to give football a try. He looked into potential agents and contemplated offers from overseas -- as far East as Russia.

"Options were available to him," Peralta said. "I think the bottomline is he felt like it was a bit of an unknown in terms of environment. Although the money looks good on paper, he didn't know if he'd enjoy living for six months in Russia. That's what it really came down to."

> Shannon discussed a few other topics during his teleconference including his new coordinators, UM's NFL First Round Draft Streak coming to an end and how Taylor Cook will enter the fall as the team's No. 2 quarterback (which we expected). Nothing was earth shattering. FYI, it's likely the last time we'll hear from Shannon until fall practice begins.

> While I realize many of you might have been miffed by my last blog on recruiting becoming a little more challenging locally for the Canes, I want you to know I had several interesting conversations with several UM staff members behind the scenes about it this week.

One person told me the reason it is getting harder is because of the emergence of more "mentors" locally. These people could be trying to earn "favors" with outside schools. I'm not going to point any fingers (just know I don't write blogs to stir up controversy or to get hits). I've had my finger on the pulse of recruiting here in South Florida for years. Something isn't right. With severe budget cuts happening on the high school level in Miami-Dade and Broward, a.ssistants and people around programs are losing their jobs. Understand there might be a few desperate guys out there trying to find "help." They are beginning to point kids toward a particular school for that reason. UM knows it and they're trying to f!ght it. It's just not so easy when some schools have something to offer and The U does not want to get involved in that at all.

 04-15-2009, 06:58 PM         #4895
The Lefty  OP
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Look, I like Shannon, just like what seems like everyone else, but if we don't win the ACC this year... he's gotta be gone.

 10 years ago '04        #4896
madness 21 heat pts21
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Tavadis Glenn just committed, i hear Ivan McCartney is next:applause:

 10 years ago '04        #4897
Cap Peeler 7 heat pts
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Jacksonville (FL) Terry Parker High School lineman Tavadis Glenn has never stepped foot on the University of Miami's campus.

But he says he decided to commit to UM two days ago because "They made me feel at home."

Glenn says Cane coache stuck by him after he suffered a hip injury in a car accident a month ago. He says he was run down by a car and hit.

"It's not bad," Glenn said. "I'll be good in six weeks.

"But with me being injured some schools took offers off the table. Miami coaches, they were straight up with me, said the offer is still on the table."

The 6-foot-5, 265-pounder called up Cane coach Clint Hurtt on Wednesday to give him the news.

"He said the offer was still on the table, to take it," Glenn said. "I told him `I want to commit right now.'"

Asked what schools he chose UM over, Glenn says, "There are no other schools. I'm done considering other schools."

Among his 15 scholarship offers were LSU, Florida, South Carolina, USC and LSU.

"I'm not considering anyone else - it's solid," he says.

Glenn also has a relationship with another committed lineman - Louis Nix.

"(We) have a close relationship," Glenn said. "We've been rivals since 8th grade. We play the same position, but that's a good thing. We're the same type of athlete."

Nix told CaneSport Friday night that the new commitment firms up his commitment to Miami, which he previously said was very soft.

"Yes it does," Nix says. "I just got off the phone with him. We're real good friends. I'm real excited about it. He's going to school with me. We'll play together."

Glenn's goal at Miami?

"To graduate with a business degree and go to the NFL," he says.

Glenn says he is being recruited on both sides of the ball by Miami - as a defensive tackle and offensive lineman. He plays both ways in high school. Last year he finished with 40 tackles, 17 for losses, with six sacks and a field goal block.

He's started since his freshman year.

"I'll play whichever position works out, but I do prefer defense," Glenn says.

 10 years ago '04        #4898
Cap Peeler 7 heat pts
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On The Spot: Miami's Jacory Harris

With Robert Marve out of the picture, Jacory Harris is now the unquestioned starting quarterback and leader at Miami – which means all the pressure is on him.


By Matt Severance, managing editor

There is no quarterback controversy this year at Quarterback U.


Actually, the University of Miami probably can't be called Quarterback U any longer considering the Canes' recent struggles and pedestrian signal-callers since Ken Dorsey (and for years before Dorsey once Gino Torretta left Coral Gables), but sophomore Jacory Harris will be the guy charged with bringing UM back to national prominence this season.


It appeared that Harris had edged ahead of fellow freshman Robert Marve by the end of last season after the two had split snaps all year, especially once Marve, who had started 11 games, was suspended for the second time in 2008 before the Emerald Bowl against Cal. Harris' establishment as the No. 1 became official when Marve decided to transfer from Miami following the season.


Marve's relationship with Coach Randy Shannon was rumored to be on the rocks during his time at Miami. In fact, Marve's transfer became big news when the QB's father, former Tampa Bay Bucs linebacker Eugene Marve, engaged in a bit of a public spat with Shannon over the restrictions on where his son could go.


But the past is passed as far as the Hurricanes are concerned, and Harris will lead this young, talented team in 2009 and going forward. And Harris' relationship with Shannon is a good one.


"We have discussions on what's going on, where the future is headed," Harris said to the Palm Beach Post. "And it's headed in the right direction."


And while Shannon was clearly trying to satisfy his two high-profile recruits by playing both last year, it's also clear the team needed one voice in the huddle. The Canes have one now.


"There's no question this is now Jacory's team. Last year, both he and Robert Marve tried to put on a smile when they talked about having to share the job," said Manny Navarro, who covers the Hurricanes for the Miami Herald. "The truth is, Harris wasn't just the better quarterback based on numbers, he was the better leader too. I think his teammates are happy the quarterback controversy is behind them and Harris is their leader."


Harris played in all 13 games last season, starting the two in which Marve was suspended. Harris completed 118 of 194 passes (60.8 percent) for 1,195 yards with 12 touchdowns and seven interceptions.


Shandel Richardson, who covers the Canes for the South Florida Sun-Sentinel, says Harris likely would have been the starting quarterback this year regardless.

"It really would have been interesting to see what would've happened had Marve decided to stick around, but I still feel Harris would have ultimately won the job," Richardson said. "It just seemed that both quarterbacks were heading in opposite directions on the depth chart. Harris was surging while Marve was somewhat losing points with Coach Shannon. Harris was a lot more comfortable this spring because he was given the keys to the program instead of having to share with anyone. This should do wonders for his confidence, and possibly give the Hurricanes some under center, something they have lacked in recent years."


Since Dorsey left following the 2002 season, which was UM's second straight season playing for a national title, the likes of Brock Berlin, Kyle Wright and Kirby Freeman left plenty to be desired at the quarterback position.


Shannon took over for the fired Larry Coker following the 2006 season as the Canes were trending downward. UM is just 12-13 under Shannon but did show signs last year by reaching that bowl game. And the Canes have had consensus top-10 recruiting classes under Shannon, a former UM linebacker in the glory days.


But no team will succeed without good quarterback play, and that's what makes Harris the focal point of the 2009 Canes. The sophomore will have to adjust to a new offensive coordinator this season in former Philadelphia Eagles a.ssistant Mark Whipple (who is credited with helping groom Ben Roethlisberger when Whipple was with the Steelers), which made spring practices even more important.


"One thing Jacory showed me this spring - besides looking like he might actually be able to survive a big hit (he's up to 190 pounds) - is that this new offense created by Mark Whipple is more suited toward his game," Navarro said. "Harris set state records at Miami Northwestern not by throwing the ball 50 yards down field. He did it with an intermediate passing game, spreading the ball around with a high completion percentage. He had tremendous chemistry with all of his receivers.


"The spring game statistics weren't pretty, but it was obvious he was held back. What he did in the first real scrimmage of the spring (going 17 of 18) showed us what he's capable of in the right offense. And it definitely looks like he's in the right offense now."


There is definitely talent around him, although Harris better adjust to Whipple's system quickly because the Canes have a monster opening four games: at Florida State, vs. Georgia Tech, at Virginia Tech, vs. Oklahoma.


"The key is how fast Harris can pick up a new system," Richardson said. "If he does, he should have a pretty fun year with so many talented wide receivers to choose from."


Other than Harris, there are only two redshirt freshman QBs on the roster, Cannon Smith and Taylor Cook (the likely backup), so this team will go only as far as Harris carries it.


"Now he doesn't have to worry about anything else," said UM offensive tackle Jason Fox to reporters.


Some might argue that Harris has much more to worry about now, because the program, and maybe Shannon's job, is on his shoulders.

 9 years ago '06        #4899
Against D Grain 
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So Randy Shannon on the hot seat? If Tommy Tuberville is available and want the Job, I advise you guys to jump on board. I think he will fit perfect at the U, great game day coach, and will still keep South Florida on lock.

 9 years ago '04        #4900
Cap Peeler 7 heat pts
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Former top recruit just looking for shot in NFL

By Charles Robinson, Yahoo! Sports 5 hours, 37 minutes ago

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Willie Williams likes to say that you’re not supposed to live your life with regrets. He clings to this belief, despite knowing the outside world looks at him and thinks he should have many.

“I don’t look at my life with bitterness,” he says. “I look at it with motivation. This is the bed I made and chose to lay in, so I’m going to have to sleep in it.”

Photo Williams, left, watches from the bench during his brief stay at Louisville.
(Mark Zerof/US Presswire)

A linebacker who was once widely considered the nation’s best defensive prospect coming out of high school – in the same year Minnesota Vikings star Adrian Peterson was tabbed as the country’s best prep offensive player – Williams is less than a week removed from the NFL draft. But rather than sitting in the green room with other celebrated draft picks in New York City on Saturday, he’ll watch with a small collection of family, eating some modest home cooking and hoping that some team, any team, will give him an opportunity to play in the league. According to his college coaches, at least 17 NFL franchises have shown some level of interest. Whether any of them are willing to go further will be one of this draft’s underrated story lines.

In fact, one NFC personnel man said he expects Williams to go undrafted and that the former prep star will be signed as a free agent.

It’s a humble ending to a five-year college career that took him to a handful of schools: Miami (two seasons, one redshirt before transferring), West Los Angeles Community College (one season), Louisville (three games, ending after an arrest for marijuana possession), Division II Glenville State (one semester, before being denied transfer by the NCAA to the West Virginia school), and finally, tiny NAIA school Union College (one season) in Barbourville, Ky.

Indeed, Williams’ career has been nothing like many projected. Once considered the next great heir to a Miami linebacker lineage that includes Ray Lewis, Dan Morgan, Jonathan Vilma and D.J. Williams, his arrival with the Hurricanes was merely the first stop in a spiral that ended in the NAIA. Along the way, Williams’ painful history became riveting Internet fodder. Websites like Deadspin delighted in his every misstep. Message boards buzzed with each development. Among the lowlights, which Williams openly discusses:

• Eleven arrests in high school, most for petty larceny or burglary.

• A journal in the Miami Herald which spilled wild details of recruiting visits and caught attention from the NCAA.

• A recruiting visit to Florida where Williams discharged fire extinguishers in a hotel and was questioned by police for “hugging a female student against her will.”

• A transfer out of Miami after failing to crack the starting lineup as a true freshman.

• A traffic stop and arrest for marijuana possession at Louisville that ended in his dismissal from the team.

Looking back on it, Williams is apologetic but accepting, saying immaturity and a lack of patience kept him from making good decisions. He admits that he sometimes wonders what could have been had he stayed at Miami, where he expected to bide his time behind eventual first-round pick Jon Beason at outside linebacker. Instead, he succumbed to friends and some family around him, who expected that he would immediately become a college football star.

“At the time, I made the decision that I thought was best,” Williams says. “I felt like Miami wasn’t getting 100 percent. I wasn’t 100 percent focused like I thought I should be, being born and raised in Miami, coming out of high school there.”

So began Williams’ journey, from Miami to West Los Angeles C.C. to Louisville, which accepted him into the school with the understanding that there would be a zero-tolerance policy when it came to behavior. When he was arrested for marijuana possession, with three other individuals in the car, he was immediately dismissed from the team. Williams eventually pled guilty to the arrest, and coaches are quick to point out that the incident has been his only trouble in his five years in college.

A transfer to Division II Glenville State was denied by the NCAA – a problem head coach Alan Fiddler said was a misinterpretation by the school’s compliance department, and not any fault of Williams’. And it was Fiddler who worked the phones and found Williams the landing spot at Union, where Williams arrived eight days before the school’s first game, then went out and became the NAIA’s defensive player of the week after putting up 13 tackles, two sacks and two fumble recoveries. He finished the season with 150 tackles 19˝ tackles for a loss and 11˝ sacks.

Look anywhere along the journey, and coaches will gush about Williams – regardless of whether he played for them. Fiddler said his Glenville State team couldn’t block Williams in practices. Union coach Tommy Reid calls him the best player he’s ever had in his program. Even Coker, who coached dozens of NFL players at Miami, insists Williams’ talent is unique.

“I think he could have been a great player at Miami, I really do,” said Coker, who is now the head coach at the University of Texas at San Antonio. “He has a lot of ability. He can run, he’s got size, he’s strong, he’s a very good athlete. If he can go into the league, I would think he would have been humbled a little bit by now in his career, if he can just go into the league and [say] ‘Give me a shot, I’ll be on every special teams [unit].’ If that’s the attitude he goes into the league with, I think he could be a special player.”

Whether that shot comes, Coker shrugs. He says he hasn’t been contacted by any NFL teams. However, multiple league scouts traveled to Union to see Williams practice, including the Green Bay Packers, San Francisco 49ers, Denver Broncos and New York Giants. Many others called or asked for film to be sent, including the Cleveland Browns, Jacksonville Jaguars, Philadelphia Eagles and Washington Redskins. The Packers, Browns and 49ers also watched Williams at his pro day, which was held with Eastern Kentucky University.

Williams put up solid numbers in that performance, too. According to the numbers released by the school, he measured in at 6-3˝ and 230 pounds, showing the size to be a weakside linebacker in the NFL. He did 26 reps at 225 pounds (one more than Wake Forest’s Aaron Curry), ran his 40-yard dash in the mid-4.5 second range and showcased NFL-caliber agility in the cone drills.

But numbers and workouts and practice visits are a long way from a sure thing. Ultimately, with the current climate in the NFL, it’s just as important that Williams proves he can be trusted. Many of his troubles have been explained away in the media by family and friends – the bad crowd he hung around with in high school, his father’s sudden death from a heart attack when Williams was 12, the unchecked affection and expectations he received as a national football recruit.

Yet, when Williams is asked to spell out his own answers for his issues, he instead chooses to talk about the things that have happened that have changed him for the better. These are things he relates in events: the birth of his daughter, Willaysia, in Jan. 2005; learning of the murder of longtime friend and Miami football player Bryan Pata, who was shot to death in 2006; and finally finding a place at Union, which seems too remote and small – antithesis of everything he knew in Miami. These are things he also wants NFL franchises and fans and onlookers to know.

“I want teams to know that I’m all in, I’m focused, and this is what I want to do with my life,” Williams said. “I look them in the eye and say ‘Yes, you can trust me.’ Five or six years ago, I probably would have looked away a little bit when I answered that. But I definitely learned from all my mistakes. A lot of my past mistakes were so immature. And I’m not blaming it on me being younger or because my dad died and all that. It was my fault. I had to learn from that.”

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