April 14, mark your calendars Cane fans and avid college football fans, that is the day that the Hurricanes will host its annual BankUnited CanesFest and Spring Football Game on Saturday, April 14 at Sun Life Stadium. Until then, we can only predict and speculate on how this year’s Canes will be, so let’s get it started.
Last season, Jacory Harris had a career year, being the 6th most efficient passer in the nation. His completion percentage was sixty five percent, eleven percent higher then last seasons. Jacory is gone now and the torch will be passed on to Stephen Morris, or will it? Morris is by far the favorite right now but don’t be surprised if Memphis transfer Ryan Williams starts to step up and bring in competition. He had some success at Memphis and brings in the most starting experience, granted Morris has more experience with this offense.
The big news and loss is Lamar Miller leaving early, we wish him the best of lucks in the pros. This isn’t as big of a loss as it seems, if anything, it opens up an opportunity for a lot of good backs down at Coral Gables. Mike James took a step back this season, having a 3.8 YPC as oppose to his 5.7 in 2010, but he also scored seven times on seventy two carries this season. James is the opposite of Miller, he is a strong, downhill type of a runner and doesn’t contain the explosiveness or that ticking bomb effect that Lamar has, Eduardo Clements will provide that.
The running back turned corner only to go back to running back is arguably one of the fastest players on the roster. Coming from the rough streets of Overtown, Clements is a very tough kid that got to see some carries towards the end of the season. He has been clocked at 4.35 and can catch the ball out of the backfield, very dangerous weapon.
Duke Johnson is one of the hottest prospects to come to Miami in quite some time, rated as high as a five star by some, this kid can flat out play. I see a lot of Lamar in him, although he lacks the strength that Lamar has to run in between the tackles, he runs a lot harder and tougher then a 5’8, 188 pound running back. It’s good to see Miami controlling their backyard in terms of recruiting after losing Teddy Bridgewater last season to Louisville. Duke chose Miami over Alabama, Florida State and Florida and I can see him getting a lot of touches this season should Golden choose not to redshirt him.
Tommy Streeter’s departure might hurt the team more then Lamar Miller leaving simply because the list of receivers aren’t that good. Allen Hurns will be the #1 receiver after coming out of nowhere and showing up in big games. Phillip Dorsett caught just fourteen balls last season but I expect him to be the next Travis Benjamin and do a lot of work as a returner and in the slot. Angelo Jean-Louis is the hot four star recruit that I think will have an impact this season.
The tight ends are looking really good despite losing both Blake Ayles and Chase Ford. Clive Walford and Asante Cleveland are two freaking athletes that I can see becoming great tight ends and continue Miami’s legacy as Tight End U.
The Canes line took over games at time and seemed impenetrable when they were hot. They are losing Harland Gunn, Tyler Horn and Brandon Washington, those were their leaders but they are not irreplaceable. At left tackle, Seantrel Henderson will finally get his shot at living up to the hype. He should have his weight under control and be in the best shape of his short career and become an First Team All-Conference type player. Losing Gunn at guard will be tough but senior Jeremy Lewis can and I think will step up and do a good enough job. Brandon Linder will be back, their lone full time starter returning on the line, at right guard, next to him is going to Shane mcDermott most likely. Malcome Bunche and Jon Feliciano split time at right tackle but I expect Bunche to take over full time, he is bigger, stronger and was just a freshman last season.
Last year was suppose to be Marcus Forston’s come out party, but he got hurt. This year was suppose to be Forston’s come out party, then he left. With Regis, Forston and Adewale Ojomo gone, Luther Robinson will need to step up along with Curtis Porter. Porter will be a junior this season but he missed most of last year with a leg injury. Luther is smaller then Forston but a better pass rusher, should be interesting to see how he stuffs the run. Anthony Chickillo was a pleasant surprise last season with five sacks as a freshman. He has the frame to add even more bulk and can be an Allen Bailey type player, playing both end and tackle. Jalen Grimble, who came from the same class as Anthony, will most likely start at end. He is bigger then Anthony and could be a monster down the road.
Sean Spence will be hard, if not impossible to replace, but Denzel Perryman has a bright future. His performance against Boston College reminded many of Spence and he was just a freshman. He is a little small but so was Spence, Denzel has superstar potential. With Futch gone, who will start at middle linebacker? Everything points to Kelvin Cain but James Gaines has received such high praises from Al Golden it’s hard not to see him start next season. Cain also has the bulk and speed to play outside. This will be a very young core that will struggle even more then last years crew.
This group struggled last year, they struggled a lot but they could get better this season. They lose JoJo Nicolas, the do it all cornerback/safety but replacing him will be Kacy Rogers or Thomas Finnie. Both are very athletic, sometime last year’s crew lacked. Brandon McGee will be coming back and with a year of starting under his belt, he should be a lot better then last year.
Ray-Ray Armstrong is coming back and with the off the field drama past him, at least for now, he should be back to being a top prospect for the draft. His name has been in the same sentence as Sean Taylor and I think he has the skills to live up to that. He is one of the better tacklers on the team but his coverage skills need to get better. He goes for the big hits, just like his idols, but sometimes, swatting the ball down or making the sure tackle is better. Next to him will be Vaughn Telemaque, Vaughn is a big safety that will fill in for Sean Spence as the Canes emotional leader. His coverage skills are pedestrian at best and is really a fast linebacker playing safety.
Until Spring Ball starts, we won’t have a good feel for the team’s no-namers that could break out. We saw Streeter break out in Spring and have a great year, who will it be this time? The Canes are young, fast and are led by Al Golden, a guy who made the best out of this tough situation, putting together a great class and kept the Canes in games. The Canes are an eight win team right now, but could slip up to another seven win season and a possible bowl win.