Miami Football: "Shannon's Boys" Look to Make Early Impact

Rob SlaterContributor IFebruary 28, 2008

Five National Championships

Countless NFL First Rounders

Legendary Coaches and Alumni

2007 record: 5-7

If you were to ask Head Coach Randy Shannon which one of these he cares about most, it would be the last one.

Randy grew up in Miami, earned a scholarship to "The U", won a National Championship, played with some of the greatest players of all time, and now coaches at the school he knows and loves.

He is the first person to tell you that this is not the Miami football team he wants.

Until now.

A spring filled with countless recruiting trips and numerous phone calls (not too many though Coach Sampson), Coach Shannon and his staff have put together what they believe will be the best recruiting class Miami has seen in years, filled with blazing speed and huge athletes from all over the country.

The source of this class, however, comes from right in their backyard, Miami Northwestern High School, the No. 1 high school football team in the country and FHSAA 5A State Champions. 

Miami locked up eight of these players including most of their prolific offense as well as the powerful defense that can deliver bone crushing hits, which has been the strength of Miami defense's in the past.

Led by EA Sports High School Player of the Year quarterback Jacory Harris, this Northwestern class has dubbed themselves "Shannon's Boys" and has vowed to bring the U back to prominence.

Jacory Harris may not start, spring practice will tell that story, but he is the leader of this group.  As is Marcus Forston, a dominating defensive tackle who performed well in the Army-All American game and has shown he can play with some of the best in the country. The big question, however, has always been on offense.

The stone-handed receivers the Canes had to deal with last year are gone. 

The less than stellar offensive line that couldn't give Kyle Wright or Kirby Freeman a second to throw is for the most part gone.

Speaking of quarterbacks, Kyle Wright, the man that was labeled as bad luck for Miami over the last four years is gone as well. Kirby Freeman is no longer a Hurricane either.

The slate is swept clean and the stage is now the Baby 'Canes.  Robert Marve, the man who broke all of Tim Tebow's high school records, will more than likely be the starter with thunder and lightning behind him in Javarris James and Graig Cooper. Look for these two to be involved in all aspects of the offense early, while the freshman get their feet wet.

The wide receivers will be led by Sam Shields and Kayne Farquahson. Both players underachieved significantly and they will be challenged for playing time by Tommy Streeter, Travis Benjamin and Aldarius Johnson who have already shown their abilities in spring practice. 

The receivers and offensive line will be vital to the success of the quarterback and will dictate the effectiveness of the running game. With only two lineman recruits, there isn't much competition, but some fresh faces will provide a sign of relief for all fans.

Not much to say about the defense, as Miami will fly around the field defensively and deliver bone crushing hits. Stud linebacker Arthur Brown from Kansas will come in and make an immediate impact along with Forston and safety Sean Spence who will also see time at linebacker. 

New defensive coordinator Bill Young from Kansas played with a lot of speed last year and he should have little problems installing his philosophy even with the youth.

Shannon's Boys and the rest of the Baby 'Canes will be challenged early and often starting with the first game of the season in brand new Dolphin Stadium. Their very first road game is in the Swamp against most of their former high school teammates and opponents at Florida.

This will be the time to tell whether Randy Shannon will win at Miami, and based on the track he's on, I'd be excited if I am a season ticket holder at Dolphin Stadium. If I am no, I'd pick up the phone as soon as possible. 

These 'Canes will be fun to watch and they will bring back the old school Hurricane teams where winning was the only option. The team's where it wasn't a question of whether or not you would win but rather how much you would win by. 

This is what traditional Hurricanes fans will be looking for, the swagger and confidence that drives opposing teams and their fans along with the media crazy. The pound-our-chest, in-your-face type of attitude that fans love to watch and it will all be led by the man who has been there since the beginning, and the man who knows what the U really stands for better than anyone. 


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