Miami Football: Will Ray Ray Armstrong Finally Live Up to Expectations?
Living within 100 miles of where Ray Ray Armstrong played high school football, all I heard for three years was how he was the next Sean Taylor.
I began to watch some highlights and started to believe the hype. Here stood this 17-year-old pure athlete with great size (6'4", 195 pounds) and good speed. He even rocked the dreadlocks like Taylor did.
Could this really be the second coming of my favorite Hurricane ever?
So far, not even close.
Armstrong has the athletic ability and size to rise to superstar status, but something is missing. I hate to knock another man's "heart," but in this case it may be the only answer.
Armstrong started off in Miami as only one of a few true freshmen that saw significant playing time totally 21 tackles in 10 games.
His sophomore season was even better, racking up 70 tackles, three interceptions and four tackles for losses. Even though his numbers were solid, there were too many plays in which he seemed lost, missing multiple too many tackles.
Last year was supposed to be his breakout year but it was beyond horrible, on and off the field. Armstrong was suspended for the first four games of the season for his part in the Nevin Shapiro scandal and then soon after his return he was suspended again for violating team rules.
Armstrong would finish his junior year playing just seven games, recording 34 tackles and just one interception.
Will Ray Ray Armstrong live up to the high expectations he had when he first came to Miami?
Now, heading into his senior season, he has the chance to prove the doubters wrong. He has the chance to actually live up to the expectations he was given to when he was in high school.
The real question is: Will he take it, or does he even want it?
Maybe it's time to ignore the comparisons to Taylor and be himself. Maybe he needs to cut his hair, change his jersey number (he wears No. 26, the same number Taylor was at Miami) and just be Ray Ray.
If he can improve on his sophomore campaign he will not only help Miami win games, but also he will improve his 2013 NFL draft status.
If he ends up with another lackluster performance as last year, we can all sit around and talk about "what could have been."
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