Ray-Ray Armstrong Dismissed from Miami: What's Next for the Troubled Safety?
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When safety Ray-Ray Armstrong arrived at Miami back in 2009 as a heralded 5-star rated recruit out of Florida’s Seminole High School, many around Coral Gables began touting him as the next great Hurricanes defensive back.
You really couldn’t blame fans for getting excited about Armstrong’s potential. The big, physical 6’4’’, 215-pound safety looked like the total package; as he possessed the intriguing combination of size, athleticism and playmaking ability that you only see in truly elite high school prospects.
Sadly, however, Armstrong never managed to put those great physical gifts to full use during his three years in a Miami uniform, and he won’t have the chance to reach his true potential as a senior, as the Associated Press has reported that he has been dismissed from the team.
The news comes just a few weeks before the Hurricanes are set to open up fall camp for the 2012 season, but to anyone who follows the program, it’s unlikely that it comes as much of a surprise.
Armstrong was limited to just seven games of action last season due to two separate suspensions—one of which centered around his involvement in the infamous Nevin Shapiro scandal.
2011 was originally setting up to be a potential breakout season for Armstrong. Especially after he displayed flashes of his tremendous physical skills during his sophomore campaign in 2010 when he racked up 79 tackles and three interceptions. However, because of the off-the-field troubles, it just never came to fruition.
Now, Armstrong has the option of either transferring to a lower level school just as former Florida cornerback Janoris Jenkins did after he was booted from the Gators last offseason, or spending the next few months preparing and training for the 2013 NFL draft, which takes place next April.
While his college career at Miami may not have lived up to expectations, it’s clear that Armstrong has the talent to play on Sundays. If he can convey to scouts that he has learned from his past mistakes, he still has the chance to be a mid-round pick in next year’s draft.
With seniors such as Texas’ Kenny Vaccaro, Georgia’s Bacarri Rambo, USC’s T.J. McDonald, Oregon’s John Boyett, Alabama’s Robert Lester and potential early-entry underclassmen like LSU’s Eric Reid, Oklahoma’s Tony Jefferson, Florida’s Matt Elam and Louisville’s Hakeem Smith, the 2013 safety class should be much deeper and stronger than the 2012 class was.
Still, as far as just pure physical ability and natural talent are concerned, Armstrong ranks right up there with most of the other top safeties in the 2013 class. The only problem is, his dissatisfying three-year career at Miami has probably left scouts with a bad taste in their mouths.
That’s why it will be interesting to see what Armstrong chooses to do now.
Back in 2010, we saw two suspended seniors at North Carolina—WR Greg Little and DT Marvin Austin—sit out their final seasons and then end up as second-round picks. However, we also saw how Janoris Jenkins was able to repair his damaged pro stock by transferring to North Alabama after being booted from Florida last offseason.
Since we’re just a little over a month away from the start of the season, it might be difficult to find a smaller school to transfer to at this point, but there are still probably plenty of FCS schools that would love to have Armstrong suit up for them in 2012.
Ultimately, it will be interesting to see what the talented, yet trouble-plagued safety chooses to do, and how he handles this latest bump in the road on his path to the NFL.
As for the Hurricanes, losing Armstrong is obviously a significant blow to a defense that had already lost five starters from 2011 and had to deal with the departures of LB Sean Spence and DE Olivier Vernon, who were both selected in the third round of this year’s NFL draft.
Miami’s defense ranked third in the ACC in scoring defense last season, allowing just 20 points per game, but many of the key players from that group are gone.
That means that new defensive leaders such as defensive end Anthony Chickillo, linebacker Denzel Perryman and safety Vaughn Telemaque are really going to have to step up and carry the unit in 2012.
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