Miami Football: Ranking 10 Best 'Canes in BCS Era

David KenyonFeatured ColumnistJuly 4, 2014

Miami Football: Ranking 10 Best 'Canes in BCS Era

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    Year after year, talented athletes don the orange and green of the Miami Hurricanes. Some players stand above the rest and only one can be the best.

    In 2013, the BCS breathed its last breath, ending a stretch of college football that contained a Miami team ESPN called the best in the era.

    While the program has long been considered one of the premier NFL-producing schools, these players are measured strictly on collegiate performance during the BCS' relevance.

    That last part is important: The BCS existed from 1998-2013, so players will only be judged for contributions throughout the 16-year period.


    Notes: All stats courtesy of Any marked years signify a given player the BCS-eligible seasons spent at Miami, but complete career stats will be provided.

Honorable Mentions

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    Edgerrin James (1998): "Edge" ripped off an outstanding 1998 season that, at the time, was the best by a Miami running back. He scampered for 1,416 yards and 17 scores, both of which were new school records.

    But remember, 1998 is the inaugural year of the BCS, so James' timing is the only barrier to official inclusion on the list.


    Jamaal Green: Only a second-team All-Big East honoree, defensive end Jamaal Green recorded 24.0 sacks from 1999-2002. He also accounted for 155 tackles, 53 quarterback hits and four forced fumbles.


    Kellen Winslow: Winner of the 2002 Mackey Award, Kellen Winslow recorded the most receptions by a Miami tight end. He hauled in 119 passes for 1,365 yards and nine scores during two seasons as a starter.


    Leonard Hankerson: One of the few bright spots in recent memory, Leonard Hankerson topped a few school receiving records. His 2010 season brought records in receptions (72), yards (1,156) and touchdowns (13).

    Additionally, Hankerson finished his collegiate career with 134 receptions and 2,160 yards, both the fifth-most in program history, and 22 scores, the third-best mark.

T10. Jonathan Vilma and Bryant McKinnie

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    Yeah, it's a pretty cheap way to start, but it felt dirty leaving either Jonathan Vilma or Bryant McKinnie off the rankings.

    Vilma led the team in tackles three straight seasons, compiling 377 total over his four seasons of work. The first-team All-Big East middle linebacker also recovered six fumbles during his time at "The U."

    McKinnie was a two-time All-American at left tackle, not giving up a single sack in 24 starts.

    The offensive lineman finished eighth in the 2001 Heisman Trophy voting, receiving 26 first-place votes. After winning the Outland Trophy that year, he was even named's Player of the Year.

9. Willis McGahee

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    College Stats: 2,067 Rush YDS, 31 TD; 28 Rec, 348 YDS

    Willis McGahee may have only had one electric season, but he took shattering records to a whole new level. In 2002, he amassed 10 100-yard games on his way to a still-standing program-best 1,753 yards and 28 touchdowns.

    McGahee scored in every game except for one, but the transgression is certainly forgivable considering he pounded Florida for 204 yards that day. His six-touchdown outburst against Virginia Tech also remains a single-game record.

    He was named the Big East Offensive Player of the Year and tabbed a consensus All-American.

8. Andre Johnson

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    College Stats: 92 Rec, 1,831 Yds, 20 TD

    Andre Johnson spent his first year at Miami watching two of the best wide receivers the program had ever seen. Over the next two seasons, he showed why he is considered one of the greatest, too.

    Johnson tallied six receptions, nearly 200 yards to complement an easy touchdown during Miami's 37-14 domination of Nebraska in the 2001 BCS National Championship and was named co-MVP. The performance highlighted a solid 37-catch, 685-yard, 10-touchdown campaign in 2001.

    As a junior, he snared 52 passes for 1,092 yards, resulting in a ridiculous 21.0 yards per-catch average to go with nine more scores.

7. Reggie Wayne

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    College Stats (1998-2000): 125 Rec, 1,870 Yds, 18 TD

    Reggie Wayne proved to be the most consistent receiver in Miami history, catching 48, 40, 42 and 43 passes each season.

    He recorded at least one reception in 37 straight games, a streak that began during his freshman campaign and was only ended by graduation.

    Overall, Wayne totaled 173 receptions, 2,510 yards and 20 touchdowns. The Hurricanes have not had a true possession receiver near this ability level since his departure.

6. Santana Moss

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    College Stats (1998-2000): 129 Rec, 2,278 Yds, 19 TD; 1,196 PR YDS, 6 TD

    Deciding between Wayne and Santana Moss was basically a coin-flip, but the latter had such a significant impact on special teams.

    Even overlooking his freshman campaign, Moss racked up 3,918 all-purpose yards during the three seasons of the BCS. That mark would rank second-best in program history, but his 1997 season obviously lifts him to the No. 1 spot.

    In 2000, he was named both the Big East Offensive and Special Teams Player of the Year, the only time any player ever earned the pair of honors.

    Moss finished his Hurricane days with 143 receptions, a program-high 2,546 yards and 19 touchdowns.

5. Dan Morgan

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    College Stats (1998-2000): 427 Tack

    Dan Morgan was not a cordial-looking fellow. The linebacker was not overly welcoming at the line of the scrimmage, either. Morgan's only invitation was waiting to ring your bell.

    After exploding onto the scene during the lone non-BCS year of his career (105 tackles), Morgan registered 427 tackles at middle linebacker. He earned plenty of hardware, winning the 2000 Bednarik and Butkus Awards as well as the Lombardi Trophy.

    Morgan finished his Miami career with a school-best 532 tackles and a lifetime subscription for "How to Obliterate Everything in Your Way."

4. Ken Dorsey

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    College Stats: 57.9 Comp %, 9,565 Yds, 86 TD

    Aided by a defense that conceded just 9.8 points per game, nearly any quarterback could have accidentally led the 2001 Miami Hurricanes to a national championship victory. Throw in one of the best offensive lines of the decade, and the gunslinger hardly needed to wash his uniform.

    But that doesn't change how Ken Dorsey was the perfect gunslinger for the three-time BCS bowl qualifiers. A highly recruited quarterback from California, Dorsey proceeded to collect numerous accolades behind the elite units.

    He won the 2001 Maxwell Award, was named an All-American in 2002, earned Big East Offensive Player of the Year honors twice and first-team all-conference thrice. Additionally, Dorsey was the co-MVP in the national championship, as well as the 2000 Sugar Bowl Offensive MVP.

3. Sean Taylor

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    College Stats: 14 Int, 306 Yds, 3 TD; 1 PR TD; 1 Rec TD

    Sean Taylor was exactly what coaches, fans and teammates wanted a free safety to be. He was also everything the opposition dreaded.

    Standing 6'3" and 225 pounds while at Miami, Taylor destroyed ball-carriers, intercepted a total of 14 passes and simply dominated the competition.

    Taylor matched Bennie Blades' long-standing record of single-season interceptions with 10 in 2003. The hard-hitting safety was named that year's Big East Defensive Player of the Year and an All-American.

2. Clinton Portis

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    College Stats: 2,523 Rush YDS, 21 TD; 21 Rec, 273 YDS, 3 TD

    Clinton Portis made an impression as a freshman while replacing an injured Najeh Davenport, but his significance to the program is more like a tattoo.

    The running back constantly competed with James Jackson, Davenport, Jarrett Payton and McGahee for carries, but that didn't stop Portis from earning 14 career 100-yard games.

    His 1,200-yard 2001 campaign ranks fifth-best by a Canes' tailback, and the 21 touchdowns are No. 8 on the school's all-time list. Portis exited Miami with 104 yards and a 39-yard score against Nebraska before declaring early for the NFL draft.

1. Ed Reed

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    College Stats: 297 Tack; 21 Int, 389 Yds, 4 TD; 52 Pass Def

    Ed Reed arrived in Coral Gables as a little-known defensive back, and he left as one of the transcendent players at the university.

    Often remembered for his fiery halftime speech against Florida State in 2001, Reed was a vocal leader for the Canes' national championship team. But he certainly backed up the talk on the field, too.

    Reed twice compiled a four-game interception streak en route to 21 career interceptions, bringing ball-hawk a new definition at The U. He never shied away from contact, accounting for nearly 300 tackles, despite never leading the team in that category.

    However, the two-time All-American leads the list as the greatest Miami Hurricane in the BCS era.