Back in 2001 I was watching a game against the University of Pittsburgh and noticed No. 26 on Miami's special teams unit. Standing 6'3" and 220 lbs. at that time, Sean Taylor possessed speed and the hard hitting ability that reminded me a lot of ex-Bronco Steve Atwater.
As the years went by I kept my eye on Taylor. I watched every play he was in and realized I was witnessing someone that doesn't come around very often.
Although I see it a little bit in USC's Taylor Mays this year, I also see it a little closer to home.
Welcome home Sean Taylor, I mean, Ray Ray Armstrong.
The number is the same, the dreads are the same, the size is the same, the speed is the same, and the hitting ability is there. Just ask DeMarco Murray.
When Randy Phillips left the game due to injury, No. 26 came onto the field and it gave me goosebumps.
Sean Taylor was my favorite Hurricane and to see someone who almost looks identical standing on the field gave me a shiver.
When Murray made that run on first down and jumped over Telemaque and ran into a brick wall named Armstrong, I shook my head and smiled.
It brought flashbacks of one of the best safeties I have ever seen. And then to see this No. 26 back on the field, it almost seemed like reincarnation.
I started to first hear about Ray Ray two years ago. Living an hour-and-a-half from Sanfod Seminole High School I read a lot about this big safety/linebacker/running back/quarterback in the local papers.
When I saw that he chose Miami, I was ecstatic.
The only problem I had is when he came to Miami, coach Randy Shannon almost made him a linebacker. After the spring game and as it got closer to the season, he decided to leave him at his true spot which was safety. I'm glad he did.
Miami's soft spot is obviously the defensive backs. Hopefully Shannon saw what everyone in Florida saw before he came to the Hurricanes, a menacing Sean Taylor clone.
Let's hope Ray Ray can do what Sean Taylor did at Miami—made other teams scared to throw the ball. Let's also hope that even though the similarities between Taylor and Armstrong are eerie, they don't share the same fate.
Rest in Peace No. 26 Sean Taylor.
Welcome home No. 26 Ray Ray Armstrong.