Armstrong and Telemaque comprise one of the finest safety tandems in the nation.
As Miami Hurricanes coach Al Golden blazes the recruiting trail for next season, leaving many Canes' fans with nothing but optimism, he has changed the culture within the U.
His hard working mentality and fearlessness in tweaking the depth chart, leaving nobody secure, has the Canes competing hard for their spots on the roster. Friendly competition, coupled with excellent position coaching (welcome back Art Kehoe!), will maximize the talent this team already has. Without discerning eligibility, here are six Hurricanes that would be drafted in next year's draft, some worthy of possibly gracing the first round.
The beast up the middle, #99 will make it rough to challenge between the tackles.
Most of the finest players on this roster are defensive players.
For much of the season, the Hurricanes defensive line was no exception to this rule. Not only were they among the league leaders in sacks last season, but they were also terrific in tackles for losses.
While sometimes they were prone to giving up the big play, this issue can be equated to the over-pursuit of shifty running backs who darted through cutback angles for huge rewards. This is an issue that has been with Miami for years. With such outstanding team speed, the linebackers tend to overrun a back before his holes develop.
Forston should be fresh and renewed after injury issues his first few years, and will now truly live up to his number one DT recruiting label.
Spence has no qualms about it. He will use every thread of muscle to leave the opposition in terror.
Spence is one of the most obvious choices on this list. An athletic machine coming out of that generous Miami Northwestern haul, Spence fought injuries—like Forston—before blossoming into one of the finest linebackers in football. Spence has the speed, quickness, and almost cannibalistic pursuit to maul quarterbacks and halfbacks at every level.
While many state his size as a detraction from his greatness, look for Spence to be a surefire favorite for the Butkus award in 2011.
Ray Ray could be elevated to the first round with a solid season.
Big hits, flashy quickness, stellar pace, and a ball hawking tinge to his mentality make Ray Ray Armstrong (along with Spence) the closest thing these Canes' have to a first-round lock.
Armstrong played just about every position in high school, before settling at strong safety. His nose for the interception has led him to touchdowns, and his fire leads him to devastating tackles. If Armstrong were to relax a bit, and just concentrate on bringing the man down versus the highlight reel smashes, he would be better suited to support the run.
Possessing the skills and physicality to lead an excellent corps of DB's into an All-ACC type year, Armstrong could be among the favorites for the Thorpe Award, gracing its watch list in many preseason predictions.
Telemaque is in many ways as physical as his compatriot, Armstrong.
The more easy going "free" safety, do not let Telemaque's California demeanor fool you. He can sniff an interception like a bloodhound and hit as hard as any DB in College Football. With quite a few bone jarring hits to memory, Telemaque has the speed and elevation to compete with any height or speed, Telemaque will take his talents from the U to a higher level.
Miller has exceptional speed and surprising power to break the shackles of would be tacklers.
Perhaps not this year, but after this season it can be implied that every NFL scout will know the name and résumé of Lamar Miller.
This is no Noel Devine or LaMichael James. He is not just speed, and certainly has the pick of the litter instead of a daily dose of Pac-12 (then, 10) defense, which I am sure my 74-year-old grandma could run on.
Miller had career games against some of the toughest opponents in the nation, and with Damien Berry out of the picture, Miller seems to be the clear cut starter. He will share carries with Mike James, but James will not take away from his sure to be impressive stat sheet. James may even start, bruising defenders into oblivion so Miller can slash them apart.
Washington will anchor an offensive line of largely returning starters. This unit will be one the best all around units on the team. I really could have put Tyler Horn here, but I strongly feel that more teams will consider Washington first and foremost. Even without the services of Seantrel Henderson, Washington is prepared to load the team on his back and carry the running game through to glory.