, Florida (PressExposure) April 29, 2009 -- The University of Miami (Florida) Hurricanes are normally known as a powerhouse team, but in a season where no one in the Atlantic Coast Conference stood out (most teams went 4-4 in conference and the best was 6-3) they finished only 4-4 in conference and 7-6 overall. After a 2-3 start, Miami began to show promise as they went on a 5 game winning streak only to finish out the regular season with 2 straight losses. However, with their record, the Hurricanes were able to clench a berth in the Emerald bowl in San Francisco, CA against the California Golden bears, where they lost 17-24.
Last year Coach Randy Shannon stock piled on linebackers and wide receivers, and brought in three quarterbacks, this year he didn't need to worry about that. "This wasn't the year for us to take a receiver because we did so well last year," Shannon said. "We're just trying to solidify some positions on the team." And that they did, with a recruiting class of 19 which features five offensive linemen and four on the defensive side of the ball plus four defensive backs and one quarterback, A.J. Highsmith, the son of former Miami great Alonzo Highsmith.
Six of Miami's recruits are already attending classes. These players, running back Mike James from Davenport, Fl, offensive lineman Jermaine Johnson from Fort Lauderdale, Fl, defensive back Brandon McGee from Plantation, Fl, defensive lineman Curtis Porter from Charlotte, NC, defensive lineman Olivier Vernon and offensive lineman Brandon Washington from Miami, Fl, will have a jump start which will help them and the Hurricanes. At 5-11 and 220 pounds, James adds power to Miami's backfield and with the loss of three veterans, McGee, at 5-11, 180 pounds, will get a good look in spring practices. McGee also played receiver in high school. Offensive linemen Johnson and Washington will also be big impacts for Miami. At 6-6 and 304 pounds, Johnson was ranked the number 1 prep school offensive lineman despite not playing last season at Hargrave Military Academy in Virginia and had only one season in high school at St. Thomas Aquinas. He will need a lot of seasoning but should be a good fill for Miami's interior line. Washington, at 6-4, 354 pounds, is the biggest of the signees and was rated the number 2 prep school offensive lineman and number 4 guard in the country.
Other top prospects for the Hurricanes are defensive back Aravious "Ray Ray" Armstrong and defensive end Dyron Dye, both from Sanford, Fl, and running back Lamar Miller of Miami, Fl. Dye, at 6-5 and 230 pounds, was rated as the number 6 prospect at weak side defensive end, but due to veteran Eric Moncur getting an extra year of eligibility because of his injury problems in 2008, he may have to redshirt this year. Miller ran for 1,749 yards and 22 touchdowns as a senior at Killian High after compiling 1,126 as a junior and was rated in the top ten as a running back and the No. 80 national prospect overall. Armstrong is a hard hitter, who also played quarterback in high school and even threw the winning touchdown pass in the Class 6A state championship. Miami should have a great season this year, and for many to come.