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Top 60 Countdown: No. 32, OL Joel Figueroa

As we move ahead in our countdown of the Top 60 players at Miami, we take a look at another one of the few players who have overachieved their lately with the Canes. That would be No. 32 on our list: Offensive lineman Joel Figueroa. He wasn't highly touted coming in. But he could prove to be one of the most valuable offensive lineman in the system over the next two years -- including possibly at a new position.

Joel Figueroa could be one of UM's biggest keys to the season > What we heard about him on Signing Day '06: When Fig was playing at North Miami High, there weren't many scouts who were high on him. Rivals and Scout.com both had him tabbed as a two-star recruit. Even the UM media guide said "an athletic lineman who has good strength but needs to work on his technique." Figueroa made the Dade-Broward All-Star Game but was just an All-Dade Third Team selection.

> What he's done as a Cane: After being redshirted in 2006, Figueroa worked his way into games faster than players all rated higher than he was -- Ian Symonnette, Chris Barney, AJ Trump and Matt Pipho. As a redshirt freshman in 2007, he played in seven games and saw an increased role toward the end of the season at left guard. Last year, took another step forward, starting the first four games of the season before playing in the rotation at guard the rest of the way. This spring, he injured his right shoulder. But he's expected to be healthy to start fall camp.

> What Eye On The U expects from him in '09: Offensive line coach Jeff Stoutland loves what the 6-5, 344-pound junior brings to the table -- a mean streak and mentality that he has to constantly prove himself. Although Fig missed the spring, opening the door for Harland Gunn, Stoutland made it sound like when Fig got back the starting right guard job was going to be his. "I can’t wait to get back to coaching Fig again. I believe he’s going to be a force," Stoutland said back in March. "I think the best thing to happen to Harland was Fig not playing. Now we’ve established some depth. But Fig is really going to have to drop in a bucket [for him not to start]. I have a lot of confidence in that guy. I think all of our players do. Still, our guards have always rotated. So, Harland Gunn is going to play." 

Gunn could end up playing even more if Figueroa ends up giving tackle a try. Two staffers I spoke to last week said the idea has been floated around about having Figueroa compete with Matt Pipho at right tackle. According to those staffers, coaches simply don't want to break up the left side of the line that features Jason Fox and Orlando Franklin. If Fig can handle it, he might be able to ease the concern of a lot of Canes fans, who know the right tackle position is one of the biggest question marks on the team.

Comments

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They shouldn't worry about breaking up one side of the line, just play the best talent.

Having a 'strong' side will give us tendencies that DC's will pick up. I saw a lot of cutbacks to the left in the spring game...and I don't even have enough knowledge to watch that type of stuff. It was just clear that the holes were on that side.

I think it's obvious the Canes coaches don't want any potential weak links protecting Jacory's blindside considering the lack of depth at QB should Jacory suffer an injury. I agree. Keep Fox and Franklin on the left side and work like dogs to coach up the boys on the right. Fig has the size and determination to get the job done, be it at guard or right tackle. I just hope the U's recent string of bad luck with offensive linemen getting injured doesn't haunt us again this season. The lack of depth on the offensive line is one of my biggest concerns. Either way, I'm sure they will all be motivated and hungry to prove themselves from the get-go considering all the love FSU's offensive line will be getting going into the Labor Day night game compared to the concerns about UM's line. Prove 'em wrong Canes!

Gotta admit Ur boy Ray Ray is pretty smart ... Never would have seen the field as a Gator ... So the trade off is unlike, A. Debose, Ray Ray gets no Rings but P/T at a .500 mid-pack program ...


Just how many picks did U get last year ? Hell, MLB Spikes had 3 himself w/ 2 housed ...

Damn, how far have U fallen?

hint, U ain't heard the thud yet ... week 4 Cane Tards, week 4 ...


Stacked Secondary

By Robbie Andreu
Staff writer

Ranking SEC secondaries.

1. Florida
2. Tennessee
3. Alabama
4. Georgia
5. LSU
6. Ole Miss
7. Arkansas
8. Auburn
9. Kentucky
10. South Carolina
11. Vanderbilt
12. Mississippi State

The Gators have speed, experience and depth at all four positions. A year ago, Joe Haden, a former high school quarterback, and Janoris Jenkins, a true freshman, were somewhat unknowns. Now, they are two of the best cover corners in the SEC. Haden is coming off a big spring (he was consistently one of the best players on the field), and he and Jenkins play the position with great confidence. Haden and Jenkins also have experienced backups in Wondy Pierre-Louis and Markihe Anderson, and there is depth behind those two in Jeremy Brown, Moses Jenkins and Adrian Bushell. In Ahmad Black, the Gators have one of the best defensive playmakers in the SEC. Will Hill, the No. 2 strong safety, came on strong as a true freshman in 2008 and is a starter when UF opens in a nickel package. Major Wright is a big-time hitter at free safety who has gained consistency in his two years as a starter. Dorian Munroe, who missed last season after undergoing knee surgery, can play both safety positions and should see considerable playing time. Dee Finley, a true freshman, is a physical player who showed promise in the spring.

The downside

Perhaps the only real concern is how to keep everybody happy in terms of playing time. It’s a crowded secondary group with a lot of proven talent. The top backups (Munroe, Hill, Anderson and Pierre-Louis) are good enough to start at some other SEC schools.

Young guy to watch

Jeremy Brown and Janoris Jenkins enrolled early together two years ago and participated in spring drills. Urban Meyer has said that before Brown injured his back that spring, he was further along than Jenkins, who went on to become a starter as a true freshman last season. Brown missed most of this past spring (again, with a bad back), but made quite an impression when he was cleared to go in the final week. He has a tremendous upside and will push for playing time if his back holds up.

DEPTH CHART

Cornerback
5-Joe Haden
14-Markihe Anderson
36-Moses Jenkins
27-Adrian Bushell

Cornerback
1-Janoris Jenkins
4-Wondy Pierre-Louis
28-Jeremy Brown

Strong safety
35-Ahmad Black
10-Will Hill
13-Dee Finley

Free safety
21-Major Wright
20-Dorian Munroe
24-Josh Evans
.
.
.
Yo Canefan, U gotz DB depth ?


LOL are you trying to sell the gator program???well guess what we dont care it isnt close to our greatest team ever lol love the attention....keep sucking our d*ck

Gators on the Miami blog. Just proves who they still fear. Are they on the Rutgers or Tulane sites? Nope. They are on the Miami site.

Do we have a QB commit? Medlock is not visiting now and says that Hurtt told him that we have a commit already. What's the latest on that? Anyone know the skinny?

I hate to say this but I've forgotten all about Ian Symonnette. I mean, I seriously had not given the young man any thought in about a year until you mentioned him in this post. Hard to overlook a guy 6'9", but there you are.

Manny, was Ian in your top 60? If not, then please let us know what is up with the giant. Actually, when your top 60 is over it might be nice to have an "and the rest" post. Not that I want to give you more work.

Why is that jacka$$ posting UF info.

This is a Cane blog, dumba$$

Gator fans hide behind their false bravado posts because they have a very deep fear about their cloudy future. Secretly they know once Tebow graduates their short-lived run as the "IT" program will be over. While the Gators have peaked and will NEVER again match the level of success they've enjoyed in the past few seasons, the Canes are on the rise! Soon the Canes will own the college football world once again and the poor Gators will go back to being what they have been for all those years before Tebow arrived on campus, a mediocore team fighting for second place within their own state.

Gator dynasty??? Please, try winning 5 national championships with four more appearances in national title games within a span of 25 years and then come talk to me about dynasty. The Canes have won titles in the 80's, 90's, and 00's, not to mention a couple of undefeated seasons. THREE DECADES worth of dominance! What do you have Gator fan??? Cricket... cricket... that's what I thought, it's all about the U!

first

Ian Symoneette is a bust...that guy is just flat terrible. He couldn't hit anything in the spring games. Now I know why he doesn't get any playing time. It's really a shame because he's a beast.

Offensive line is the biggest issue on this team. It really doesn't matter how many stud WR's we have if Jacory is on his back.

If these guys don't play well, we will probably lose 5 or so games.

Believe in these Canes they know they have something special this season. I think the best thing for us was to go through what we went through last season. We needed Marve to show Jacory just how special it is to lead a Hurricane team. We haven't had the best qb's but they are steady, accurate, and the most important key is leadership. Lets just see where we at after four games. The gator boys actually spend time reading the Herald looking at what the Canes doing. It is amazing how much power we still have over them people in Grainsville. They kick our playas out of they precious lil kiddy camp. They Bad mouthing our team with dirty recruiting. They skeered to play us but once every 4 or 5 years. And the best part about it is we actually on the way back this year or next year. I wonder what they gonna do in January when Tebow is gone and Meyer is sellin out for the Goldon Dome. I might get a script to Gator country to conversate.

I bet gainesville will even lay off a dozen or so cops to try to keep urban around.

HEY COACH STOOPS WHEREFORE ART THOU,

YOU MEAN TO TELL ME THAT WITH ALL THE TALENT AND DEPTH THAT YOU ARE RANTING ABOUT, THAT THE GAYTURDS STILL COULD NOT BEAT A TEAM FROM MISSISSIPPI AT HOME IN THE DUMP. OOPS, I MEAN THE SWAMP. LMAO.
HOW PATHETIC IS THAT. GO CRAW BACK IN YOUR SEPTIC TANK IN GAYESVILLE. THAT IS WHERE ALL THE SCUM AND $HIT FLOATS AROUND AT, ISN'T IT?

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