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Top 60 Countdown: No. 40, S Ray Ray Armstrong

As we hit No. 40 on our countdown of the Top 60 players at The U we take a look at freshman safety Aravious Armstrong. Ray Ray (as we’ll refer to him from now on, think Ichiro) was widely considered the best player signed by UM in its 09 class. He’s drawn comparisons to Sean Taylor because of his size and athletic ability. So will Ray Ray live up to the hype? And how much will he exactly be able to help UM this season?

Ray Ray Armstrong is UM's most hyped freshman in the 2009 class. > What we heard about him on Signing Day ‘09: Despite playing for a program at Sanford Seminole that had a history of losing, Ray Ray – with the assistance of UF-bound Andre Debose and fellow UM signee Dyron Dye – helped turn the Seminoles into the Class 6A state champions last year. At 6-4, 215 pounds, Armstrong was often a man among boys on the field at the high school level. And he did it all. He played quarterback (throwing for 1,297 yards and 13 touchdowns), safety (60 tackles, 2 INTs), running back (rushing for 1,044 yards, 19 touchdowns) and had a penchant for making huge plays. He was selected to the Under Armour All-American Game and soared up the recruiting rankings at the end. Rivals.com tabbed him the 13th best player in the country and ESPN had him 21st overall regardless of position. Scout.com rated him the 13th best safety in the country.

> What he's done as a Cane: Nothing yet. He arrived in June and began lifting weights with strength and conditioning coach Andreu Swasey.

> What Eye On The U expects from him in '09: There might not be a freshman on the team with higher expectations than Ray Ray, who has the size and playmaking ability to make an instant impact. Of course, we’ve heard the same things before about other players who didn’t live up to the hype as freshmen. Aren’t we still waiting for Arthur Brown and Allen Bailey to break out? Here is why I feel that won’t be the case with Armstrong. He’s been a flat out star against some of the country’s best athletes. Unlike Brown and Bailey (who were stars out in nowhere Kansas and nowhere Georgia), Armstrong did his damage against the likes of real powerhouses in Florida. The bottomline is there aren’t many kids who can say they were down 21-0 to Miami Northwestern and came back to beat them to win a state title. Only special guys can do that. Armstrong, like the late Taylor who led Gulliver Prep to an improbable state title, has that kind of special written all over him.

Aside from that, there aren’t any safeties on this UM team who can rival Ray Ray’s size. There are some who believe Armstrong might be headed to linebacker because of it. That could happen. But I think his playmaking ability and physical nature will be too much not to have as the last line of defense. This season, I expect him to make his biggest impact on special teams and playing in the rotation at safety. I would not be surprised if he's starting by the end of the season if Vaughn Telemaque or Randy Phillips sputter or go down with injuries. But its the future that is really exciting. In a perfect Canes world, there might not be a scarier down the middle defense in college football in 2010 than Marcus Forston, Sean Spence and Ray Ray Armstrong. Yes, get excited Canes fans. But if you’ve learned anything from the last few seasons – do so with caution.

No. 60: LB C.J. Holton
No. 59: OL Tyler Horn
No. 58: DB Jamal Reid
No. 57: DE Gavin Hardin
No. 56: DT Josh Holmes
No. 55: TE Richard Gordon
No. 54: OL Jermaine Johnson
No. 53: OL Ben Jones
No. 52: DL Jeremy Lewis
No. 51: FB Patrick Hill
No. 50: OL Brandon Washington
No. 49: OL Harland Gunn
No. 48: RB Damien Berry
No. 47: QB Taylor Cook
No. 46: DE Andrew Smith
No. 45: DE Olivier Vernon
No. 44: RB Lee Chambers
No. 43: OT Matt Pipho
No. 42: DE Steven Wesley
No. 41: WR Davon Johnson
No. 30: CB Sam Shields
No. 29: LB Ramon Buchanon
No. 28: CB Brandon McGee
No. 27: DB Ryan Hill
No. 26: CB Demarcus Van Dyke
No. 25: RB Mike James
No. 24: LB Darryl Sharpton
No. 23: DT Joe Joseph
No. 22: DE Adewale Ojomo
No. 21: C AJ Trump
No. 20: CB Brandon Harris]
No. 19: TE Dedrick Epps


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I cant wait to see where Deonte Thompson and Matt Patchen are on the list lol. Hey Manny, do you have any idea whether Ryan Jackson is going to sign? Others? Or come back.

Thanks for the post. Umm. I think that Ray Ray will be a very good special teams player/backup safety. And we should include him in some packages. Not proves enough to be compared to Taylor though but hey. You want him to be #26 go ahead. This kid is special and I cant wait to see him in 3 years. But why cant he stay at safety! We have 4-5 LB's and look at Taylor Mays...he is 6-4 and like 240...he still plays safety.

Manny, you think that Spence will play middle linebacker? He is way too small for that.

"Tavadis Glenn, a lineman on the ESPN 150 Watch list, is committed to Miami, but says he's been hearing a lot of negative recruiting, and he names names, according to InsidetheU.com: "Each and every school will hate on whoever is going to Miami, they're all just hating on us," Glenn said. "I'm a Cane and I'm going to stay a Cane so they can all pull their offers. I always get that negative recruiting from Florida and Florida State." "

theres a little story about the pot and the kettle...

^^^^^oops. sorry. meant to post that somewhere else. clicked on the wrong tab.

We need him at safety making plays down field and inthe middle, as well as breaking up passes. Last 2 yrs we have been killed with big pass and run plays (NC, FSU, Ga Tech, VA). A stud at safety would have potentially won us 2, 3, 4 games last 2 years.

I guarantee by the end of this year, Ray Ray will be a little better than # 40 on the countdown.

I'm with you Grant, Ray Ray (unless he were t oget injured) will be one of our better players by the end of the year. Kid will be special...

I'll just wait and see if he's the next Richard Gordon, Ryan Hill, Allen Bailey or Spencer Adkins. The list of hyped up recruits that haven't panned out in the last 5 years is probably 20-30 deep!

What do all those players (that I mentioned above) have in common? Multipule position switches. I hope Ray Ray stays at safety even if he grows to be 230. Why? Because we all miss Sean Taylor and we need to make up our damn minds about a kids' position.

There's your official slogan for the '09 season, right there:
"Yes, get excited Canes fans. But if you’ve learned anything from the last few seasons – do so with caution."

Great work Manny!

RAY RAY has it!

Allen Bailey is not a bust. He led our team in sacks, despite being hurt all season

Allen Bailey is know a DT with Fortson I guarentee if Bailey is healthy he will make ALL-ACC this year bank on it.

Linebacker Sean Spence says the preseason doubters of the Canes are a motivation.

"Everybody's got us rated so low, it's like motivation for us," Spence said. "Everyone is expecting us to do bad. We're just looking to prove the doubters wrong.

"Right now we're going, trying to get better every day."

Of his expectations for his own performance this year, Spence said, "I'm just going out there to try and have fun and win games. I'm not really worrying about accolades. I'm just trying to win games."

That will begin with the season-opener against Florida State.

"As a player that's what you live for – this is why people came to the University of Miami, big games like this," Spence said. "A rival on Monday night at Florida State, it's going to be a lot of emotion. I think we're going to be ready for it, though."

He says he is working to "get better in a spot that I showed a little weakness in (last year). I'm trying to be more of a vocal leader, take charge out there on the field."

Spence says he expects this to be an overall improved defense.

And he says the return of fellow linebacker Colin McCarthy will play a role in that.

"I think (having McCarthy back) is going to help us a lot," Spence said. "He's very strong, fast and physical. Colin, when I watched him coming out of high school he made a lot of plays. It's going to be a lot of fun having a competition to see who gets the most turnovers, something like that."

Spence is hoping this team can make it to a major bowl game this season.

Last season was his first time experiencing a loss in over four years – he never lost at Miami Northwestern High School.

"It was tough," Spence said. "But you have to crawl before you walk."

* Spence says he played last season at 205 pounds and that now he's weighing between 212 and 214 pounds.

* Spence spoke about first-year defensive coordinator John Lovett.

"He's a cool guy," Spence said. "You can go in his office, have a regular conversation with him. He's a good teacher. In the film room he breaks it down, makes sure we have every detail down pat."

Spence said of the overall defensive scheme that "Once you catch onto the defense it just clicks. It might seem like a lot, but it's really not. It's coming along well. The spring was big, picking up the defense. We're coming along well."

* Spence spoke about quarterback Jacory Harris – the two played high school ball together.

"He's a great leader," Spence said. "He showed that in some games (last year), brought us back from behind. (At Miami Northwestern) he was a leader on and off the field. Jacory likes the pressure, likes to be in the spotlight, the ball in his hands and he has to go down and score a touchdown. He lives for things like that.

"He's a little skinny quarterback. People say he can't throw. He proved everybody wrong. I remember his first game playing Booker T. (Washington), we lost eight starters (to suspension). He had to step up, that was his first game starting. He led us (to a win). He was taking control of the offense to win a big game.

Spence says Harris also likes to talk trash to the defense, saying the offense can't be stopped.

"Me and him were going at it the other day," Spence said.

Spence also recalled an early nickname the team gave Harris.

"We used to call him `Heart attack,'" Spence said. "He got a strain in his chest or something, it was like he had a heart attack. They had to take him off the field (with an ambulance waiting), and ever since then we called him `Heart attack.'"

* Spence described former basketball player Jimmy Graham, who is now playing football and participating in 7-on-7's, as a "tree."

"I think he's going to be good," Spence said. "He's already physical, has a big body. He's aggressive, has big hands, strong hands. He fits right in."

Posted by ESPN.com's Heather Dinich

Miami quarterback Jacory Harris was available to reporters today and he was kind enough to speak with me on the phone for a bit. He has truly taken ownership of this team and seems to have matured a lot since this time a year ago. It seems to have made a world of difference now that there isn't any question about whose job it is.

Here are the highlights of our conversation:

Tell me a little bit about how things have gone with coach Whipple. What's your relationship been like, and what kind of an impact has he had on you so far?

JH : So far our relationship has been going good. He's like a father figure to me. He's somebody I can call and talk to about anything I want. That's kind of surprising, because we just met this spring. We have fun with each other. He's always on me about things. He wants me to watch all the film, and make sure I'm doing the right stuff. No matter if you complete a pass he wants it perfect. He wants everything perfect and the way it needs to be.

What have you learned from him? What has he taught you that might be a little different? Has he fixed anything technique-wise?

JH: Yes, he's got me throwing with my hips more instead of using arm strength. I'm using my hips to get more velocity on the ball. It hasn't changed much, but it helps me out a lot.

How excited are you about getting on the field in that first game and just executing this offense? So many people are talking about it, there's such a buzz around it.

JH: Yeah, there is a buzz, but that's something I'm not worried about. I just want to do things for the team, and I'm very excited to get out there and play Florida State Sept. 7. I can't wait for it. It's something that we've been working hard this whole summer to get to and we'll be there.

I heard from a pretty reliable source at Miami that after the Emerald Bowl, you got on the bus, and you said something. Do you remember? Do you know what I'm talking about?

JH: I know what you're talking about, but I can't remember.

Did you apologize?

JH: Yeah, I was apologizing to the seniors. I felt like even though people were telling me I didn't blow the game by the fumble I felt like I still could've made something happen. Even though I didn't know the guy came and hit me, I still felt like it was my fault. I didn't want nobody else to feel like it was their fault. I'm the type of person that, I take blame on everything. I could throw a good ball and they drop it, I say it's my fault.

I thought that that was the point when you took ownership of the team. I thought you might have said you're going to do something for next year.

JH: Yeah, I told them next year won't be like this. I refuse to go through anything like that last year. I felt like we had a good team, we just didn't put it all together. Now we have all the pieces. It's only right that we have a successful season.

How much different has this offseason been for you knowing that you're the starter this year?

JH: It made me a lot more comfortable. I know I have to work harder, but at the same time I know there are certain things that now I can take more chances. I can have more fun. Last year I would have to either keep us up or fight us back. When you put me in those two predicaments, it's kind of strange, when you have to fight to stay up and fight to come back. Basically I was in the role as the savior.

What did you learn from that role, though? Do you feel like you can handle any situation now?

JH: I feel like I can handle any situation. There was certain games were I felt like I wanted to play more and I felt like I could've helped the team win some games we lost, but at the same time I knew this was a team game and I would never point any fingers or blame anybody on anything. I learned I could always get better. Maybe I need to do something else to be that person to get better and help the team.

What are you looking forward to most about Whipple's scheme particularly? What will it allow you to do? How will it allow you to flourish?

JH: The offense will allow me to flourish because it gets me under center. I'm not thinking about the NFL right now, but at the same time we play football to make it to that next level. It helps you get to that next level instead of being in shotgun all day like teams such as Texas Tech, you could get a grasp of what you're going to learn at the next level and also be successful in college football.

How are your receivers looking? Are you guys going to narrow that group down a little bit?

JH: We really don't have to narrow it down because all of them are competing with each other. We've got to find the ones that are going to be the starters, and that's going to be a hard task for our coaches. All of our receivers are competing for that job, and they're doing a heck of a job.

I gotta ask you this question. You have so much talent, but good grief, that schedule is just brutal. What's your mindset on that?

JH: Uh, I didn't know we had a tough schedule.

Ha, yeah, you lie like a rug.

JH: (Laughs). We take it one game at a time. We're not really worried about the first four games. We're worried about all the games, but we're working for Florida State right now. You can't be the best worrying about teams later on down the line.

Defensive tackle Allen Bailey played last year at 283 pounds.

Now he says he's weighing between 289 and 294 pounds.

"This is a pretty ideal size, about 290," Bailey said. "It's a pretty good weight for me."

The increased mass is all the better to adjust to his new defensive tackle position [he came in as a linebacker and played mostly defensive end last year].

"It was a little rough start (this spring), but I got used to it after a couple of weeks," Bailey said. "It's another position change. The toughest thing would be double-teams, but once I get used to that (it'll be fine). I hope to continue (this fall) where I left off (this spring)."

Bailey said technique was a big focus in his transition from end to tackle.

"It's somewhat easier (now)," he said. "We're working on what we picked up in spring time."

Bailey was asked if he feels maybe fans haven't seen the real Allen Bailey, since he's switched positions twice and was held back by injury last fall.

"I've had a good summer, no injuries," Bailey said. "I should have a good time this year, really show myself out."

What would make a successful season for this team, in Bailey's opinion?

"The ACC (title) first, and a BCS bowl," Bailey said. "Anything short would be a great disappointment."

* Of the Canes' daunting early season schedule, Bailey said, "We'll take it game by game, prepare a great game plan going into the game. It should be a little test. We'll be fine.

"It tests you, but it should be a lot of fun."

* Of first-year defensive coordinator John Lovett, Bailey said, "His coaching style is attack. There's no dropping. It's let the defensive line do what they do.

"His style, I'm cool with his style. He made it simple for defensive linemen so they can go out there and have fun."

Of the defensive playbook, Bailey said, "It's similar things, different names, but less complex."

Asked how much emphasis coaches are putting on stopping the run, Bailey said, "It'll be more when camp starts up. The spring, we had a pretty good showing stopping the run."

The defense returns veterans Randy Phillips, Eric Moncur and Colin McCarthy from injury.

"That brings a lot of experience, extra talent – plus the new guys," Bailey said.

* Of the mood of the team, Bailey said. "There's a lot of excitement. It's a bunch of young guys, bunch of old guys. It should be fun."

* Of newly arrived DE Dyron Dye, Bailey said, "We haven't done much yet. He's athletic, another athletic end."

* Bailey is working at left tackle with Joe Joseph, Curtis Porter and Luther Robinson. At right tackle is Marcus Forston, Josh Holmes, Micanor Regis and Jeremy Lewis.

Working at left end are Eric Moncur, Gavin Hardin, Andrew Smith and Steven Wesley . The right ends are Adewale Ojomo Marcus Robinson, Dyron Dye and Olivier Vernon.

"We should have a nice rotation," Bailey said. "We shouldn't be too winded. It should be a lot of competition to see who starts, who is in the rotation."

Hey Manny,

Good Job. Coming back with a vengeance just before football camp starts.

Keep it coming.

With a name like Ray Ray, how can he not become a star?! He's got future first round NFL Draft pick written all over him. I'm thinking Ray Ray and Vaughn Telemaque are gonna be holding down the the safety spots at the end of the year and will dominate back there for at least the next two years after that... before they become NFL studs.

For video gamers ONLY:


CaliCanesFan---good looking on those article's man!

Just trying to keep us up to snuff.


What he's done as a Cane: Nothing yet. He arrived in June and began lifting weights with strength and conditioning coach Andreu Swasey.
Aren’t we still waiting for Arthur Brown and Allen Bailey to break out?
Canefan is all pumped up how this kid will be the next #26 and save the program... Problem is, just like all the many other top tier talent that Duh U has acquired in the last 5 years, has gone to waste do to the coaching staff not being able to develop that talent for results on the field ...
The reason U are so hyped about Aravious's potential is because U have so little talent around him (especially in the Secondary) Canefan...

Good luck #26, U'll need it ... And remember, after the smoke clears following this season, you can always take your redshirt and join your 'Ship Ring Wearing # 4 boy up in Titletown and get you some too...
Hey maybe U can play him at Strong, Corner, OLB, QB, and T.E. too Caneindenialfan ...

Got undefeated?


On Second Thought Jay Jay, U Wouldn't See The Field @ Free Or Strong @ Florida ...

But then again, U already knew that last Feb. huh ?

3 outta 4 years n counting ...
U eva been there ?
Didn't think so .

Aravious?!?!?!? I'm a little disappointed, I thought his real name was Ray Ray. I have a feeling that will be the only time I'm disappointed with guy.

I like the fact he is taking no. 26. Good luck!!!

Yes, get excited Canes fans. But if you’ve learned anything from the last few seasons – do so with caution.
Ur blind obsession will not allow U to do so Cane Stooges...
Well that and Ur incredibly miniscule "objective" football knowledge


Allen Bailey is not a bust. He led our team in sacks, despite being hurt all season

Posted by: Antonio | July 15, 2009 at 02:05 PM

And what does that tell U about the talent around him ???

"Everybody's got us rated so low, it's like motivation for us," Spence said
Can "everybody" be wrong Sean ?
Well atleast U'll be motivated ALL year long .

He's honoring Sean Taylor with no. 26, it will make you think of all of those memories.

Remember the 2002 FSU game when he popped that FSU receiver and sent him in the air like a rag doll.

Here is a video I found that will get the real Canes' fans into the right frame of mind for the season - If you are a Cane you must watch this YouTube video....I pumped, is it September yet?


This is even better!


Here is a video I found that will get the real Canes' fans into the right frame of mind for the season - If you are a Cane you must watch this YouTube video....I pumped, is it September yet?


Posted by: Canesworld | July 15, 2009 at 06:33 PM

This is even better!


Posted by: CaliCanesFan | July 15, 2009 at 07:27 PM

Sing along with me Canefan ...


Well Cane Stooges ... The Are OVA !!!

Now, the real deal Cane Fan ...


U gotz any leaders ?

U gotz a playmaker under center ?

U gotz a coach that will be there til 2020 ?

Yo Jay Jay ... Gonna miss this huh ?


U keep replaying the old glory vids Canefans to take the sting ouuta Ur soon to be next .500 season ... It's sad, but it's all U gotz.

We up in Title Town will just keep producing fresh new ones year after year ... 'Ship after 'Ship ...

Posted by: U Gotz Back To Back 'Ship Rings ? | July 15, 2009 at 06:03 PM

Actually no we don't! What's it like?

We got undefeated though, actually we have a couple! (So does Bowden Jr.)

We've also been to the promised land 10 times since 1983!

Do you got undefeated?

Ray Ray is our next ST..

Posted by: U Gotz Back To Back 'Ship Rings ? | July 15, 2009 at 06:03 PM

I realize your schedule is one of the easiest in the NCAA, but you know what they say about counting your chickens!

I suppose back to back trumps 5 as well?

5 TIES 5, 6 BEATS 5, GOT IT?

canes fans,

am i the only one that mthinks that ray ray could push jacorry harris at QB? harris displayed a rather weak arm last year, armstrong's is close to being as good, and ray ray is more explosive running; starting strong safety/back-up qb is where i see this guy-didn't he play almost every down against northwestern?

that was me Manny who quizzed jacory, funny to see that story

UM should do the honorable thing and retire #26. I wish people would stop trying to be "the next Sean Taylor" its disrespectful to his family. Everybody wants somebody to be Sean Taylor. The real Sean Taylor is gone. Let him rest.UM should show some class and not issue his number anymore.

shadow: you are the only one that thinks like that. Ray will not even sniff time at qb that is why Ray ray was named an ATH those type of players can do anything on the field.just because ray played qb does not mean he is a true qb. he probably did not read diffrent coverages the D was giving him or didnotse his hipsto put more velocity .fact is jacory is a true QB so what if he may not have a big cannon arm i would take qb that can be deadly accurate with great touch over just a kid with a big arm. did you notice robert marve had a big arm,also taylor cook was rated higher than jacory in highschool but jacory has the smarts to play at the next level.it is not all about physical tools their has to be knowledge their as well.

UM should do the honorable thing and retire #26. I wish people would stop trying to be "the next Sean Taylor" its disrespectful to his family. Everybody wants somebody to be Sean Taylor. The real Sean Taylor is gone. Let him rest.UM should show some class and not issue his number anymore.

Posted by: TODT | July 16, 2009 at 09:03 AM

I think it's the ULTIMATE compliment to Sean. If you tell someone 'hey you could be the next Sean Taylor', well isn't that not saying that he IS the MEASURING stick for EXCELLENCE at that position? I'm sure his family is proud of that. I agree with the jersey being retired though. They should have a halftime ceremony doing just that.

I agree to an extent but if Miami started retiring numbers, none of the current 'Canes would have any numbers left to wear!

RayRay is!!Understand what i just said RAYRAY IS the next big thing happening at safty for THE U!!!!if you dont think so grab a ticket(later U will understand what I meant by that its the new slogan for haters and gaytor losers)Gaytor fans go ahead and keep suckn miami's you know wat by coming on here WE LOVE THE PLEASURE!!!!!!!! LOL Like who really has time to go on another teams blog I guess ur jus like louis murphy and wanted to come to THE REAL U but didnt get a scolly cuz his tape line waaay in da back like ah hockey player hit dat thang waaay back lol we understand ur pain and go ahead and pull a ticket and get in line with all the other gaytor fans thats in line given us plesure the number is at 258,698,258,985,324 so pull a ticket and by 2 more lifes itll be ur turn to get on ur knees!!!!!!!!!!!Wat number ticket do u have?thats what we say to all the people that hate on THE U!!!!!!GO CANES WE ON THE COME UP!!!!!!



i think ray ray has alot of good potential, and he looks really good out there on the field,howerever, this jamal reid kid also looks good

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