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Canes LB recruit impressive in All-Star game

It's not often you get a chance to represent your country, especially in football. University of Miami linebacker recruit Travis Williams, however, made the most of his opportunity Saturday representing the red, white and blue in the Team USA vs. The World All-Star Game at Fort Lauderdale's Lockhart Stadium.

Travis Williams In fact, he didn't wait long to make his presence felt, racing down the field on the opening kickoff and drilling the kick returner for the game's first tackle. Williams went on to start at strongside linebacker along with MVP Mike Hull (Penn State) and Steele Devitto (Boston College). Williams (6-2, 200) finished with a team-leading eight tackles (5 solo) in USA's 17-0 win. Williams (from Lake Taylor High in Norfolk, Virginia) said the experience was "once in a lifetime."

"It was awesome, I enjoyed myself," Williams said. "I played with a great group of fellas and played my part. I made a couple big tackles and did what I needed to. It was a great week down here."

Williams can't wait until he's down here permanently. Considered the nation's 14th best outside linebacker by Rivals.com (44th by ESPN.com), Williams said he still has some work to do in the classroom before can qualify at UM. He said he's working to raise his GPA (currently 2.4) and waiting on the SAT he took last weekend (he needs at least an 820). But he has big plans once he qualifies and arrives at UM in the summer.

Travis Williams "When I visited last weekend, coach [Randy] Shannon basically told me he wanted to see me at every linebacker spot and which ever one I felt most comfortable with, the one I could help the team most, that's where I would be," Williams said. "Personally, I like playing the [strongside linebacker]. I feel comfortable in coverage, or bringing pressure off the edge."

Williams spent the week rooming with future Hurricanes teammate and team captain Keion Payne. He said when he gets to UM, he's supposed to room with running back Storm Johnson, who has been enrolled at UM since last week. All week, Williams caught the eye of Team USA coach Chris Merritt, who coached LSU-bound running back Jakhari Gore this past season at Miami Columbus.

"He's a little bit of an athletic freak," Merritt said. "He's aggressive, covers a lot of ground quickly. He fits a lot of Miami linebackers of old, the type I grew up watching. I picture him as an outside linebacker guy, dropping in coverage. He can hit now, too.

"One day of practice this week we were doing some head-on hitting. I had to smile at him a couple times and tell him to pull off the reigns a little bit. He's a kid when he wants to bring it, he brings it. He can play with fire."

Williams certainly did when he was little. He actually burned down his grandmother's home playing with matches at the age of three. No one was seriously injured.

He's since saved his most destructive behavior for the football field. He had 72 sacks in his high school career and earned first team honors in the Virginia "Tidewater area" his junior and senior seasons.

A FEW MORE TIDBITS...

> I caught up with the coach of Seantrel Henderson Friday morning and he said the one thing he has to congratulate UM coaches on is there "persistence." He said while every school in the country came in and offered, few kept recruiting Henderson as hard as UM did. He said the fact Henderson's parents are moving to whatever city their son chooses gives the Canes "a real chance."

"Seantrel is a smart young man," said Mike Scanlon, who has coached the 6-8, 340-pound Parade Magazine National Player of the Year at Cretin-Hall High School in St. Paul, Minn. for the past three seasons. 

"A lot of his decision is going to be based on his relationship with his position coach. I told him, everybody is going to be nice to you during the recruiting process. But what is he going to be like when you get there, when your sitting in his office, breaking down film? I think he's looking for somebody who is not only to give him an opportunity to play at a high level, but take his abilities to an even higher level."

Scanlon said he doesn't think the coaching changes at USC or Notre Dame put either of those programs at a disadvantage and said he has no inkling of where Henderson is headed. Florida, Oklahoma and Ohio State are Henderson's other favorites. He will announce his decision between 3 and 7 p.m. on CBS College Sports TV with analyst Tom Lemming.

> How desperate is UM basketball coach Frank Haith for some positivity? In a team meeting this week he had his players write something positive about each other on paper and had them read it in front of the rest of their teammates.

Frank Haith One description that clearly didn't show up on Haith's sheet for any of UM's seniors was "great vocal leaders." "I think what this team is [searching for] is that great leadership," Haith said. "I'm not sure we've had that this year. Our seniors are not great talkers. James [Dews], Cyrus [McGowan] and Dwayne [Collins] aren't great talkers. They're more lead by example type guys."

Haith talked a lot Friday about how difficult his team's ACC schedule has been. He pointed out once again how four of his team's first six ACC games in January have been on the road and how after Sunday's afternoon tip with Virginia Tech, UM has to get on a flight and ready for a game at Wake Forest on Tuesday. "That's not exactly easy when you consider the Demon Deacons have three days to prepare," Haith said. Hard to blame Haith for feeling the way he does. But it's life in the ACC.

> One comical side note: UM's sports info office made a tiny mistake when it sent out a press release regarding its Save Haiti campaign. It read: "In future games, the Hurricanes will be sporting a patch on their uniforms in support of Save Haith Saturday..." We know they meant Save Haiti. But it was still funny. UM sent a correction shortly afterward. 

Comments

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Manny.... Another superior piece. I'm hoping for the best for NSD. O just wanted to say thanks for everything. Not sure if you are a UM alum but it seems like you like Many of us bleed orange and green. Stay positive fellas. Regardless of how Wednesday goes we should be good next year. Remember this is not hoops, it takes most guys a while to develop. Go canes!!!

If Mccinie has time on the weekend now can we get him together with Henderson?????

Hey Manny! Great post thanks for the info. IS THERE ANYWAY ONE OF YOU GUYS CAN GET ALL 11-13 PLAYERS FROM UM IN THE PRO BOWL TO TAKE A PICTURE TOGETHER THROWING UP THE "U". THAT WOULD BE GREAT DOES ANYBODY AGREE WITH ME?

As always, great stuff Manny....

hey sports fans please explain why there's 11 MIAMI HURRICANES in the pro bowl and NOT 1 (yes I said not 1) florida GAYTOR.
Coaching?
Gimmicky offense?
Geeks ranking these kids?
Peaked already?
They're a bunch of prima donnas & don't want 2 put in the hard work like the CANES do?

as usual manny, u never dissapoint ...great job

seantrel, come on down baby! come play for a black coach! miami is great, great weather, great beaches, great clubs, and great females!!! We need U!

yo manny sick report lik always n rs is doin it good he'll develop our 3 stars and turn dem into first rounders nc next year we gonna get seantrel, ivan, and lemoiner n dont forget my boy ferguson

Seems small for linebacker at 200 pounds. He sounds more like a safety. Hopefully as he keeps growing, he'll fill out and put on the necessary weight. College OL are nothing like what he faced in high school.

"GET ALL 11-13 PLAYERS FROM UM IN THE PRO BOWL TO TAKE A PICTURE TOGETHER THROWING UP THE "U"." Thats what I'm talkin bout

Get those grades up, Trav! We need you to join the U fam.

Good job, Manny.

Man if we don't finish in the top 5 in recuriting with the pro bowl and superbowl and 11 canes playing in the pro bowl and at least 3 canes in the Superbowl...

I guess just 3 stars can shine brightly. Ha ha!

GO CANES!!!

Itll be 10 players now that McKinnie was kicked off the Probowl rosters for missing practices.

I think the idea of a Probowl before theSuperbowl is the dumbest most idiotic idea the NFL has had in thelast 25 yrs. Who thinks of these things?

Hey, if UM and Shannon do not seal the deal with some of these top recruits last minute, they only have themselves to blame, after that dismal, gutless, heartless performance in the bowl.

As far as haith is concerned, YOU are the coach. You should then be the vocal leader "writing positive things on paper" seems like a hippie, g-y thing to do, that only works in the girl scouts.What, Frank, are you going to have them sell cookies now? These players need to want to win and toughen up. Period.

Does McKinnie getting kicked off the pro bowl team hurt are chances with Seantrel? Gawd Mckinnie you dumbarse? Saw him at Mansion..wasted

Remember we are recruiting players not STARS!

Randy has us headed to a 10+ win season next year FORSURE!!!!

I Believe miracles happen and i will be hoping for a couple on NSD,C Thomas, I-MAC and Ego Feguson, of course i would love to add S Henderson too, but damn talk about asking for miracles, anyway good luck to the coaching staff ,here is hoping and praying we finish strong,GO CANES!!!!!!!!!!

in randy my rear, last year was supposed to be 10. now next, then maybe next. forget it. dump the bum, get a coach, and shoot for 12-13

Remember we are recruiting players not STARS!

Randy has us headed to a 10+ win season next year FORSURE!!!!

Posted by: IN RANDY WE TRUST! | January 31, 2010 at 10:32 AM

wake up dude. the oline will be straight garbage next year. canes will be lucky to match last years sorry performance.

fire shannon

We need a big tackle on this team to replace Jason Fox. He would probably start from day 1...hopefully we can close him.

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