As we move closer to Aug. 6 and the start of camp, we pick up the Top 40 Countdown:
30. TE Chase Ford (6-6, 245, Sr.): He was supposed to be ready to deliver solid results right away coming out of junior college in Texas. Ford had trouble doing that, appearing in nine games, starting one and catching seven passes for 96 yards and a touchdown. At times, he had issues dropping passes. Now, after this spring, it's hard to tell exactly where Ford stands in the rotation at tight end. Talent wise, it's clear sophomores Clive Walford and Asante Cleveland have more of it and will probably be on the field more often than Ford. But don't count him out totally yet. He is going to be a senior and Cleveland is coming off injury.
29. KR/DB Eduardo Clements (5-9, 195, So.): The highly-touted former tailback at Miami Booker T. Washington ran for 3,105 yards and 50 touchdowns in high school. With a stacked backfield in front of him, nobody expected Clements to play much, still he saw action in 12 games last season and tallied eight carries for 32. Now, his career as a running back is over as he's made the switch to the defensive secondary this spring. Scouts have always said Clements had the talent and the hips to make the switch to cornerback. Now, we'll get to see if that's true. At the end of the spring, he was listed second on the depth chart at strong safety behind Ray Ray Armstrong. One way or another, he should eventually get a look at corner, possibly in nickel and dime situations. Clements played some defense in high school his senior year and knows how to hit and tackle.
28. CB Lee Chambers (5-10, 185, Sr.): After spending his first three seasons at Miami at tailback, Chambers made the transition to defense last season and played in nine games, mostly on special teams. He made two tackles, both on special teams. This spring, he left as the starter opposite JoJo Nicolas at cornerback. One way or another, the Hurricanes sorely need Chambers to be an quick learner this fall and take his game up a few notches like former converted offensive players Sam Shields and Ryan Hill did as a seniors. Can he do it? Sure. Chambers played some defense in high school. Will he do it is another issue.
27. CB Brandon McGee (6-0, 190, Jr.): A U.S. Army All-American out of Plantation High, McGee has played in 21 games in his career at UM and has made one start to date. That's clearly not enough production for the highly-touted prospect, who recorded 15 tackles last year with two pass break-ups as primarily a nickel and dime corner behind Brandon Harris and Ryan Hill. The more disappointing part of the spring was that McGee left the as the backup to Lee Chambers. As the most experienced and potentially talented cornerback on the team, I expect assistant Paul Williams will eventually get the most out of McGee's talents. UM can't afford for McGee to fail. It's time for him to show up.
26. DE Marcus Robinson (6-1, 255, Sr.): A former U.S. Army All-American out of high school, Robinson turned heads and earned Freshman All-American honors in 2008 when he finished as the fifth leading tackler on the team (35 tackles) and ranked second with four sacks. Unfortunately, except for a few brief, shining moments, he hasn't been able to take his play up to the next level in the two years since. Two years ago, he compiled four sacks again and made 17 tackles in six starts. Last year, injuries led to his numbers falling off again as he played in 10 games and made 19 tackles, 2.5 sacks. Robinson, who moved to defensive end from linebacker coming out of high school, could become a dangerous weapon again if used as a hybrid defensive end/linebacker. It will be interesting to see how new defensive coordinator Mark D'onofrio decides to utilize him. But the talent is there.
For those of you interested in the player and coaches interviews on WQAM from Friday, here is the link. You can listen in. Honestly, not a lot of news came out of it. Just talk.