We have learned that Eduardo Clements, who was switched from running back to defensive back in the spring, is returning to running back -- though the situation will become a lot clearer when Coach Al Golden speaks to the media at noon today.
As you all know by now, Storm Johnson transferred to UCF, leaving Mike James and Lamar Miller -- now known as "Smash and Dash,'' as the two main runners.
Incoming freshman Kevin Grooms is expected to fight for playing time as well, and there's redshirt freshman Darion Hall there as well.
Coach Golden told me recently at the ACC Football Kickoff that Clements, initially tried at cornerback, had been converted to a safety for a while.
Here's what Golden said in late March, right after Clements' switch to corner:
"We felt he was one of the best 44 on the team and we wanted to give him a shot where he can play. It doesn't preclude him from playing running back in the future, but he has a shot to start at corner.''
I asked Eduardo before the Sun Bowl: "Was it frustrating for you at all this season?" His answer: "Yeah, it was frustrating, but I’ve got to look at it in a great way. I came out here, did what I had to do on special teams and learned from guys that were in front of me, like Coop, D-Berry and those guys are going to be gone next year. I contributed to the team there."
"There were rumors about you transferring. Were they true?" I asked him. "Never. Never,'' Clements said. "I mean guys might think I got frustrated about my playing time but I never thought about transferring. I bleed orange and green."
So, what does this mean at the safety position, where UM has one of the nation's best starting tandems in Vaughn Telemaque and Ray-Ray Armstrong?
Coaches must have high expectations for converted safety A.J. Highsmith.
Clements' bio, per UM sports information:
2010 (FRESHMAN): Appeared in 12 games, getting touches in two games. Had his best game in his debut against Florida A&M... Ran for 23 yards on six carries against the Rattlers, while catching his only pass of the season...
HIGH SCHOOL:Rushed for 3,105 yards and 50 touchdowns in four seasons at Booker T. Washington ... Rated the No. 79 player in the Sporting News 100 ... Rated the No. 43 prospect in the Mobile Register Super Southeast 120 ... As a junior rushed for 892 rushing yards and 14 touchdowns and caught 34 passes for 296 receiving yards and three total touchdowns ... In limited action as a senior, rushed 694 yards and nine touchdowns ... As a sophomore on the state champion team, ran for 961 yards and 19 touchdowns ... Rated the No.62 player in the Sports Illustrated Takkle Top 200 ... Rated the No. 11 running back by Rivals.com, a four-star recruit and the No. 156 player nationally ... Named first team All-Dade by the Miami Herald as a senior and second team All-Dade as a junior and sophomore ... No.76 prospect on the Bill Buchalter's Florida Top 100 State List.
Your style? "I’m an all-around guy. Catch the ball out of the backfield, run between the tackles and a fun guy to be around."
SUSAN MILLER DEGNAN