Finally, some good news for UM football fans from an underclassman.
Albert Armstrong, the father of UM junior strong safety Ray-Ray, told the Miami Herald tonight that his son has decided to return for his senior season -- unlike receiver Tommy Streeter, defensive tackle Marcus Forston and running back Lamar Miller.
"Of course he's coming back. He loves Miami,'' said Albert Armstrong, who then called his son to make sure he could relay the information. "He didn't get the opportunity he needed personally this season to step out to the NFL. The [NCAA] suspension hurt. Of course we knew he was NFL-caliber talent and could go in one of those rounds, but we didn't test the water. Didn't pursue the NFL at all to see what his status would be. The plan all along was for him to come back, have fun and graduate.
"He's excited about the opportunity to play again, get his degree and better himself all-around through coach [Al] Golden and his staff.''
CBSSports.com had Armstrong projected as the 77th top prospect for the 2012 NFL Draft, which would put him near the middle of the third round.
Armstrong, a hard-hitting 6-4, 215-pounder with great speed, wears the late Sean Taylor's No. 26 and has often been compared to him. He was UM's top-rated signee in 2009. He led Sanford Seminole High to the Class 6A title as a quarterback and safety his senior year. Last year he finished third on the team in tackles with 79, and tied for a team-high three interceptions. This season Armstrong was suspended by the NCAA the first four games for accepting impermissible benefits from former UM booster Nevin Shapiro.
Armstrong later was suspended by Golden for the Florida State game after he posted a Twitter message about eating dinner at a restaurant with a friend who owns a public relations firm that represents pro athletes. He was cleared of any wrongdoing and finished out the season. He played in seven games this season and had 34 tackles, an interception and fumble recovery.
"If you go out early, you want to make sure you're going to get drafted high,'' Albert Armstrong said. "Now he'll have that opportunity.''
--SUSAN MILLER DEGNAN