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Canes have 'four-year starter' in All-American linebacker Raphael Kirby, coach says

When it comes to producing quality talent at linebacker, few have as good a track record lately as Corey Johnson, the linebackers and special teams coach over at Stephenson High in Stone Mountain Ga.

Raphael KirbyThe 40-year old assistant has sent 19 of his linebackers to Division I schools over the past nine years including three who are currently in the NFL. They are: the Bills' Kelvin Sheppard (played at LSU, third round in 2011), the Redskins' Perry Riley (played at LSU, fourth round pick in 2010), and the Patriots' Jermaine Cunningham (played at Florida, second round pick in 2010). Johnson said he's confident he'll have another one headed to the NFL soon -- Hurricanes early enrollee Raphael Kirby.

Kirby, a U.S. Army All-American and one of seven players to sign with UM and begin taking classes last week, has all the tools according to Johnson to play right away and make an immediate impact.

"I think he's going to walk in and start right away. He's a four-year starter in my book," Johnson said of Kirby, who had 122 tackles, 20.5 sacks, 26 tackles for loss, three forced fumbles and fumble recoveries and an interception return for a touchdown for 9-2 team that was upset in the first round of Georgia's state high school playoffs.

"A lot of times you get guys who kind of get stuck because of the changes to the formation or scheme. He's well versed on football, an extremely good athlete, very bright kid, quick learner. All of those things make him an asset to Miami.

"We ran both the 3-4 and 4-3 at times. We've got coaches who have played in college, a few had pro experience. We do a good job preparing the kids on what to expect at the next level. The system we run is pretty comparable to a lot of schools because we run college type defenses. That's why a lot of scouts spend time at our school. They know our kids are ready. The fact he's already down there, learning the system, he's going to learn what they do quickly. I can tell you this -- the last three years we've sent six kids to school early and all of them have played early."

Kirby, who played mostly middle linebacker and and at times weakside linebacker for Johnson, is listed at 6-foot, 208-pounds by Rivals.com and 6-1, 215 pounds by ESPN.com. So how big is he really?

"He's bigger than that," Johnson said. "He's more like 6-2, 220 pounds. He's got a nice frame too. As far as what he can work on, I'd say pass coverage, body control. But in terms of run play, strength and size, I think he has all that now. He's a guy that can run with running backs. He has all the tools. I think he's going to go into practice, learn the plays and get playing time as a freshman."

Johnson said Kirby, who was rated the fifth-best outside linebacker in the country by Rivals.com and 13th best by ESPN, had more than 30 scholarship offers by the time he began playing his senior season. Johnson said Kirby thought about straying from the Canes and going to the same school with his best friend and teammate Darreon Herring (a linebacker headed to Vanderbilt), but said Kirby opted to stick with UM and ultimately chose them over Vanderbilt, Georgia, Florida and South Carolina.

"He pretty much had the same opportunity to play right away at Vanderbilt and South Carolina, but he really liked UM and what Coach [Al] Golden was selling," Johnson said. "He's a unique kid. He's going to do well on special teams, be all over the place for them. Miami got a four-year starter."

The Hurricanes have plenty of youth and opportunity available at linebacker. Outside of the four returning veterans -- sophomore Denzel Perryman (second leading tackler, five starts), fifth-year senior Ramon Buchanan (14 career starts) and juniors Kelvin Cain (3 career starts) and Jimmy Gaines (8 starts, 58 tackles as sophomore), the other two returning scholarship linebackers -- sophomore Gionni Paul and redshirt freshman Eddie Johnson -- have only played on special teams if at all. 

> With a little more than a week left before National Signing Day (Wednesday, Feb. 1), UM has seven players already enrolled (their scholarships count backward, toward the 2011 class) and 24 other players committed to sign as part of their 2012 class.

 The other six besides Kirby already in are quarterbacks Preston Dewey (Austin, Tex.) and Gray Crow (Clearwater Countryside), offensive tackles Taylor Gadbois (East Paulding, Ga.) and Ereck Flowers (Miami Norland), defensive back Ladarius Gunter and linebacker Josh Witt (Weston Cypress Bay).

Of the 24 players committed to sign next Wednesday, two appear to be hedging -- Miramar receiver Malcolm Lewis, who will take a trip to UCLA this coming weekend according to his coach and Jacksonville First Coast linebacker Reggie Northrup, who took a trip to Florida State last week and will visit Ohio State this coming wekeend. Both are considered among UM's Top 10 overall recruits. 

> UM will get a visit from highly coveted All-American cornerback Tracy Howard of Miramar High this coming weekend. Odds are though Howard will opt for Florida or Florida State. He will announce his decision at 9 a.m. next Wednesday on ESPNU.


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Welcome to the U young man. Just stay away from Prime 112, Uncle Luke, King of Diamonds with weezy, and Wet Willies(see ray buchannon - the cops are against us).

Watch Duke, Deon, and Coach Golden pull Howard in and make him a Cane. These guys are good man.

Lewis is not going to ucla. Its just a free trip. the kid is staying in FL. Manny should know this. Northup is probably gone, but we got othrr players at his position. And howard could go to usc. uf and fsu aren't slam dunks.

I think we'll have a great chance of landing Tracy Howard. I'm no recruiting expert but with Deon Bush and Duke Johnson on campus to help sway him, it'll make a huge difference. They all played together for the South Florida Express. And he could start DAY 1 at UM !!!!

Lewis is not going to ucla. Its just a free trip. the kid is staying in FL. Manny should know this. Northup is probably gone, but we got othrr players at his position. And howard could go to usc. uf and fsu aren't slam dunks. Posted by: jon | January 24, 2012 at 05:30 PM

A: I agree. I don't think Lewis will stray. But he is taking a trip. Same for DE Tyriq McCord, who is reportedly going out to USC. Those seem to be the 3 to watch in case they stray. Otherwise, it should be business as usual on NSD.

I thought Golden was looking for one more DT, any news there?

He is looking for another d tackle. We might end up getting the #1 D tackle in the country next week.

What Mel Kiper doens't know is that...well, let's just say that Mel just doesn't know what he doesn't know. U know what I mean?

Posted by: SOUP | January 24, 2012 at 12:44 PM


You guys have to check with skreetz-soup. He's got ALL the inside info. He knows more than Kiper, or Manny or Susan. Since his minimum wage job allows him to travel a lot, he's got all the best contacts in all the best places.

whats up with eddie goldman he is the key.tracy would be nice but goldman is the anchor we can set the defense to for the next 3 years.would hurt to loose malcolm especially since he is teammates with tracy.All in all great first class but the sites rivals and scout dont predict any major signs on NSD.








All that we need now is a couple of cherries on top... Close it out Coach!!!


Norman Clarke: are we talking Eddie Goldman out of DC?

great maybe this kid will be the answer for us at either MLB or another spot. Glad to have you as part of the U family Raphael

Posted by: Soupthecon | January 24, 2012 at 06:51 PM

^^^^^You mean to tell soupy-skreetz doesn't have all the knowledge on everything? I'm really confused now.

Either one, M. Lewis or R. Northup is gone,,if Urban Meyer is calling,,,considered him gone,,

There's gonna be a lot of commits and decommits but at the end of the day Golden and co. should have a solid class. Now, he needs to turns these kids into a solid TEAM! Go 'Canes!

to those who may be "wavering"....adios,cya....don't sweat it...

Herbie...write it down and repeat after me:

Worry is like a rocking chair.

It keeps U busy, but gets U nowhere.

Posted by: SOUP | January 24, 2012 at 06:32 PM

^^^^^LMAO at this pathetic crap

This Cane Recruiting class is slowly beginning to crumble and come Feb. 1 , will implode falling out of the Top 20 continUing Ur Decade long spiralling from any relevance what so ever ...

Tracy Howard

Welcome to the 'U" family Raphael.

An endorsement from the HS Coaches is good, but when it has the numbers to show that we are getting a very good athlete with good football intelligence, it makes me feel that our legacy continues..

There is still that desire among this Class to prove something very positive in our football program.

With an excellent Coach, and hard work we will return to the type of football that people who love College sports tune in around the County to watch the 'Canes.

Coach G and the team good job, and I can't wait for NSD to roll around.

Go 'Canes.

6 more days to National Signing Day!!!!!

All you gaytards and criminoles better watch out because you're gonna be in a for a unpleasant surprise. Sure it's pissing some of you criminoles off that one of your DB's is considering us pretty heavily. As for the gaytards in their trailerhomes, it must suck that the nephew of one of your great former players calls The U, home.

Suck on that losers!!!!




Do yourself and the world a favor. Drive down the palmetto around 745 am. Stop on the shoulder lane. Get out of the car. Stand in the middle lane facing traffic and do the gator chomp.


Welcome to you and your family to the UM! You made a good choice, athletically and academically. Good things are happening and you will be a major part of that success. We all look forward to cheering for you and the team as the U regains prominence!Go Canes!

Stefon Diggs

Corpus tell delusionalgator that the chop would not save him from the Corvette that thought he was a bump in the road...in falling the last thing he saw was the sticker "The 'Canes are BACK"...
So long delusional.
Go 'Canes


Watch out for what ? U closing with 3 or 4 **/*** kids that were only offered by San Diego St., Toledo and Buffalo like last year ?

the remaining BIG DOGS are below and U are currently in the running for exactly ZERO of them U delUsional dolt.


Just think how much better our recruits would be if we would lower our acadmic standards! The Troll must GO!!!

Malcolm Lewis ... Soft Verbal ... See U Later

Tyriq McCord ... Soft Verbal ... bUh bye

Reggie Northrup ... Soft Verbal ... Adios

Ur **** Stars are bolting, but fear not Cane clUcks, I'm sure Big Al has many ** dUds waiting in line.

The gaytors could recruit from NFL practice squads and would still suck, No OC through recruiting process, and Muffchump is just a yelling Idiot. Even Urbie lied to him, Oh UF is loaded bla bla bla, then turns aoround and says the program is broken???

If Lewis is wavering, it's not because of his visit to UCLA. He may be considering another school, but it's not UCLA. I'll be surprised if he's not a Cane. Northrup has always been a soft commit and may bolt.

Delusional your post is confirmation of fact..
Where did you see any comment on ..
undefeated seasons, Nat. Championships, depth, or 700 recruits.. those are all yours.

You ARE delusional, and to stretch the concept, somewhat irrational in threading these ideas into the post.

We are HAPPY for our team and boosting the fact that the 'Canes are coming to Kick some
A**, including whoever is your favorite in this recruiting class.

Yes we know Moosechump is very loud..

Go 'Canes

If you had a time machine, how far back would you have to go to find a time when you didn't send your life obsessing about the University of Miami Hurricanes?

Stefon Diggs
Posted by: ALL GATOR | January 25, 2012 at 11:09 AM

Really? So desperate to have a "win" in a battle nobody is fighting you on, that you are jumping to juniors?

Okay. Then why is he going to visit Urban and OSU the week after being in Gainesville? Sure doesn't LOOK like he is all Gator.

Looks like All Buckeye by your logic. But then your logic was always flawed to begin with.

Tracy Howard
Posted by: All GATOR | January 25, 2012 at 09:31 AM

All Talk, you have NOTHING to prove that. But then, you NEVER provide proof, just lame insults and weak claims, like saying our #7 recruiting class will not be in the Top 20 in less than two weeks. Good luck with that, but the odds are about as bad as the odds that you will shower today, troll.

On our side, at least he is strongly considering the Canes, as he talked about with Joe Rose on WQAM.


Top interview doesn't say All Gator, not by any stretch of your diseased imagination, troll.

Welcome Ralpheal Kirby!!!!! I'll see you in April my friend. I'll make sure I'll get ur autograph along with Josh witt and others. "Tracy Howard" bro come on to da U my friend. I guarantee you that you will start my friend. I can assure you that. Because Brandon Mcgee ain't hitting on nothing. He should of went to the pro's because he's not going to see the field at all. If I was coach golden I would put him on special teams and line him up as a receiver. I might be better on the offensive side than the defensive side. Because that cat can't cover @ all. Jimmy Gaines,Vaughn Telemaque,Ray Ray Armstrong y'all cats might as well get comfy on the bench. Because these freshman is going to better stats theire freshman year than you guys combined in all 4 of your yrs with da U. Come on down Tracy howard. You'll look good in orange and green my friend.

Nelson Agholor

OK. We have to out recruit not only UF and FSU, but the USF's and UCF's of the world. FSU and maybe UF will be there when its all said and done, but U at least got to out recruit UCF.

But these sanctions coming down the pike are going to be tough dodge.

Stefon Diggs

Tracy Howard

Nelson Agholor

Darius Hamilton

20 More Stars

U ?

Urban Meyer

This Gator fans just mad they couldnt pull Deon or Randy now Tracy is coming to UM. Stefon Diggs has good hands to go along with his 4.8 speed,and I played Vs Nelson his team is crap, gunna be a big bust.

Rumor has it that Malcolm Lewis, Howard's teammate at Miramar and a current 'Canes commit, will forgo his final visit at UCLA in order to join Bush and Johnson in trying to convince Howard that the U is the place to be.

- Matthew Osborne

Lol Yeah Gator fans hes really jumping ship.

Just In ...

Josh Harvey-Clemons

5 more Stars

rUmor had it that the Nortwestern haUl had U on Ur way back 4 years ago ...

Posted by: CaneFan561

Spend more time in Ur high school Library and try to learn something Junior.

Rumor has it Weiss jumped ship because Muschamp had no clue what he was doing and it was only a matter of time till hes gone.

Funny how with the "All Gator" braggadoccio, they don't even fill up their 85 scholarships.

Yep, they are so bad off with players transferring left and right that they will have fewer scholarship players than they had when Charlie Pell cheated his way into a winning season.

All Gator? More like "Less Gator". less Gators on ESPN, less gators in the Top 25 rankings, less gators on the All American squad, heisman short list, and in the NFL draft.

Buh-bye less gator, you have lost again, and that is with ducking playing us until 2013, troll.

Just In ...
Josh Harvey-Clemons
5 more Stars
This just in,
He has "medium interest" in the Gators, same as 8 other schools.

Care to put your money where your mouth is, troll? No? I thought he was all Gator, troll?

You must be trying to set a record for most wrong-headed posts in a day.

I hear Curse Piggy already has that record, so you might as well give up. Your role model will not likely be beaten by a wannabe like you.

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