Here's a quick preview of what could be in store next Wednesday, National Signing Day.
> NOTE: I wore the old Cubs jersey in honor of the late great Ernie Banks.
Hurricanes football coach Al Golden and 1992 Heisman Trophy winner Gino Torretta held off a back-nine charge from South Carolina coach Steve Spurrier and Sterling Sharpe to win the 2013 Chick-fil-A Bowl Challenge.
Miami’s 11-under round was one better than the Gamecocks duo and solidified the first-place scholarship prize of $125,000. Miami finished the front nine with five straight birdies to make the turn at 8-under, one stroke ahead of two-time defending champion Georgia Tech and two shots clear of South Carolina.
The Hurricanes and Yellow Jackets played stroke-for-stroke on the back nine until Miami pulled ahead with birdies on 16 and 17. The Gamecocks went birdie-eagle-birdie over the final three holes to make a run at Miami, but fell just short when Golden holed a five-foot putt for par on 18.
“South Carolina and Georgia Tech are really good teams. We had a lot of fun down the stretch and Gino hit some big putts to keep us in it,” Golden said. “We scrambled and got lucky down the stretch.”
“Hitting that 30-footer for par on 15 and another big putt on 17 were huge. We didn’t know they were so close on our heels until we finished 17,” Torretta said. “We just tried to stay within ourselves and we kept the ball in play. It just seemed to work today.”
The Chick-fil-A Bowl Challenge is the country’s premier head coach and celebrity charity golf event featuring NCAA head coaches and former athletes and celebrities from the same school competing against their rivals for a share of a $520,000 scholarship purse.
In addition to the $520,000 scholarship purse, another $144,000 was generated for charitable organizations including Chick-fil-A’s WinShape Homes foster care program. Over the last seven years, the event has contributed a total of $3.8 million in scholarship and charity, helping make the Chick-fil-A Bowl college football’s most charitable bowl game.
Mike James, rushed for career-best 621 yards and 6 TDs on 147 attempts as a senior for the Hurricanes, got his name called in the sixth round of the NFL Draft on Saturday.
The Bucs plucked James with the 21st pick, 189th overall. He was the 18th running back taken off the board.
James was the second Hurricane to be taken in the draft. The Rams drafted cornerback Brandon McGee in the fifth round.
The Hurricanes have now had a player taken in the NFL Draft 38 consecutive seasons.
Brandon McGee's NFL dreams came true Saturday afternoon when the St. Louis Rams took him with the 16th pick in the fifth round, 149th overall.
McGee, a two-year starter at cornerback for the Hurricanes, was the first UM player taken in this year's NFL Draft. He was the 22nd cornerback taken off the board.
STL! We On.— Brandon McGee (@B_McGee21) April 27, 2013
McGee, a former standout at nearby Plantation High School, started all 12 games as a senior and finished tied for sixth on team with 54 tackles and tied for the team lead with two INTs. After the season he was the recipient of the Captain's Award and Plumer Award for Leadership, Motivation and Spirit.
Mike James, who rushed for career-best 621 yards and 6 TDs on 147 attempts as a senior, is likely the next Hurricane who will get drafted. So far, 13 running backs have been taken off the board through about 150 picks.
"We're excited to see some of our guys get drafted here in the next couple days," UM coach Al Golden said earlier this week. "Our staff is working hard to make those that don't get drafted get great free agent opportunities."
Heralded Plantation American Heritage five-star running back Sony Michel made his college announcement Friday and it wasn't what the Hurricanes were hoping for.
Michel, considered the fifth best recruit regardless of position according to Rivals.com, chose the Georgia Bulldogs over the Hurricanes because he "wanted something different."
Michel (5-11, 205) is the second straight highly-touted running back from Broward County to choose an SEC school over the Hurricanes. In February South Plantation star tailback Alex Collins chose Arkansas over Miami.
As disappointing as those losses may be, Canes fans shouldn't be totally heartbroken. Something different could end up being a good thing come February when Michel and the rest of the 2014 signing class has to put their commitments to paper and sign National Letters of Intent.
As it stands, the Hurricanes have Miami Central standout Joseph Yearby, the sixth-best running back in the country according to Rivals, as a 2014 commitment. And getting his teammate, Dalvin Cook, rated the fourth-best running back in the country by Rivals, to saddle up with the Canes may not be far-fetched. Cook, currently committed to Florida, said earlier this week continuing his college career alongside Yearby and UM-bound offensive tackle Trevor Darling, another Miami Central standout, is something three have been discussing plenty.
"We talk about it a lot. Playing together at the next level would be a fun experience," Cook said. "This recruiting process is crazy. Things happen. A lot of it changes. All of us are graduating early. Miami? I'm letting them recruit me. We'll see what happens."
Yearby, who has shared the backfield with Cook for the defending Class 6A state champions the last two years, sharing it in college is no big deal to him.
"Our families want to see us stay together because they say me and Dalvin are the best duo they've seen in years," Yearby said. "They would love to see us play at the next level again. Coach Golden, too. Playing at home is very attractive. It's not like we've got to go build ourselves up. Everybody knows us and will come support us."
Of course, it's no guarantee Cook, Yearby and Darling pick Miami as the place where all three play together at the next level. USF hired their former high school coach Telly Lockette two months ago and teamming up together in Tampa isn't something the three say is out of the question.
"What's exciting about that is we could go play for a coach we had for three years, so it would be a very good choice for us to make, too," Yearby said.
Yearby (5-10, 185) said USF and USC continue to pursue him.
Cook (5-11, 195), once a Clemson commitment, also has an older brother, new Canes' basketball guard Deandre Burnett, pushing him to stay home.
The last time Hurricanes fans held their breath when one of the country's premier high school running backs to make his college choice on television it was only the beginning of a long, strange winding road to disappointment.
When highly-touted Plantation American Heritage running back Sony Michel makes his decision around 4:45 p.m. on ESPN Friday we could end up down a similar path -- only this time don't expect his mother to run off with his National Letter of Intent.
Michel (5-11, 205) told me face-to-face Wednesday he expects for his parents to be happy with the school he announces for and for his pursuit by college football programs to come to a peaceful, non-dramatic end. Michel, choosing between the Hurricanes, Georgia, Florida State, Notre Dame and Florida, said he's already made up his mind. Friday is just about letting the rest of the world know.
"I went on a visit last weekend and it had me thinking. But last night and the night before I slept on it and had my decision made. [Friday is] going to be a happy day for me and my parents because I can finally make a decision and just celebrate," said Michel, who run circles around upperclassmen since he was an eighth-grade phenom to the tune of 4,819 yards and 58 touchdowns in his career.
"At the end of the day I don't care what anybody else thinks. It's about me and football and where I'm going to be happy."
Even though he won't be signing a National Letter of Intent until National Signing Day in February, Michel said he plans on shutting down his recruitment after Friday's announcement.
While that may not stop schools from recruiting him, he said the whole point of Friday's announcement is to avoid distractions and allow him to keep his focus on the football field this coming season. Heritage has had one of the best programs in Broward County each of the past two seasons, but has knocked out of the state playoffs in the first round. Michel is intent on not letting that happen again.
"I chose to get this out of the way early just so I can focus on the football season," Michel said. "That's the only way I can focus on winning that state championship ring. I don't really care about the whole stats situation. If I only get 200 yards this year I'll be satisfied as long as I got a ring. If I run for 2,000 yards and I don't get a ring I'll feel like I failed as a senior.
"Opening things back up and dragging it out to Signing Day is just not something that's been on my mind. I feel like once I commit I will be a solid commit and stop the recruiting process."
Although UM coaches have been on campus plenty this spring -- speaking to Michel's coach, former Hurricane Mike Rumph -- Georgia is considered the favorite to land Michel according to most experts.
Asked what he likes about the Bulldogs and other finalists Wednesday, Michel said: "What they did there was give both of their freshmen the opportunity to showcase their talents. That's what a player likes to see. They have a great coaching staff."
"Miami has always had a good program, great running back history. They've got a great back there now. Miami has always just been Miami. What they do with the running backs is they showcase the running back a lot.
"Florida changed their offense to pro style and just had a running back go to the NFL. They have a top running back coming in. Florida State also."
While Michel expects Friday's decision to be final, Rumph doesn't.
"To be honest, I just wish he would wait," Rumph said. "Because recruiting never ends until Signing Day. Whoever he picks you know the other guys aren't going to stop coming after him."
UM coach Al Golden made it pretty clear Thursday -- freshman linebacker Gabe Terry is no longer a Hurricane and won't be again.
"Gabe was suspended before the incident and we didn't take him to the spring game. Gabe is no longer with our football team," Golden said. "It's done. Again, I apologize. I don't know what [information] was released on our end, but he's no longer with the team. He was suspended before the incident. We've separated and moved in another direction."
Terry, arrested last Friday morning after being found by police face down on the steps near his dorm with 26.8 grams of marijuana, had been suspended indefinitely according to UM's sports information department before Thursday. But it's official now -- Terry is the fourth defensive player (Eddie Johnson, Gionni Paul, Thomas Finnie) to be booted from the team since the end of last season. Golden said he handles all disciplinary issues the same.
"It's certainly case by case and it certainly has to do with the resume of the young man in terms of whether or not there were any incidents in his career here and whether or not he does all the things we ask him to do here," Golden explained.
In other news:
> Golden expects to have everybody on the roster healthy and back by Aug. 1 with the exception of defensive end Dyron Dye. "But it sounds like Dyron will have a chance to be back during training camp, which is great," Golden said.
> Golden described the situation with senior running back Eduardo Clements, who told The Miami Herald last month he was definitely coming back this fall, as "still a little tenuous."
"I know he's anxious to come back. All indications are he will be cleared," Golden said. "But in terms of the medical aspects of that I have to make sure I'm careful with that and don't overstep my bounds."
> As far as the backup running back situation is concerned, Golden said: "I was pleased with Dallas Crawford. He had a really good spring, certainly showed his interchangeable and can do a lot of things with the football... Danny Dillard made a lot progress. Gus Edwards is a big back coming in. The eight ball, the guy who threw us the curve was Mo Hagens. Mo really grew as a ballcarrier."
> Although there are rumors out there receiver Robert Lockhart may be interested in transferring, Golden said it's premature to address those because players are still taking exams and the semester hasn't ended.
"It would be premature for me to say that or speculate on that when nothing is definitive," Golden said. "It's probably prudent for me to wait until we're finished with [spring] exams and then make a release. Obviously every year at this time there are kids for a variety of reasons -- to go home, play earlier, seek transfer. The best thing for us to do is let it play out and then release it all on one day."
> Despite the loss of three linebackers from the end of last season, Golden said he's confident there is enough depth at the position and raved about the growth of freshman Alex Figueroa.
"I just kept waiting for him to hit a wall and he never did," Golden said of Figueroa. "He's a mature kid. His parents are marines. Very disciplined young man, very tough. He comes to us 6-3 and 230, very strong, physical, smart, explosive. You're talking about when this guy is all said and done he's going be 250, running and a smart player. We're excited about his progress. He's kind of thrown away the freshman tag because he doesn't act like it at all. He's started from the first practice to the last and did the same in the off-season program with his conditioning. He's on a mission right now. We're going to continue to let him grow and do his thing. "
> As for his team's new punter Pat O'Donnell, Golden said: "Pat is going to give us a great opportunity and really the experience we need, the veteran player we need," he said. "I'm excited about [Matt] Goudis. He did a lot of good things this spring to take that next step. We're going to supplement Pat with a lot of eager walk-ons that want to come in and earn a scholarship. Pat kind of bridges that gap. O'Donnell definitely gives us an opportunity to be steady because we were really steady there there the last two years."
Don’t listen to whoever put the rumor out that I declared. It isn’t true. I will make an announcement Sunday at 6 about my future.— Shane Larkin (@SLarkin_0) April 24, 2013
Suspended Hurricanes linebacker Gabriel Terry was tased during his arrest early Friday morning, moments after school police officers found the 19-year old freshman sleeping face down on the steps near the rear entrance of his dorm and with a Ziploc bag filled with 26.8 grams of marijuana in the left-side pocket of his shorts.
According to the arrest affidavit from the Coral Gables police department, officers woke Terry up at around 3:48 a.m. and asked him several times to stand up and put his hands behind his back, but he did not comply. Terry then began to argue and pushed an officer away with his body before police shoved him to the ground in an attempt to handcuff him. Terry, who turns 20 on Sept. 21st, was warned he would be tased according to the report, but didn't comply and was able to standup before police used the taser to subdue him. The report said Terry eventually cooperated.
Coral Gables fire rescue was called "to retrieve the [taser] prongs" from Terry's back. Terry was charged with felony possession of cannabis and resisting an officer without violence. He was released Saturday after posting $6,000 bond.
Terry, who has a troubled history as a juvenile and whose father is serving a life sentence in a Central Florida prison for a 2001 murder, has an arraignment hearing scheduled for 9:45 a.m. on May 20th.
Listed as 6-3 and 210 pounds on the spring roster, Terry played in seven games as a freshman. He finished with five tackles and blocked a punt against Virginia Tech. He was suspended for the Virginia and USF games late last season, though UM coach Al Golden never specified what Terry had done wrong.
UM has taken Terry's name off its roster online and suspended him indefinitely. UM's defense has parted ways with three underclassmen -- linebackers Gionni Paul and Eddie Johnson and cornerback Thomas Finnie -- since the end of last season following suspensions and or arrests.
Hurricanes linebacker Gabe Terry, a rising sophomore, was arrested Friday for possessing more than 20 grams of marijuana, a felony; and for "resisting an officer without violence.''
He has been suspended indefinitely.
Terry, listed as 6-3 and 210 pounds on the spring roster and 6-4 and 185 pounds on the arrest report, played in seven games this past season as a freshman. He finished with five tackles, and blocked a punt against Virginia Tech.
He was suspended late last season and missed the Virginia and USF games, though UM coach Al Golden never specified what he had done wrong.
Terry was arrested in eighth grade for burglary and larceny and sent to Boys Town, a center for at-risk youth in Omaha, Neb. He spent more than three years there.
“Out there I grew up,’’ he said in early November. “I was young, and I don’t even know how to say it, just a little out of control. I had to grow up and learn some social skills and learn how to carry myself like a young teenager. It really did help me.''
Terry’s father, Clarence Terry, is serving a life sentence in a Central Florida prison for a 2001 murder. The two were huge Hurricanes fans together before Clarence went to prison.
--SUSAN MILLER DEGNAN
Thursday turned out to be a pretty good day for the Hurricanes' basketball team.
Coach Jim Larranaga and athletic director Blake James were in the state capitol building Thursday and honored on the floor of the house of representatives and senate, who designated April 18th, 2013 as University of Miami Hurricanes Men's Basketball Day in Florida.
That was nice, but so was seeing junior college transfer James Kelly officially sign his National Letter of Intent. The 6-7, 240-pound forward from Division II Owens Community College in Findlay, Ohio is considered a three-star recruit by Rivals.com and 247Sports.com. He averaged 18.3 points and 10.1 rebounds a game last season and is know for some pretty vicious dunks on YouTube. Here are a few links (CLIP 1, CLIP 2, CLIP 3)
Kelly also had recruiting interest from Clemson, Louisiana Tech, Marshall and St. Bonaventure. He's the third player to sign with UM joining Deandre Burnett and Davon Reed, who signed in the early signing period. Running back Corn Elder, who signed a football scholarship with the Hurricanes, is also expected to play hoops this coming season for Jim Larranaga.
UM linebacker Eddie Johnson was a talent waiting to break out in a big way. Actually, he had begun to break out already in his redshirt freshman season in 2012.
Unfortunately, from what I'm told by insiders, he began hanging out with the wrong crowd, and got himself in trouble that UM didn't want to touch.
He's now officially a Hinds Community College Eagle, said his new head coach, Gene Murphy.
"He'll be enrolled for the summer session and start practice in August,'' said Murphy, who also serves as the athletic director at Hinds CC in Raymond, just outside Jackson. "We're excited about it. My evaluation of him is that he's a sideline to sideline guy and he knows how to play the game.''
Other UM players who played at Hinds include first-round draft pick Jerome McDougle in 1999, a defensive end. At the same time, former UM DE Andrew Williams played there.
The difference: McDougal and Williams played at HInds first, then transferred to Miami.
"We've had about 50 guys who have played in the NFL after starting out at HInds,'' Murphy said.
In 2012, the Eagles had a disappointing season, starting the preseason ranked sixth in the nation but ending 4-5.
"We fell off the cliff,' Murphy said.
This past season, Johnson was fourth in team tackles, while playing only eight games. Suspensions plagued him. He had 59 tackles, a sack, an interception and three forced fumbles.
Here's hoping his trouble is in the past.
SUSAN MILLER DEGNAN
Coach Al Golden released his team's post-spring depth chart Tuesday with one notable addition -- a new punter.
Pat O'Donnell, a graduate from the University of Cincinnati, is listed as the Canes' No. 1 punter and is also listed on the depth chart for field goals, kickoffs and placeholder. O'Donnell has signed a financial aid agreement with the University of Miami and is expected to enroll in either the summer or fall semesters according to UM. O'Donnell averaged 41.8 yards per punt on 59 attempts with the Bearcats in 2012, while dropping 23 kicks inside the 20-yard line and booting 10 kicks of 50+ yards.
UM returns 10 starters on offense and nine on defense from its 2012 squad that finished 7-5 overall and tied for first in the ACC Coastal Division with a 5-3 league mark. Several players were held out of spring practice due to injury, including LB Thurston Armbrister, RB Eduardo Clements, WR Robert Lockhart Jr., C Shane McDermott and DL David Perry. WR Malcolm Lewis, who was held out for the majority of spring practice, made his debut during the Spring Game with a scripted 75-yard TD catch - his first action since a season-ending ankle injury last September at Georgia Tech.
Freshman Alex Figueroa is listed as the Canes' No. 1 outside linebacker, the only freshman listed as a starter following spring practice.
CLICK ON THE LINK BELOW TO SEE HOW THEY'RE LISTED (REMEMBER THERE WILL BE INCOMING FRESHMEN IN THE FALL)
Sometimes when you watch a game it's hard not to just trust your eyes and rush to judgement. It's like stealing the ball at half court and having the lane completely open for a slam dunk.
When it comes to spring football games, though, you can't just call it like you see it. Schemes are simplified and in UM's case Saturday with the game being televised on ESPN3 coaches made sure to keep things pretty basic on both sides.
Mark D'Onofrio's defense ran two coverage schemes -- basic man and zone. But really it was a lot of man coverage without any blitz packages, he said. Offensively, James Coley didn't want show anything either.
The difference: he had Stephen Morris, Duke Johnson and a set of receivers who are clearly better than anything UM has in its secondary when it comes to old-fashioned, beat your man one-on-one football.
And that's really what we learned from this scrimmage. When it comes right down to it, Miami's offense is way ahead of the defense. Luckily for D'Onofrio he'll get to be creative when the season starts. Plus, more help is still on the way.
"We wanted to get the guys out there and challenged a little bit, get some matchups, put some guys against some guys -- some of our corners -- that weren't going against the 1s and find out if they could do it," D'Onforio said.
"It's good to see the guys [in vanilla scheme]: Can you beat a block? And can you cover somebody?" D'Onofrio said. "At the end of the day it's not a call generated scrimmage where you're putting them in position to do something or giving them some type of advantage. At the end of the day it's can they beat the guy across from them. It's a nice way to do it."
Morris pretty much showed everyone why his senior season could be special. He picked apart a mixed collection of UM starters on defense, finishing 13 of 23 for 256 yards and four touchdowns -- all that without a healthy Allen Hurns or Phillip Dorsett out there. His backups, meanwhile, showed just how far behind Morris they really are. Ryan Williams, last year's backup, finished 10 of 25 for 123 yards, 1 TD and two bad interceptions. Gray Crow did nothing to take the backup job away from Williams either, finishing 2 of 8 for a mere 50 yards.
"I was pleased with some of the execution," Coley said. "We had the thought of throwing the ball deep today and we did it. The other scrimmages and stuff like that we we're looking at other schemes and stuff we put in [installed]. This was probably an old school type of deal. You're in pro formation and either running the ball or throwing it deep. I liked how some of the guys looked out there. [Rashawn] Scott looked good. Stephen threw the ball really well and [left tackle] Flowers blocked unbelievable. When I wanted five yards I went to the left side for five yards."
Scott, suspended for the final three games of last season, pretty much took Tracy Howard's lunch money on a daily basis this spring. Howard wanted a one-on-one matchup with him again Saturday and just couldn't ward off the 6-2, 204-pound receiver, who by my set of eyes was clearly the most impressive receiver on the field this spring. Saturday he finished with five catches for 94 yards and two scores -- both on Howard.
"I don't know what he did in the past. I just know from when I got here his focus level -- he's been challenged everyday and he's responded," Coley said. "I like him. I like 'em big like that."
> Sophomore receiver Herb Waters had three catches for 50 yards and a score before leaving Saturday's game with a shoulder injury. He was in a sling for most of the second half.
"He's fine," Coley said. "We got a look at D'Mauri [Jones] a little bit. He made some nice catches. That was a blessing in disguise. We know what we have Herb. He's had a solid spring."
Jones finished with one catch for nine yards. Redshirt freshman Jontavious Carter had a much better day. He led the team with five catches for 113 yards -- including a 48-yarder in the first quarter where he left starting corner Ladarius Gunter in the dust.
As bad as UM's corners looked Saturday, D'Onofrio said he isn't worried about his top three -- Gunter, Howard and Antonio Crawford. But that doesn't mean he's not looking for help.
"I think its improved," D'Onofrio said of his secondary, which ranked 102nd in pass defense last season. "I'm still looking for some -- we're trying to figure out the fourth, fifth corner situation. We got some guys coming in that will help us out in that area. I'm looking forward to Artie [Burns] to coming in and playing corner and see how he competes with some of those guys. I feel good about Gunter. I feel good about Crawford. I feel good about Tracy [Howard]. [Nate] Dortch (beaten plenty Saturday) had a good spring. He had a couple on him today. I thought he improved. We'll just keep looking and see where we're at.
"As far as the safeties goes, Kacy didn't play today. He was out the whole spring. We look forward to him coming back. Jamal Carter is coming in. We're looking forward to building some depth there."
MORE NEWS AND NOTES
> Linebacker Denzel Perryman had two tackles (one for loss) and two interceptions in Saturday's scrimmage. But it's clear coaches want him to raise his game this fall.
"I'm looking forward to Denzel making a lot of progress over the summer," D'Onofrio said. "I think he's capable of playing at another level than he played with this spring. I think that comes with preparation, the day in and day out competing that he's capable of. I have high expectations for him. I'll continue to challenge him because I want to get the most out of him I can."
> Freshman linebacker Alex Figueroa, praised plenty by D'Onofrio this spring, hardly made a dent in Saturday's scrimmage. But there's a reason. "He's been nursing an ankle for the last 2 1/2 weeks," D'Onofrio said. "He's a tough guy. He fought through it. He didn't miss any [practices] which says a lot. He got a tough injury in the ninth practice, before the Naples scrimmage. We limited him some, but he never really missed any time."
> Will Saturday's defensive effort sway D'Onofrio from saying this was a good spring?
"Not at all," he said. "I thought guys did a great job. I thought we had a really good spring. Again, today we broke up the teams. So on defense we were broken up. It wasn't necessarily the first team or second team defense. We had a lot of mix and match in there, not necessarily a lot of guys who had played together in the spring. [The other two] scrimmages is where we controlled it. We tried to take a look at the top of guys. We didn't get past maybe 16 guys who were in there one time.
"I was really pleased -- particularly the second scrimmage. I'm really happy with where we're at. We'll look at this tape and look at the individuals. But kind of how this spring went, very happy with where we're at out there. Guys did a great job."
> Dallas Crawford had three catches for 33 yards and nine carries for just 19 yards and a touchdown Saturday, but it's safe to say he's earned the job as Duke Johnson's backup this spring.
"I love Dallas. Dallas gives so much," Coley said. "He's a guy that can play a lot of things for us. He's the guy."
> Tight end Beau Sandland, UM's most hyped new arrival on offense, finished with three catches for 30 yards Saturday. Although he didn't have an overwhelming spring, Coley saw progress.
"It's always hard when you're learning a system," Coley said. "You got to play fast because you're playing against faster folks. Now he's picking it up, processing it and starting to play fast. And guess what spring is over with. Let's take that over to fall and hopefully he'll get going."
Orange: Herb Waters 13 pass from Stephen Morris (Matt Goudis kick)
White: Garrett Kidd 13 pass from Ryan Williams (Ricky Perez kick)
Orange: Malcolm Lewis 75 pass from Stephen Morris (Matt Goudis kick)
Orange: Rashawn Scott 15 pass from Stephen Morris (Matt Goudis kick)
Orange: Rashawn Scott 14 pass from Stephen Morris (Matt Goudis kick)
White: Ricky Perez 26 FG
White: Andre Johnson 45 pass from Gino Torretta (Ricky Perez kick)
Orange: Dallas Crawford 2 run (Matt Goudis kick)
White: Ricky Perez 40 FG
PASSING: Stephen Morris 13-23-0-256 4 TD; Ryan Williams 10-25-2-123 1 TD, Gray Crow 2-8-0-50.
RUSHING: Duke Johnson 10-120, Maurice Hagens 8-39, Dallas Crawford 9-19 1 TD, Danny Dillard 8-16, Stephen Morris 1-2.
RECEIVING: Jontavious Carter 5-113, Rashawn Scott 5-94 2 TD, Herb Waters 3-50 1 TD, Dallas Crawford 3-33, Beau Sandland 3-30, Garrett Kidd 3-19 1 TD, Malcolm Lewis 1-75 1 TD, D’Mauri Jones 1-9, Stephen Sweeney 1-6.
TACKLES: Ladarius Gunter 5, Tracy Howard 5, Shayon Green 4, Rayshawn Jenkins 4, Tyrone Cornileus 4, Larry Hope 4, Deon Bush 4, Nantambu Fentress 3, Earl Moore 3, Jalen Grimble 3, Corey King 3, Tyriq McCord 3, Jordan Tolson 3, Denzel Perryman 2, Raphael Kirby 2, Luther Robinson 2, AJ Highsmith 2, Jimmy Gaines 2, Ronald Regula 2, Nate Dortch 2, Dequan Ivery 2, Anthony Chickillo 1, Olsen Pierre 1, Curtis Porter 1, Ricardo Williams 1, Brandon Yosha 1, Akil Craig 1
SACKS: Luther Robinson 2 (-14), Anthony Chickillo 1 (-11)
TACKLES FOR LOSS: Luther Robinson 2 (-14), Anthony Chickillo 1 (-11), Shayon Green 1 (-5), Denzel Perryman 1 (-2), Curtis Porter 1, (-1), Ladarius Gunter .5 (-2), Larry Hope .5 (-2).
FORCED FUMBLES: Corey King 1
FUMBLE RECOVERIES: Tyriq McCord 1.
PASSES DEFENDED: Ladarius Gunter 2, Nate Dortch 1, Raphael Kirby 1.
INTERCEPTIONS: Denzel Perryman 2 (45 yards)
KICKING: Ricky Perez 2/2 FG (Long: 40), 2/2 PAT; Matt Goudis 0/1 FG, 5/5 PAT
PENALTIES: Orange 6-50, White 2-10
OK, so it wasn't exactly original. But the Canes still provided a nice moment for fans and receiver Malcolm Lewis on Saturday when they scripted a 75-yard touchdown pass to him from Stephen Morris.
Miami's defense let Lewis catch the pass uncovered and then jogged behind him to celebrate with him and the rest of the team in the end zone.
Nebraska's football team did something similar last week for a young boy battling cancer.
Lewis, who dislocated his ankle in what really was a gruesome season-ending injury at Georgia Tech last September, has been ahead of schedule in his rehab. He said last week he expected to be ready for contact in the fall.
Scripted as the touchdown to Lewis may have been, the emotions teammates and coaches shared with Lewis in the end zone were real.
Here is the video courtesy of Hurricanesports.com
Tonight's the night for some UM classics to be immortalized in the UM Sports Hall of Fame.
The list of UM greats to be inducted at Jungle Island: baseball player Ed Contreras, quarterback Ken Dorsey and his center Brett Romberg, diver Bryan Gillooly, golf coach Norm Parsons, pitcher Jay Tessmer and RB coach Don Soldinger.
I spoke at length to former RB coach Don Soldinger, who is extremely excited about the honor, and he should be. Great coach, super guy.
I also spoke to quarterback wonder Ken Dorsey as he was driving from Charlotte to pick up his wife (former UM soccer player Jordan Sims) to drive to Miami. He's also very pumped.
"I couldn't believe it when I heard I was voted in,'' Dorsey told me. “I’ve been a Heisman Trophy finalist two times, won the Maxwell Award and played in the NFL. But this is by far the biggest thrill I’ve ever had.
"I love that place. I love the city of Miami. I love the people there -- they are diehard Canes fans. Beautiful campus and the teachers are the best in the country. When you go into the UM Hall of Fame it's not just about UM but the whole city.''
I asked Dorsey, the new quarterbacks coach for the Carolina Panthers, if he would ever like to coach at UM -- as a head coach, quarterbacks coach, offensive coordinator, whatever.
"One day,'' he said. "It's not for lack of trying. If that's something they'd ever be interested in, that's something I'd definitely be interested in, for sure. I think everybody there knows I'm involved in coaching and everything like that. I'll just leave it at that.''
Dorsey and Soldinger will see lots of their old friends tonight.
Should be fun.
I was told, by the way, that it's too late to buy tickets for tonight's event.
SUSAN MILLER DEGNAN
It wasn't quite as memorable as Micheal Barrow's hit on Florida State's Tamarick Vanover or even as bone-jarring as Jonathan Vilma's blow to Nebraska's Ben Zajicek.
But when sophomore middle linebacker Raphael Kirby laid out freshman tight end Standish Dobard with a vicious hit during last Friday's scrimmage in Naples it definitely evoked memories of the days when the Hurricanes had a nasty presence in the middle of its defense.
Kirby (6-0, 230) celebrated his hit by raising his arms in triumph while Dobard (6-4, 255) laid on the ground waiting for trainers to come check him out and escort him off the field. Except for the 15-yard penalty Kirby would have received for taunting on the hit, UM coach Al Golden said Tuesday he's liked just about everything he's seen from his sophomore middle linebacker this spring.
"Kirb is going to be good," Golden said. "He's a bright kid and he's a hard worker. He's got to get to the point where it's second nature and he's not thinking. He's getting there. He's made a lot of progress this spring. He's been in a black shirt the majority of the time.
"He shows up at scrimmages. He had three or four physical plays the other night. You know, the taunting notwithstanding, which obviously, in that situation we taunt, we give them 15 yards and it turns into a touchdown or whatever. And that's a lesson for the whole team. But that notwithstanding they played really physical the other night and we've just got to continue to move him forward. But I'm excited about Kirby."
Kirby, an early enrollee as a freshman, was well on his way to making an immediate impact last season when he injured his right knee during a fall scrimmage. He came back for the final seven games of the season and tallied just 16 tackles.
"When I came back I was probably like 75 percent," Kirby said Tuesday. "I pushed through it, played when they called my number and got the experience."
But playing at 75 percent was definitely frustrating. Kirby would often limp around and favor his left leg. Now at 100 percent, he's been splitting reps with senior Jimmy Gaines at middle linebacker.
He said he gained 15 pounds of muscle in the off-season and now bench presses the NFL-testing standard of 225 pounds a total of 28 reps (junior Denzel Perryman is tops among linebackers with 33 reps).
"This spring I've just been working on being more vocal and being very physical, playing attached, getting guys lined up and being a leader in the middle," Kirby said.
"My goal [in Saturday' spring game] is to go out and have fun, play fast and get to the football and make plays."
Kirby did that last Friday. Aside from his crushing blow on Dobard, he tallied five tackles and had a pass deflection in pass coverage. But that hit Dobard definitely left an impression. Coaches made Kirby run sprints for the final portion of the scrimmage after the hit. Kirby said he apologized to Dobard afterward and said there is no bad blood.
"I believe I can be that type of player," Kirby said of being a vicious hitter in Miami's defense. "You just have to play balls to the wall every play. You can make a lot of plays and be dynamic when you stick to your assignment."
> Defensive end Jelani Hamilton injured his knee during Tuesday's practice according to Golden.
"He got hurt in a warm up drill, went down to pick up a fumble and got hurt," Golden said. "I really have no idea [how long he will be out]. Non-contact injury. Obviously we're concerned about it. It's unfortunate. We're trying to reach his family to get an MRI. Definitely an injured leg."
> Former Hurricanes recruit Angelo Jean-Louis, now at Marshall, was arrested Tuesday morning on felony charges of using a stolen credit card to purchase roughly $25 worth of food at a 7-11.
NAPLES -- Hurricanes tailback Eduardo Clements was wearing a headset during Friday's scrimmage at Naples High. But he expects that -- and the neck brace he's been wearing for months -- to be replaced with a football helmet soon.
The 5-9, 192-pound senior from Booker T. Washington High, whose health and future with UM has been in question, said Friday he will have his brace taken off in the next two weeks and expects to be full-go when fall practice rolls around.
"I'm really happy that I will be getting this thing off," Clements said Friday. "At first they thought it was a stinger, but then they realized I had to have surgery for a herniated disk. I'm really going to be excited to be back out there with the guys soon."
Clements' return will provide experience behind ACC Freshman of the Year Duke Johnson as well as depth alongside sophomore Dallas Crawford.
Redshirt freshman Danny Dillard (6-2, 210) appeared to injure his shoulder during Friday's action. But he got praised by UM coach Al Golden for his work after Friday's scrimmage when asked how Johnson's backups have been performing.
"We're giving the ball to Maurice Hagens more. He's answering. Mo is a physical runner, has a good lateral cut. He's showing some niftiness. I'm excited about it," Golden said. "I thought Danny ran hard on the goalline," Golden said. "I think Danny Dillard is starting to understand who he is. He's got to be a big back and wear people down. What can you say about Dallas? He's having arguably the best spring on the offensive side of the ball."
NAPLES -- Things didn't exactly go as planned for Anthony Chickillo or Rashawn Scott last season.
So far this they're showing signs their sophomore struggles could be behind them.
Chickillo tallied three sacks and batted two passes at the line of scrimmage and Scott hauled in nine passes for 128 yards and a touchdown as the Hurricanes wrapped up their second scrimmage of the spring in front of about 3,000 people at Naples High Friday night.
"I thought we were crisp," said UM coach Al Golden, who estimated his first team units got about 60 reps and his second team units about 55. "We completed some throws, did some good things on both sides of the ball, kicked the ball fairly well. It was much better [than the first scrimmage two weeks ago]. We had a good tempo. I thought the guys were in better condition, not as many mental errors and I thought we got a lot done."
The Hurricanes, who produced just 13 sacks last season on defense, tallied seven sacks and three interceptions in all Friday. Chickillo picked up the first two sacks before senior Kelvin Cain (two sacks and an interception), redshirt freshman Dwayne Hoilett (one sack), sophomore Tyriq McCord (one sack) started getting pressure on the quarterbacks, too.
"I think we are doing better," Chickillo said of UM's defense, which set all kinds of records last season for futility. "We're playing the run better. Guys are staying in their gaps and a lot of the sacks come from good coverage. Guys aren't blowing coverage assignments. We just have to keep working."
Scott, the team's second leading receiver a year ago before he was suspended for the final three games of the season for undisclosed reasons, made a handful of spectacular catches. He had a lunging nine-yard grab on third down to keep the offense's first scoring drive alive and then added a 32-yard catch later by fighting off cornerback Tracy Howard for the football as he fell to the ground.
Later in the scrimmage, Scott yanked in another 19-yard pass on third down to setup a Stephen Morris to Allen Hurns 8-yard touchdown pass two plays later. But Scott's highlight of the night was catching a short pass in the flat from Ryan Williams and turning it up field for a touchdown that spanned 27 yards.
"I think this is a big step for him," Golden said. "He practiced well, didn't have a great first scrimmage, but took care of business today. I'm pleased with what he's doing."
Said quarterback Gray Crow of Scott: "It's just a complete 180 with his attitude on and off the fld. He's willing to do anything. He's coachable. I just feel like there's a difference compared to last year."
Crow, embattled with Williams for the backup quarterback position, finished 8 of 17 passing for 72 yards one touchdown and an interception. But he stood out by engineering a 12-play, 99-yard scoring drive by going 6 of 8 for 67 yards on the drive. Williams finished 6 of 12 for 93 yards with one touchdown and two interceptions. Morris went 20 of 33 for 133 yards and two scores.
"That's a battle," Golden said of the backup quarterback job. "Gray led a nice drive from a backed up position and Ryan answered [with a field goal]. We'll look at both of them, evaluate them more thoroughly. But there's a good competition brewing with for the two-spot right now."
> The three touchdown passes to Scott, Hurns and Dallas Crawford (a 12-yarder from Crow) were the only scores for the offense during non red-zone work. The running game never really got going. Duke Johnson finished with 15 carries for 43 yards and a touchdown in red zone work. Crawford had 10 carries for 20 yards and a rushing touchdown in red zone work.
> Kicker Matt Goudis made a 20-yard field goal but missed a 41-yarder later. He finished 3 of 5 later in field goal work (makes of 49, 41 and 45 and misses of 41 and 53).
> Redshirt freshman cornerback Nate Dortch and walk-on Alex Irastorza had interceptions.
The Canes, like last season, will conduct their second spring scrimmage on the West Coast of Florida.
Last year it was at Fort Myers Bishop Verot Catholic High, with a standing-only crowd.
This year -- at 7 p.m. Friday -- it's at Naples High School, and expects an even bigger crowd, Naples High athletic director Ernie Modugno and head football coach Bill Kramer told me by phone.
Modugno said the stadium seats 4,000, but temporary bleachers will bring capacity to about 5,000, with up to several thousand fans expected to stand.
“Naples has very strong support,’’ Modugno said. “We have a lot of UM fans and graduates in the area.’’
Kramer coached at Hialeah American High for 11 years, the last three (1995-97) as head coach before he took over at perennial power Naples. The Golden Eagles, who were host to and got beaten by Miami Central in a 2012 Class 6A state semifinal, have averaged more than 10 wins a season for the past 14 years.
They’ll be watching the Hurricanes.
“Heck yes, we’re excited,’’ Kramer said. “I’m confident it will be standing-room only. This is big-time Division I football. We sell out our high school games. Folks want to see the University of Miami. How often do you get to be this close to an elite program?’’
Kramer said that last year he “took a busload of players’’ to watch UM in Fort Myers. “It really was great,’’ he said. “We want our kids to get a sense of possibility and a realistic snapshot of what college football looks like and sounds like.
“I know it’s a controlled scrimmage, but the size and speed of those guys, you really have to be there.
“And it’s good for the parents, too. When they’re trying to find out why their 5-10, 190-pound lineman son doesn’t have offers from BCS schools, they’ll start to get an idea why – kind of a reality check.’’
Basically, one more week of practices before the Spring Game at 3 p.m. on April 13 at Sun Life Stadium (ESPN3).
But before that, here's the info for Friday night's scrimmage at Naples High:
Directions: Take I-75 to Alligator Alley and get off exit No. 105, which is Golden Gate Parkway (note that the first exit after the toll plaza is exit No. 101; and exit 105 is after that one). Stay on Golden Gate Parkway (you'll be going west) for about four miles (about 10 or so minutes of driving -- be careful, I'm told, because the police like to give tickets for speeding) until you see school on right.
Gates open: 5:30 p.m.
Strong suggestion for parking: There is barely any parking at the school, so fans park directly across the street at Coastland Center Mall. I'm told Police will be there to help direct traffic and to escort fans across the street.
Friday’s scrimmage will also feature a family- and kid-friendly “Fan Zone” that features inflatables and a football toss. In-game, Sebastian the Ibis and the Miami cheerleaders will throw T-shirts and hand out posters to fans in attendance.
SUSAN MILLER DEGNAN
Even though watching the replays of his season-ending ankle injury last fall at Georgia Tech might induce others to feel sick to their stomachs, Hurricanes receiver Malcolm Lewis said he doesn't cover his eyes or even wince in disgust when he sees it.
According to the sophomore standout from Miramar High, he's taken the video of his pain and suffering and used it both as a learning tool and as motivation when he fully recovers to keep playing the game the way he always has.
"I watch it and see what I could've [done] to prevent the injury," Lewis said Tuesday -- about a month since he began individual work and route running on his own.
"I should have kept my feet chopping instead of letting it sit in the ground and roll... It was just a football play -- fighting for extra yardage. Something tragic happened. But there's nothing you can do. I'm still going to be the same player, fight for extra yards every time."
Last week UM coach Al Golden called Lewis' return "a medical miracle." Truth is, Lewis said, he's about a month ahead of schedule. Doctors first told him at the end of September it would take him about eight months before he would finish rehab.
He said while his teammates have been practicing this spring he's been lifting light weights while gaining strength back in his ankle. He said he's progressively been lifting heavier weights over the last few weeks as his ankle strength has improved.
"It felt weird [at first]," Lewis said of running routes at the start of camp. "Now that things have been going on and on I've been feeling better."
He said he expects to be fully cleared for contact next month and ready to go in the fall.
"It's a blessing just to be back on the field and doing what I can," Lewis said. "[Doctors] didn't know it wouldn't be happening this fast. I shouldn't be running this quickly. I should be rehabbing right now. But my leg is feeling stronger.
"I'm just going to try to pick up where I left off, do the best I can."
> Golden said defensive end Dyron Dye has an Achilles injury, but didn't rule him out from returning this coming season.