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3 posts from July 8, 2014

July 08, 2014

Canes net two huge commitments from St. Thomas Aquinas

The Miami Hurricanes netted a pair big recruiting commitments Tuesday night from St. Thomas Aquinas High School in Fort Lauderdale.

The first was Jordan Scarlett, a 5-11, 210-pound running back in the Class of 2015 ranked by 247Sports.com as the 11th best at his position nationally.

The other was Sam Bruce, a 5-8, 160-pound receiver in the Class of 2016 ranked by 247Sports.com as the 7th best at his position nationally.

Our Safid Deen has more on Tuesday's big Hurricanes recruiting story on our High School Sports Blog

Hurricane linebackers JaWand Blue, Alex Figueroa kicked off team after admitting to police they intoxicated, raped 17-year old on campus

Two University of Miami football players were arrested and charged with sexual battery Tuesday morning after admitting to Coral Gables police they got a 17-year-old intoxicated and then raped her on campus over the holiday weekend.

JaWand Blue, 20, and Alexander Figueroa, who turned 20 on Tuesday, have since been dismissed by the school, according to a statement made by athletic director Blake James.

"Earlier today, I permanently dismissed JaWand Blue and Alexander Figueroa from the UM football team," James said in a statement. "The University has also suspended the students from school and barred them from all campus facilities while the University conducts an internal investigation and continues to cooperate with local law enforcement.

"Any allegation of a sexual assault is extremely serious, and the University will not tolerate conduct that threatens the sanctity and safety of our students and our campus. We hold all of our students -- especially student athletes -- to the highest standards of moral conduct. The University is committed to maintaining a safe campus environment for all."

According to Coral Gables police, the victim, also a UM student, reported the crime to campus police. Coral Gables police investigated and made the arrests.

According to the arrest report, the incident occurred in the early morning hours last Saturday inside Figueroa's dorm room at Pearson Hall on campus.

According to the report, Blue and Figueroa administered or had knowledge of someone else administering to the victim a narcotic, anesthetic or other intoxicating substance that mentally or physically incapacitated the victim without her prior knowledge or consent. Police said the victim was physically helpless to resist.

On Tuesday morning, Blue and Figueroa admitted to police they bought and provided several alcoholic beverages for the victim before bringing her back to Figueroa’s dorm room. They admitted to performing sexual acts on her without her consent, the report said. Both were immediately arrested and transported to Turner Guilford Knight Correctional Center. Figueroa was also charged with having a fake driver's license.

A spokeswoman for Miami-Dade Corrections said Blue and Figueroa were in the process of bonding out of jail Tuesday for $10,000 and $15,000 respectively. Miami-Dade state attorney's office spokesman Ed Griffith said Figueroa and Blue were scheduled to be arraigned in front of Judge Maria Elena Verde on July 29.

UM president Donna Shalala released a statement Tuesday afternoon saying she had spoken to the victim and offered full support.

"The safety and welfare of our students is fundamental to our mission as a university. We have zero tolerance for sexual assault and gender-based violence," Shalala said in her statement. "There is no confusion about our responsibility as a university: We will fully and compassionately support the victim of sexual assault. I have spoken to her myself and reassured her of our full support.

"We have suspended the men involved, and they have been barred from campus. Our athletic director has taken firm action ending their involvement in the football program. We have notified the individuals involved that the university is beginning an investigation immediately, which we expect to conclude quickly and fairly. We will also continue to cooperate with the police in their ongoing criminal investigation."

Blue, a former three-star recruit from West Boca Raton High, played in two games last season and registered one tackle. He finished the spring as the backup middle linebacker behind Denzel Perryman.

Figueroa, the son of military parents from Stafford, Va., played in nine games last season and made two starts, registering 17 tackles. He ended the spring listed as a co-starter at outside linebacker along with Thurston Armbrister.

Getting a quick boot from the team following an arrest is nothing new under coach Al Golden.

In May 2011, Hurricanes freshman defensive lineman Jeffrey Brown was booted from the team after being accused of sexual battery on a helpless victim and admitting to Coral Gables police he had sex with a severely-intoxicated female student in a campus dorm. Those charges were eventually downgraded to false imprisonment and Brown was asked to serve three year's probation, complete a sex therapy program and perform 100 hours of community service.

Two months prior to that linebacker Ramon Buchanan was arrested and charged with two felonies and three misdemeanors following an incident at a Coconut Grove nightclub. Buchanan was suspended from the team following his arrest but reinstated two weeks later after he was permitted to enter a pre-trial diversion program.

In December 2012, cornerback Thomas Finnie was suspended indefinitely from the football team after surrendering to police and admitting he was involved in a laptop theft on campus.

In April 2013, linebacker Gabe Terry was kicked off the team following his arrest on charges of felony marijuana possession.

Neither player has posted any updates on their social media accounts since the arrests. But Figueroa did post the following message on Twitter last night.

This story was updated throughout the day as information became available

McDermott (Rimington), Walford (Mackey) join growing list of Canes on preseason watch lists

Tis the season to be named to College Football Award Watch Lists.

Tuesday, it was Shane McDermott and Clive Walford who became the latest Miami Hurricanes to receive some preseason recognition.

McDermott was one of 66 centers named to the 2014 Rimington Trophy Fall Watch List, an award presented annually since 2000 to the nation’s top collegiate center in NCAA Division I FBS. Miami’s Brett Romberg won the Rimington Trophy in 2002 after contributing the Miami’s 34-game winning streak from 2000-2002. He never allowed a sack at center and led an offensive line that helped produce three 1,000-yard rushers – James Jackson, Clinton Portis and Willis McGahee.

Walford, meanwhile, was one of 40 players named to the John Mackey Preseason Watch List, an award given annually since 2000 to the nation's top tight end. It's the second year in a row he's on the list. Kellen Winslow II (2003) is the only Hurricane who has won the award.

McDermott, a Lake Worth, Fla. native, started 11 games at center in 2013 for the Hurricanes. A third-team All-ACC selection by the league’s head coaches, he helped anchor the offensive line that paved the way for a Hurricanes offense that averaged 425.8 yards of total offense and 33.8 points per game.

Walford played in all 13 games in 2013, making 12 starts at tight end. He finished the season with 454 receiving yards and two TDs on 34 catches, finishing second on the team in receptions. The Belle Glade, Fla., product had a streak of 27 consecutive games with at least one reception snapped Nov. 23, 2013, against Virginia. He later eclipsed the 1,000-yard career mark against Louisville in the Russell Athletic Bowl.

The winner of the Rimington Trophy is selected by determining the consensus All-America center pick from three prestigious All-America teams: Walter Camp Foundation, Sporting News and Football Writers Association of America (FWAA). The Rimington Trophy presentation will be held Jan. 17, 2015, at Rococo Theatre in Lincoln, Neb.

The Mackey winner is selected by vote of the John Mackey Award Selection Committee and will be announced Dec. 10, and then presented live Dec. 11 at The Home Depot Collegiate Football Awards Show.


> Anthony Chickillo, DE: CFPA Defensive Line Trophy

> Stacy Coley, WR/KR: Paul Hornung Award (most versatile); Maxwell Award (College Player of the Year)

> Ladarius Gunter, DB: CFPA Defensive Back Trophy

> Duke Johnson, RB: Maxwell Award (College Player of the Year); CFPA Running Back Trophy 

> Shane McDermott, C: Rimington Trophy (nation’s best center)

> Denzel Perryman, LB: Bednarik Award (College Defensive Player of the Year); CFPA Linebacker Trophy

> Clive Walford, TE: John Mackey Award (Outstanding collegiate tight end)