MIAMI, FL - OCTOBER 9: Jermaine Thomas #38 of the Florida State Seminoles breaks the tackle of Ray-Ray Armstrong #26 of the Miami Hurricanes to score a touchdown in the second quarter on October 9, 2010 at Sun Life Stadium in Miami, Florida. (Photo by Joel Auerbach/Getty Images)
And, so it is. After three seasons that featured as many suspensions as big hits, five-star recruit Ray Ray Armstrong has been dismissed from the Miami Hurricanes football program. The school did not issue an official reason for Armstrong's dismissal, but let's just call it repeated violations of team rules regarding interactions with boosters and/or agents. That about covers it, I imagine.
Ray Ray needs no further introduction around these parts— my byline alone speaks volumes about the expectations he has failed to live up to. He finishes his Miami career with 134 tackles, four interceptions and a wealth of unfulfilled potential. He appeared in 30 games.
He is gone, and it is final. So, what does it mean for the 2012 season and beyond?
Well, probably not much. Unless Ray Ray was ready to unleash his inner Sean Taylor in his final year, he wasn't going to move the needle significantly for a Miami team that is firmly in a rebuilding stage. Miami's secondary is going to be a sieve once again this season, and the two players most likely to replace him— A.J. Highsmith and Kacy Rodgers— are far from intriguing talents. Freshman Deon Bush, who is going to get his initial playing time at Miami as a safety, is a half-season away from contributing in even the rosiest of scenarios. Miami's defense will be worse without Armstrong, but it does more harm to his draft stock than anything else.
In a grander sense, Armstrong is the just about the last of Randy Shannon's mega-recruits to shuffle his way out of Coral Gables. That Armstrong is following in the footsteps of so many of his recent predecessors is undoubtedly disappointing, but I can't shake a small sense of relief in the fast-forwarding of this imperfectly arranged marriage.