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Assessing the Damage: NCAA Hands Down Suspensions to Eight Miami Players

In a press release sent out moments ago, the NCAA outlined the suspensions for the eight (plus one, we'll get to that in a second) Miami players who took illegal benefits from Nevin Shapiro. It's like Christmas day, except if every present was just a leaky box filled with differing amounts of sewage and styrofoam. In any event, the good news is that the damage for 2011 is not horrible. In fact, it could be argued that UM got off easier than Ohio State. Here is the full list, including the dollar amount of benefits taken:

  • Indefinite suspension: WR Aldarius Johnson (Note: per Tim Reynolds, this is a suspension from the university for violation of team rules, not the NCAA.)
  • Six games: DE Olivier Vernon ($1,200)
  • Four games: S Ray Ray Armstrong ($788), DE Dyron Dye ($738)
  • One game: WR Travis Benjamin ($150), DT Marcus Forston ($400), QB Jacory Harris ($140), DE Adewale Ojomo ($240), Sean Spence ($275)
  • Current players named in the Yahoo! investigation who have been cleared: JoJo Nicolas, Marcus Robinson, Vaughn Telemaque 
  • Current players not named in the Yahoo! investigation who have also been cleared: Brandon McGee, Micanor Regis (source)
  • According to the press release, the benefits included things like meals, cover charges, transportation etc. In addition to receiving two of the highest amounts in benefits, Armstrong and Dye also received "impressible lodging" during unofficial visits. Let's asses the damage to the prospective damage to the depth chart, which should presumably be released tomorrow.


The hardest hit position is defensive line. With back up linemen Curtis Porter and Luther Robinson already out for week one due to injury, Miami must now deal with losing three starting defensive linemen (Forston, Ojomo, Vernon). Forston's spot will like be filled by freshman Darius Smith, with the end positions being taken by two of the following three people: senior Andrew Smith, or freshmen Anthony Chickillo and Olsen Pierre. Smith obviously has the experience, but I have my doubts whether or not he's seen by the current staff as an every down linemen.

After that, Miami will have to plug a major hole at safety, and a less major hole at wide receiver. My guess is that with JoJo Nicolas being cleared, Miami will slide him over to safety, where he played his whole career before being moved to corner this past offseason. The wildcard here is freshman Thurston Ambrister, who I'm told has played well in camp, but my guess is that the Canes will go with experience. Travis Benjamin's starting receiver spot will likely be manned by Tommy Streeter, who has been impressive of late in practice and is probably the most talented receiver on the team. The last adjustment will be replacing Sean Spence, where two things might happen. Golden and his staff could move Jimmy Gaines over to the outside and insert Jordan Futch in the middle. Or, they could opt to leave Gaines at middle linebacker and replace Spence with one of three freshman: Eddie Johnson, Gionni Paul or Denzel Perryman. We should have answers tomorrow.

EDIT: The depth chart is here, so disregard the above two paragraphs, unless you want to make fun of my largely incorrect guessing. We'll have an extensive rundown of the depth chart later tonight or tomorrow morning.