(Special thanks to UM for background info)
MIAMI – Eight Miami Hurricanes legends were inducted into the UM Sports Hall of Fame during its 46th induction banquet Thursday at Jungle Island.
Prior to the inductions, senior LB Denzel Perryman was presented with the Walter Kichefski Endowed Football Scholarship by Don Mariutto Jr.
With the addition of the eight newest members, the Sports Hall of Fame will increases to 282 honorees. The Class of 2014 included Andre Johnson (football, 2000-2002), James Jones (basketball, 1999-2003), Jeff Morrison (baseball, 1978-81), Wyllesheia Myrick (track, 1998-2002); Clinton Portis (football, 1999-2001), Rio Ramirez (diving, 1997-99), Javy Rodriguez (baseball, 1999-2002), and Lamar Thomas (football, 1988-92).
Over 500 fans, friends, and family came out to Jungle Island Miami tonight to celebrate the 46th induction into the UM Hall of Fame. Former players Michael Irvin, Geno Toretta, Warren Sapp, and Horace Copeland as well as many others were in attendance to support their friends and former teammates. The Miami Heat were also well represented with Pat Riley and Erik Spoelstra stopping by to congratulate inductee James Jones.
It was a sense of family among the former Hurricane standouts. All were honored and humbled by their selection. Andre Johnson spoke of going to middle school with James Jones and how they often played basketball together. Clinton Portis went on about the bond the players shared because of the hard work they put in on the practice field "you have James Jackson back there when I came in and he's the man, with that much talent you have to put in work and be hungry." Portis still seemed shocked by the news of him being chosen for the HOF "It was a surprise, I'm way to young for this."
Lamar Thomas was every bit the personality he showed in The U documentary jokingly yelling "man, took long enough, I thought I was gonna be dead before I got in." When I asked him about his new job as WR coach at Louisville and their upcoming week one match up against UM he said "well, we all have jobs we have to do so it's something I will get through. But I wont have to pull my phone out during the game to check to see how Miami is doing." When I asked about who would win between his UM team and Andre Johnson's and Clinton Portis' team he gave a big grin, noded and said "but I'm a bit biased."
In 2002, Andre Johnson caught 52 passes for 1,092 yards – an astonishing 21 yards-per catch average – and nine touchdowns, joining UMSHoF member Eddie Brown (1,114 yards in 1984) as one of only two Miami receivers to gain over 1,000 yards in a season. His 193 yards (on six catches) against Virginia Tech in 2002 is the fourth-most receiving yards in a game by a Hurricane. He ended his career with 92 catches for 1,831 yards, the fifth-highest total and his 20 touchdowns are tied for third-most. Johnson caught seven passes for a career-high 199 yards and two scores to lead Miami to its fifth national title. For his efforts, he was named the 2002 Rose Bowl Game Most Valuable Player. A 2002 All-BIG EAST first team member, Johnson also ran track, winning BIG EAST titles in 2002 in the indoor 60-meter and 100-meter dashes.
One of the finest all-around players in UM history, James Jones is still listed in the record books as fourth in career blocked shots (192), seventh in career 3-point field goal percentage (.383), eighth in free throw percentage (.831), tenth in steals (137), 11th in field goals made (124) and 14th in total points (1,356). He twice led Miami in rebounding and blocked shots, and once in steals. A four-time All-BIG EAST Academic team member, he was selected a 2003 Verizon Academic All-American.
Another in the long line of great Hurricane lefthanders, Jeff Morrison teamed with UMSHoF member Neal Heaton to form one of the finest 1-2 pitching punches in college baseball history, leading the Canes to the College World Series all four years (1978-1981). He is still fourth in career earned run average (2.37), fifth in career victories with 38 (38-6 overall), sixth in career innings pitched (387) and seventh in career appearances. In 1981, he had a 12-1 record with a 2.93 ERA with five complete games and two shutouts. A three-time COSIDA Academic All-American ('79, '80, '81), Jeff was awarded the NCAA's Post Graduate Scholarship Award in 1981.
The 2000 BIG EAST Outstanding Track Performer, Wyllesheia Myrick was a two-time All-American and a five-time conference champion. She won her BIG EAST titles in the indoor 200-meter, the outdoor 100-meter and 200-meter in 2000, the outdoor 200-meter in 2002 and was a member of the 4x100 championship relay team in 1998. She left Miami with school records in the indoor 55-meter dash, 60-meter dash and 200-meters, and the outdoor 200-meters. She helped UMSHoF member Coach Amy Deem's teams to four BIG EAST Outdoor Championship team titles.
Clinton Portis ranks fourth among Miami’s all-time leading rushers with 2,523 yards on 440 carries (seventh-most). He is tied with Edgerrin James for the school lead with 14 100-yard rushing games. His eight 100-yard rushing games in 2001 are the second-most all-time, and he gained at least 100 yards against all five of Miami's ranked opponents that year, including 122 yards against FSU and 104 in the National Championship Game against Nebraska. His 21 career touchdowns rank eighth in school history.
The 1998 NCAA Diver of the Year, Rio Ramirez defected from Cuba in 1993 at a meet in Puerto Rico with $13 in his pocket and soon became one of Miami's most decorated divers. He was a three-time All-American and a four-time NCAA Champion, winning titles in the 1-meter springboard (1997, 1998 and 1999) and the 10-meter Platform (1999). Rio was named the 1998 NCAA Diver of the Year when he won the 1-meter springboard, finished second in the 3-meter springboard and eighth in the 10-meter platform at the national championship meet.
One of the stars on both of UMSHoF member Coach Jim Morris' National Championship teams (1999 and 2001) Javy Rodriguez is second all-time in steals with 135. He led the Canes three years in stolen bases and led the NCAA in steals in 2001 with 66, the school single-season record. He twice led the Canes in batting average (.382 in 2001 and .376 in 2002) and is second all-time in hits (321). He is third in at-bats, fourth in total bases and fifth in runs scored. A career .369 hitter, his total is the all-time highest career average among UM's middle infielders.
A two-time (1991 and 1992) All-BIG EAST wide receiver, Lamar Thomas left Miami as the school's all-time leader in receptions with 144 (now second behind Reggie Wayne), second in touchdown receptions with 22 and receiving yards with 2,271 (now fourth). He led the Canes in receiving touchdowns in 1991 and 1992 and his 10 touchdowns in 1992 are the third-highest in school history. He established a UM record with three touchdown receptions against Texas Tech – since tied twice. Lamar had a penchant for big catches in big games, most notably his seven receptions for 107 yards and the winning touchdown against Florida State in 1992.