There are plenty of activities to keep you occupied until the Hurricanes kick off the season 96 days from today with a game against Bethune-Cookman. In order to give you your fix of ’Canes football, we will focus on players who wore the number 96 at the University of Miami.
We would be remiss if we didn’t start by paying respect to the late Cortez Kennedy, who passed away a week ago in his Orlando, Florida home at the age of 48.
A Wilson, Arkansas native, Kennedy transferred to Miami in 1988 after attending North Mississippi Junior College. Kennedy teamed up with fellow defensive tackle Russell Maryland to form a formidable tandem in the interior of the defensive line. The defensive line,—together with Greg Mark, who rushed from the edge— wrecked havoc during Kennedy’s time with the ’Canes. His play on the line, along with his presence both on the field and in the locker room, helped Miami to win a national title in 1989. During Kennedy’s two-year career at UM, the team put together a win-loss record of 22–2.
The six-foot-three, 293-pound DT was a load to block. In just two seasons as a Hurricane, he tallied 193 tackles, 9.5 sacks, and 28 tackles for loss.
Cortez Kennedy was an incredible athlete but he was an even better man.— Canes Football (@CanesFootball) May 23, 2017
He will be missed greatly. pic.twitter.com/eTAaTVSJsa
Miami was a better football program for having Cortez Kennedy represent the institution. Kennedy continued to wear 96 after he was selected third overall in the 1990 NFL draft by the Seattle Seahawks. A pioneering ProCane, Kennedy won the NFL Defensive Player of the Year honor in 1992, was selected to eight Pro Bowls (six of which were consecutive), and spent 11 seasons with the Seahawks (1990–2000). He was also a three-time All-Pro. His 58 sacks and 3 interceptions as a defensive tackle are an incredible stat line for any player, let alone a man playing in the middle of the defensive line.
A fixture along the defensive line and in the backfield, Kennedy was popular in the Seattle community, which embraced him for his stellar play and large personality.
Kennedy was named to the University of Miami’s Sports Hall of Fame in 2004 and its Ring of Honor in 2008. He was also inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame in 2012 by Dixie Fraley Keller, the widow of his longtime agent Robert Fraley. In fact, Kennedy was the first Seahawk player to get inducted into the Hall of Fame after spending his entire career in Seattle. The Seahawks retired his number later that same season.
Not to be overshadowed, Daniel Stubbs was an excellent pass rusher in his own right. One of the many players to come from New Jersey to play at Miami, Stubbs was a coveted outside linebacker when he arrived at UM. After his freshman year, Stubbs was converted to defensive end. In his junior year, Stubbs piled up 19.5 sacks, a single season record at the time for UM’s defense. He would leave Miami at the end of his collegiate career with 39.5 total sacks and 25 tackles for loss. Stubbs was recognized as a consensus All-American in his senior season.
Stubbs was selected in the second round of the 1988 NFL Draft by the San Francisco 49ers, where he continued to wear 96. He would later reunite with his former UM head coach Jimmy Johnson as a member of the Miami Dolphins. Stubbs was elected into the University of Miami Hall of Fame in 1999.
DE Kennard Lang: Lang was an All-American at Miami and was selected in the first round of the 1997 NFL Draft. In his decade-long career, he played for the Washington Redskins, Cleveland Browns, and Denver Broncos. After his playing career, Lang coached various high school football teams—including at Orlando Jones, Wekiva, and Orlando Oak Ridge high schools—before resigning in 2016 due to chronic back issues.
DT Antonio Dixon: After attending Milford Preparatory Academy, Dixon arrived to play for the Hurricanes in 2005. He spent four years with the Hurricanes and was a solid rotational player on the defensive line. The Booker T. Washington High School alumnus won the 2009 Wilma Rudolph Student-Athlete award, which is given to student-athletes who have overcome great personal, academic, and emotional odds to achieve academic success. He graduated from Miami in 2009 with a degree in liberal arts. Although Dixon went undrafted in the 2009 NFL Draft, he made the active roster and practice roster for numerous NFL teams (Washington, Indianapolis, Philadelphia) and had stints with a couple of arena football teams.
DL Adrian T. Wilson: He attended Carter High School in Dallas, Texas (the same high school that Jessie Armstead attended). He served as a rotational defensive tackle for a majority of his career with Miami.
The 1996 Season: Miami was still in the Big East doing what it does best—dominating. The Hurricanes finished the season 9–3 under second-year head coach Butch Davis. Miami ended the season with a Carquest Bowl victory over Virginia, 31–21.