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52 Days Until Miami Hurricanes Football: The Best to Wear 52

It’s all about 52 U!

Duke v Miami Photo by Joel Auerbach/Getty Images

There are only 52 days remaining until the Hurricanes take to the field for the 2017 season. Today we look at Hurricanes who have worn number 52 over the years.

The number 52, especially at the University of Miami, evokes high expectations for the player who dons it. While there are many offensive linemen who have sported these digits, the number is more associated with great Hurricane defenders.

Ray Lewis

Ray back in the day
Photo credit – Russell Street Report

While plenty others before Lewis have worn 52, this number is now synonymous with the Kathleen High School alumnus, who played with the Hurricanes from 1993 to 1995 as a linebacker. Never lacking for confidence, Lewis declared himself as one of the best Hurricanes of all time before he even played a single down. While he was known for intimidation, he always had the play to back up his big talk. Given what we know today, it’s not all that shocking that he backed up his lofty expectations. He piled up 81 total tackles, 2 sacks, 2 tackles for loss, and 4 pass deflections as a freshman and was named a Freshman All-American at the end of the season.

He became a starter in his sophomore season, leading the team with 152 tackles (9 tackles for loss). Lewis earned first-team All-Big East recognition and was also named a first-team All-American. Lewis finished the season as a consensus All-American and as a runner-up for the Butkus Award, which was awarded to Illinois’s Kevin Hardy in 1995. During Lewis’s tenure, the Hurricanes had a win/loss record of 27–8.

Lewis was selected 26th overall by the Baltimore Ravens in the 1996 NFL Draft . He went on to have an illustrious career: in addition to winning two Super Bowls, he was named the Super Bowl 35 MVP, named the NFL Defensive Player of the Year twice, recognized as a first-team All-Pro seven times, and voted into 13 Pro Bowls. While the 2001 Miami Hurricanes are regarded as the best college football team of all time, the 2000 Baltimore Raven defense led by Lewis allowed the fewest amount of points ever over a 16-game regular season, placing them in the upper echelon of defensive teams in the sport.

Lewis was inducted into the University of Miami’s Sports Hall of Fame in 2006 and the Baltimore Ravens Ring of Honor in 2013. In 2014 a statue of the Bartow, Florida native was unveiled in front of M&T Bank Stadium in his honor. Lewis will become eligible for induction into the Pro Football Hall of Fame in 2018.

Known for his inspirational speeches, Lewis knew how to lead. His pep talks before games resonated with players and coaches.. Now retired, Lewis has gone from asking “Any dogs in the house” to being a featured speaker at a TED Talk event and at schools and conferences around the country.

Lewis has inspired many defenders who have recently worn the number 52, including Patrick Willis and Khalil Mack. Thanks to Ray Lewis, 52 is a significant number for football’s elite defenders.

Denzel Perryman

LB Denzel Perryman is another player who continued the trend of Miami being “52 U”. Similar to Ray Lewis, Perryman was deemed undersized for a linebacker, especially after making the move from Coral Gables High School to the University of Miami. Although only five foot eleven, Perryman was still able to make punishing tackles when he reached the ball carrier, making the criticism regarding his height unnecessary. Perryman went on to lead all ACC freshmen defenders in tackles (69).

In his junior (2013) and senior (2014) seasons, Perryman led Miami in total tackles. He also led the team in tackles for loss in 2014 with 9.5. At the conclusion of his collegiate career, Perryman was named a third-team All-American and a Butkus Award finalist. He was also a multiple ACC first-team defense member in 2013 and 2014.

Perryman was drafted in the second round of the 2015 NFL Draft by the San Diego Chargers. In a revamped linebacker group that’s now been relocated to the City of Angels, Perryman is a veteran on a young Chargers defense.

Honorable Mentions

OL David Heffernan

David Heffernan
Photo Credit – Christopher Columbus Athletic Hall of Fame

A two-sport star for the Christopher Columbus Silver Knights, Heffernan came to Miami as a defensive lineman. Playing for head coach Howard Schnellenberger, Heffernan was converted to offensive tackle, becoming the team’s starting right tackle his junior year. A member of Miami’s first national championship team in 1983, Heffernan is also a member of the Iron Arrow Society. After playing in the NFL for a couple seasons, Heffernan returned back to the University of Miami to earn a law degree.

LB Nate Webster

Nate Webster Photo Credit – Getty Images

A two-time All-Big East selection, Webster played with an edge in his days as a Hurricane. Playing alongside Dan Morgan, the pair formed one of the best tackling tandems in the Big East. Webster declared his intention to forego his senior year declaring for the 2000 NFL Draft. Webster was selected 90th overall by the Cincinnati Bengals.

LB Tavares Gooden

Miami v Houston Photo Credit – Getty Images

Tavares Gooden AKA “T-Good” was a first team All-Broward at defensive end for St. Thomas Aquinas High School (FL). Playing for head coach Larry Coker, Gooden started at both weakside and strongside linebacker at UM. Gooden would graduate with a double major in Liberal Arts and Criminology. In the 2008 NFL Draft the UM linebacker was selected with the 71st overall pick in the 3rd round by the Baltimore Ravens. Gooden NFL career would also see him play for San Francisco 49ers and Houston Texans .

OL Marty Golloher

A Hurricane from 1987 to 1991, Golloher was a standout defensive lineman out of Lake Howell High School in Orlando. In his collegiate career Golloher would make a living protecting the quarterback as an offensive guard.

OL KC McDermott

Florida Atlantic v Miami
‘Canes fans hope to see celebrations such as this come the fall
Photo credit – Getty Images

A legacy commit following his brother Shane McDermott, KC has been a staple of Miami’s offensive line since his sophomore year. The younger McDermott has line up at both tackle positions along with left guard during his collegiate career. State of the U contributor Stefan Adam’s goes in-depth on the 2017 outlook for McDermott entering his senior year.

LB Jamie Gordinier

After suffering a knee injury in Miami’s opening game in 2016, Gordinier adds depth to a young linebacker unit. The Red Bank, New Jersey native will look to work his way into the linebacker rotation and contribute on special teams in 2017.