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47 days to Miami Hurricanes Football: Playmakers only

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An odd number to have such star power, but that’s how we do things at The U

Michael Irving runs
Michael Irvin as he built the legend of “The Playmaker”
Getty Images archive

Not usually a legacy number, 47 for the Miami Hurricanes has seent plenty of top talent wear the number and dominate the game.

Michael “The Playmaker” Irvin

No discussion about the 47 jersey can start without first talking about The Playmaker, Michael Irvin

Playmaker after making a play

The 15th of 17 siblings (no, that’s not a typo), Irvin hails from Ft. Lauderdale, FL. He first attended Piper HS (a little known fact, actually) before transferring to powerhouse St. Thomas Aquinas, which is where he really built his fame on the gridiron. After starring for Aquinas to end his HS career, Irvin came to The University of Miami in 1985.

Immediately upon his arrival to campus, the 6’2” 207lb Irvin was a top tier impact player for the Hurricanes. Let’s just take a look at his college stats for a second, shall we?

Michael Irvin College Stats

Year Catches Yards Yards/Catch TD
Year Catches Yards Yards/Catch TD
1985 46 840 18.26 9
1986 53 868 16.38 11
1987 44 715 16.25 6
Total 143 2423 16.94 26
Irvin College Stats

Irvin set several records (catches, freshman receiving yards, career receiving yardage, career touchdowns, and consecutive games with a touchdown) in his Miami career. To do all that in 3 years speaks to Irvin’s skill and ability. Several of those records have since been broken: His freshman receiving yardage record stood until Ahmmon Richards broke it in the 2016 season. His career catches record was broken by Reggie Wayne. His career receiving yardage record was broken by Santana Moss. That being said, Irvin still holds UM records for TD receptions (26) and consecutive games with a TD (8). For his prodigious talents, Irvin was inducted into the UM Sports Hall of Fame in 2000.

Irvin proved his “Playmaker” moniker with a 73 yard TD against hated rival Florida State in 1987. You can relive that awesome play, and hear Irvin talk about it at the 3:20 mark, in the video below:

After helping Miami win the 1987 National Championship, Irvin forwent his senior year with the Hurricanes to enter the 1988 NFL Draft. Irvin selected with the 11th pick in the first round by the Dallas Cowboys.

Over the course of his 12 year NFL career, played entirely with the Cowboys, Irvin was a dominant player. He was a 3 time Super Bowl Champion (XXVII, XXVIII, XXX), 1st team All-Pro (1991), 2 time 2nd team All-Pro, 5 time Pro-Bowler, and named to the NFL’s All-Decade team for the 1990s. Irvin totaled 750 catches for 11,904 yards and 65 TDs in his NFL career.

For his performance on the field, Irvin was inducted to the NFL Hall of Fame in 2007.

Michael Irvin with his HOF bust in Canton, OH

After suffering a career ending injury, Irvin transitioned to being a television analyst first for ESPN and currently for NFL Network.

Irvin’s son, Michael Irvin II, followed in his father’s footsteps, transferring to St. Thomas Aquinas for his senior year and enrolling at Miami in 2016. Irvin II is a sophomore tight end for the Hurricanes in 2017.

Ryan McNeil

Miami Athletics

Following in Irvin’s footsteps in the 47 jersey was CB Ryan McNeil. A Ft. Pierce (FL) native, McNeil was a 2-way standout on the football field at WR and DB. McNeil was also a champion track athlete in HS, winning multiple Long Jump, Triple Jump, and 440meter dash titles.

The son of a former CFL player, McNeil enrolled at Miami in 1989 and immediately worked his way onto the field. He was a starting CB as a freshman and played on 2 National Championship teams in his Hurricanes career (1989, 1991).

McNeil was named 1st team All-Big East in both 1991 and 1992, a testament to his talents and performance. McNeil was named a 1st team All-American in his senior season.

After his Hurricanes career, the 6’2” 210lb McNeil was selected in the 2nd round of the 1993 NFL draft by the Detroit Lions!! (that’s my team, shut up about it!) McNeil would play for the Lions for 4 seasons before continuing his career with 5 other teams (St. Louis Rams, Cleveland Browns, Dallas Cowboys, San Diego Chargers, and Denver Broncos) across the next 7 seasons.

In his NFL career, McNeil played in 161 games, starting 136 of them. He led the NFL in interceptions once (1997), had nearly 700 tackles, 31 interceptions, and 14 fumbles recovered.

After retiring from the NFL, McNeil founded Professional Business & Financial Network, an organization focused on helping athletes learn the fundamentals they need to success in business. He also publishes OT Magazine, a lifestyle magazine focused on helping athletes effectively manage their money.

For his contributions on the field at Miami, McNeil was inducted into the UM Sports Hall of Fame in 2006.

Others to wear 47: UM sports HOFer Ottis Anderson, Vegas Franklin.

Go Canes