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5 days to Miami Hurricanes Football: Top Canes to wear #5

An absolutely LOADED group of players have sported the cinco

Edgerrin James
Edgerrin James is one of several stars to have worn #5 for the Canes
Getty Images archive

5 days. That’s all that stands between us and the return of Miami Hurricanes Football for the 2017 season. As we continue and wind down our countdown to the season opener vs Bethune Cookman, we look at some of the stars who have worn the #5 jersey for the Canes.

RB Edgerrin James

A star player from Immokalee, FL, James came to The U in 1996. He immediately made his way onto the field, playing in 7 games as a freshman and showing flashes of his immense talent.

Stepping into a starting role in 1997, James had the first of his 2 consecutive 1,000 yard seasons, rushing for 1,098 yards and 13 TDs. James added 250 yards and a TD receiving, showing that he was a force to be reckoned with as a runner and receiver.

In 1998, James’ ascension to stardom was fully realized. He ended the season with 1,416 yards and 17 TDs, to go along with 255 yards and 2 TDs receiving. And, he turned in one of the greatest single-game performances in Canes history, gashing #3 UCLA for 299 yards and 3 TD. In doing so, James broke his own record for rush yards in a game (271 set against Boston College in 1997) and broke Ottis Anderson’s season rush yards record (1266 set in 1976). That record has since been broken (by Willis McGahee and Duke Johnson), but James’ 1998 season still stands as the 3rd best on rush yards in Canes history, and his career yardage total (2960) is 3rd all-time as well.

After his stellar 1998 season in which he earned 1st Team All-Big East honors, James left early for the NFL Draft. At 6’0” 225lbs with 4.38 speed in the 40 and great running and receiving skills, James was in high demand at the pro level. He was selected in the 1st round, 4th overall by the Indianapolis Colts. James’ first NFL contract was for 7 years, $49 Million

James was an immediate star for the Colts. He led the NFL in rush yards in both of his first 2 seasons in the league, and was named the NFL’s Offensive Rookie of the Year in 1999.

The list of accolades that James accumulated over his 11 year NFL career is elite: Offensive Rookie of the Year, 2 time NFL Rushing leader, 2 time 1st team All-Pro, 2 time 2nd team All-Pro, 4 time Pro Bowler, All-Decade team for the 2000s, and the Indianapolis Colts ring of fame.

With 12,246 yards and 80 TDs, to go along with 3,364 yards and 11 TDs receiving, James’ career statistics are among the best of anyone to ever play in the NFL. James stands 12th on the NFL career rush yard list, and 14th on the NFL yards from scrimmage list. Having played for 3 teams (Indianapolis Colts, Arizona Cardinals, and Seattle Seahawks) over his 11 year career, James’ legacy is firmly secure.

A 2009 inductee into the UM Sports Hall of Fame, James has a very good chance of being inducted into the NFL Hall of Fame in the coming years, as well.

RB Melvin Bratton

Alonzo Highsmith (30) and Melvin Bratton (5) were a dominant pair in the Canes’ backfield

A local standout from Miami (FL) Northwestern HS, Bratton was a key player to commit to Howard Schnellenberger and the Canes in the 1984 recruiting class. As shown in the 30 for 30 documentary The U, that class built the foundation of several National Championship teams for the Canes, including the 1987 Championship team from Bratton’s senior year.

Bratton was a dynamic player in college. He totaled nearly 2500 yards total offense from 1984-87 on several loaded Hurricanes teams. Bratton’s 33 career TDs (26 rushing, 7 receiving) were a Miami Hurricanes record at the conclusion of his collegiate career. That record has since been broken by Stephen McGuire and the previously-discussed Edgerrin James.

Headed for a big-time NFL career, Bratton’s path was unfortunately cut short by a torn ACL. Back in the 1980s, medical advancements weren’t what they are now, and Bratton’s knee injury greatly affected his career.

After being drafted in the 6th round of the 1988 NFL Draft by the hometown Miami Dolphins, Bratton decided not to sign a contract. He re-entered the draft the next year and was selected in the 7th round (180 overall) by the Denver Broncos. Bratton played in 32 games over 2 seasons, starting 6. He retired from the NFL after the 1990 season.

Following his time in the NFL, Bratton was a scout for the Atlanta Falcons, and had a front office job for the Washington Redskins. Bratton was inducted into the UM Sports Hall of Fame in 2003.

WR Andre Johnson

Another local standout from Miami (FL) Senior HS, Andre Johnson was a Parade All-American in 1999. He accumulated 32 catches for 931 yards (29.1 yards per catch) as a senior before signing with the hometown Hurricanes.

Johnson was lightly used as a freshman in 2000. He played in 11 games, but mostly on special teams. He only recorded 3 catches on the season, playing behind future NFL players Santana Moss, Reggie Wayne, and Darryl Jones.

In 2001, on the greatest college football team ever assembled, Johnson was a breakout star. After a slow start, he ended the season with 682 yards and 10 TDs on just 37 catches. Johnson was co-mvp of the Rose Bowl win over Nebraska that gave Miami their 5th National Championship after putting up 199 yards and 2 TDs on an overmatched Huskers team.

While he was at Miami, Johnson (along with several other star football players) competed on the track team as well. At 6’2” 230lbs, Johnson was big for a WR and a track athlete, but his combination of size and speed is part of the reason why he was such an outstanding football player.

In 2002, Johnson elevated his game to even higher levels of excellence with 52 catches for 1092 yards and 9 TDs. Johnson declared for the 2003 NFL draft following his junior season.

Johnson was in high demand as he transitioned to the NFL after he ran 4.40 in the 40 at the draft combine. Looking to add firepower to their anemic offense, the Houston Texans selected Johnson in the 1st round, 3rd overall in the 2003 NFL Draft.

From the moment he stepped into the NFL, Johnson was an elite player at WR. He came out of the gate playing well for the Texans, and was immediately a beloved player on the team and in the city of Houston.

On top of that, Johnson provided us with a classic moment when, after enduring cheap shots and trash talking, Johnson served CB Courtland Finnegan a crispy 2-piece! NO BISCUIT!!

Over the course of his 14 year NFL career, Johnson earned many accolades. He was a 7 time Pro Bowler, 3 time 1st team All-Pro, 2 time 2nd team All-Pro, and led the NFL in receiving yards twice.

For his career with 3 teams (Houston Texans, Indianapolis Colts, and Tennessee Titans), Johnson had 1062 catches for 14,185 yards and 70 TDs. Johnson stands 11th in both career catches and career yards in the NFL.

Johnson recently signed a 1-day contract to retire as a Houston Texan. Johnson was inducted into the UM Sports Hall of Fame in 2014, and has a good chance of being inducted into the NFL Hall of Fame once eligible.

Current 5’s: QB N’Kosi Perry and S Amari Carter

Currently sporting the 5 for the Canes are 2 freshmen: N’Kosi Perry and Amari Carter. Both were 4-star recruits in the 2017 recruiting class, and figure to play roles on this team in 2017. My affinity for Perry is well documented, and Carter may not have the fanfare of his freshman brother QB, but he has the size, strength, and skill to be a valued member of the Canes’ reloading secondary.

For more prose about both Perry and Carter, here are the Recruit Notebooks for each player from National Signing Day:

Other players to wear #5

  • S Greg Threat (he pronounces it “Threet” but I, and everybody else I know, pronounced it the way it looks. Greg Threat is SUCH a great name for a safety).
  • WR Kevin Williams
  • RB Javarris James (Edgerrin’s cousin)
  • RB Mike James

That’s it for today.

Go Canes