TOMORROW. The wait is (almost) over. It has been eight months since the Miami Hurricanes defeated West Virginia 31-14 in the Russell Athletic Bowl. With one day remaining, here are some of the best Canes to ever wear No. 1.
A talented prospect out of high school, Armstead made an immediate impact as a freshman helping Miami capture the national championship in 1989. Trying to match his impressive rookie campaign, Armstead tore his ACL four games into his sophomore year. Returning as a junior, Armstead was able to stay on the field in the middle of that Hurricanes’ defense and helped the Canes hoist the the program’s fourth national championship in 1991.
After a notable four years at the U, Armstead took the jump to the next level and was selected by the New York Giants in the eighth round of the 1993 NFL Draft. A five time pro bowler, Armstead tallied 747 tackles, 40.0 sacks and 12 interceptions in 176 career games played. The Dallas, Texas native earned two Super Bowl rings (XLII and XLVII) as a member of the Giants coaching staff.
Parrish was a two sport athlete and speedster at the University of Miami. The Miami, Florida native lit it up on the track as a sprinter, but most notably on the gridiron as a wide receiver and punt returner. In three seasons in the orange and green, Parish totaled 86 receptions, 1355 yards and 12 touchdowns through the air. The 5-10, 175 lb wide out also returned three punts to the house in his time at UM.
Running a quick 4.37 40-yard dash at the NFL combine, Parrish was selected by the Buffalo Bills in the second round of the 2005 NFL Draft. Parrish finished his NFL career with 134 receptions, 1,502 receiving yards, 1,622 total return yards and total touchdowns throughout his eight year pro career.
Since the moment he arrived on campus, Phillips dazzled. The safety was named to the All-ACC Freshman Team, All-ACC 1st Team his sophomore and junior seasons, and 2nd Team All-American as a sophomore and junior. The defensive back finished his three year career at Miami with 203 total tackles and seven interceptions.
Phillips elected to forgo his senior year and was selected by the New York Giants with the 31st overall selection in the 2008 NFL Draft. The Miami, Florida native won a Super Bowl title (XLVI) with the Giants before playing his final season in 2015 with the New Orleans Saints. Injuries forced Phillips to announce his retirement in 2016.
A three-star prospect out of Miami Carol City Senior High School, Hurns was less than stellar his first three seasons in Coral Gables. The speedy wide receiver left his mark during his senior campaign when he won the Jack Harding Award as the Hurricanes Most Valuable Players after setting the Hurricanes single-season receiving yards record with 1,162.
Although Hurns shined in his final year at Miami, it wasn’t enough to gain the attention of NFL scouts as the wide out went undrafted. Hurns signed with the Jacksonville Jaguars and has solidified himself in their receiver core since. Hurns has 150 career receptions totaling 2,185 yards and 19 touchdowns through three seasons in the NFL. The 6-2 201 lb receiver, has three more years left on his contract after signing a four-year extension with the Jaguars worth $40 million, with $20 million guaranteed, in June 2016.
Lightening quick in the secondary, Burns came on his final year at Miami. The Miami, Florida native racked up 93 tackles and seven sacks in his three seasons in the Gables.
Burns had the measurables and workload of a high level defender and declared for the NFL Draft after his junior campaign. The corner was selected 25th overall by the Pittsburgh Steelers in the 2016 NFL Draft. He finished his rookie season with a total of 65 combined tackles, 13 pass deflections, and three interceptions in 16 games.
As a freshman at Miami in 2015, Walton appeared in all 13 games, rushing for 461 yards and showing his prowess for reaching the end zone with nine touchdowns. Under Mark Richt, the Booker T. Washington product separated himself from a crowded backfield to become the Hurricanes’ featured back, totaling 1,117 rushing yards and 14 touchdowns.
Walton needs 13 rushing touchdowns to become Miami’s all-time leader in that category and will be relied on heavily in a young Hurricanes’ offense. Look for the tailback to finish with upwards of 225 carries and be a workhorse for the Canes.
A consensus four-star defensive lineman, Johnson comes to Coral Gables with a ton of upside. The Sacramento, California native has impressed in his time since being at the U, but will bid for playing time in 2017 with Miami’s front seven solidified. Johnson will play a crucial part to the Hurricanes’ defensive line in the years to come as he has a knack for rushing the passer and blowing up the backfield.