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Greatest position rooms in ‘Canes history: 1989 Linebackers

All-Americans and NFL Pro Bowlers once shared a meeting room


The 1989 Miami Hurricanes’ linebacker meeting room featured NFL Pro Bowlers, Super Bowl Champions, National Champions, Miami Hall of Famers, and consensus All-Americans. The hyped 1989 recruiting class featured the Bermuda Triangle of linebackers who all went on to NFL stardom, yet they had to earn their way into playing time with three proven starters already on campus. The 1989 Hurricanes roster as a whole was filled with future NFL mainstays like Russell Maryland, Cortez Kennedy, and Leon Searcy.

The Starters

The captain of the group was Bernard “Tiger” Clark who became a starter after stepping in for the 1988 Orange Bowl game once George Mira Jr was suspended.

Clark was named the 1988 Orange Bowl MVP after logging 14 tackles against the Sooners’ run happy wishbone offense. A third round pick of the Cincinnati Bengals, Clark played three seasons in the NFL before becoming a coach. Having coached all over the college football world since 1998- Clark is now the head football coach at Robert Morris.

By 1989, Clark was joined by future All-American Maurice Crum. Crum, a member of the Miami Hurricanes Hall of Fame, started the 1988-1990 seasons at weak side linebacker. Crum led the Hurricanes in tackles for three seasons and finished his career with 354 tackles. Crum only played part of a season in the NFL before playing in other pro leagues through the 1995 season. Playing alongside Crum and Clark was JUCO transfer Richard Newbill who played in the NFL from 1990-1992 and then in Europe through the 1998 season.

The Backups

Micheal Barrow is a true testament to Hurricane football and one of the greatest Hurricanes to ever suit up in orange and green. Barrow lettered all four seasons in Coral Gables including starting from 1990-1992. Barrow was a consensus first team All-American in 1992 and became a second round draft pick in the 1993 NFL Draft. Barrow played in the NFL from 1993-2005, amassing 1,125 tackles as a pro.

Darrin Smith was also on campus in the 1989 season. Smith who won two Super Bowls as a starting linebacker with the Dallas Cowboys, was a first team UPI All-American in 1992. While at Miami he was a two-time All Big East player and Big East co-defensive player of the year in 1991. Smith is also a member of the Miami Hurricanes Hall of Fame.

The most heralded of the three coming out of high school was Jessie Armstead. Armstead had the longest route to a starting role, not having taken over full-time until 1991. Armstead was a high school All-American three consecutive years, a member of the Dallas Carter team that won the 1988 5A championship over Odessa Permian of Friday Night Lights fame, and played a role in the ESPN 30 for 30 story “What Carter Lost,” that focused on the armed robbery events of his Carter teammates. Armstead also lettered for four seasons and was eventually an 8th round draft pick of the New York Giants. A five time All Pro, Jessie is now a Giants Ring of Honor member after playing in the NFL from 1993-2004. Armstead had 40 career sacks in the NFL. Armstead is also a member of the Miami Hurricanes Hall of Fame.