As the off-season draws closer and closer to ending (thankfully), its a time to reflect on UM greats. Safety is a position where Miami boasts some of the greatest in college football history.
The Canes have produced All-Americans, National Champions, Super Bowl champions and future NFL Hall of Famers.
Today we’ll be counting down the top 5 to ever play the poison at Miami.
Again I'll mention, because some of you are still not getting it, I'm going strictly off their accomplishments at Miami.
Honorable Mention: Kenny Phillips
A Cane great during the mid-2000’s, Phillips was maybe the last superstar to play the position at Miami, until Jaquan Johnson came along, of course.
A freshman All-American in 2005, and then two straight years of 1st team All-ACC and 2nd team All-American in 2006 and 2007, Phillips had three sensational seasons at Miami.
Honorable Mention: Brandon Meriweather
One of the greatest hitters ever to come through Miami, Louisville tight-end Adam McCauley might still be on the ground of the Orange Bowl after taking a Meriweather hit in 2004.
Meriweather was a two-time 1st team All-ACC as well as All-American, and also a semi-finalist for the Jim Thorpe award in 2005 and 2006.
5. C.J. Richardson
A receivers worst nightmare was to see this beast of a man across the middle. Richardson was a part of some of the greatest Canes defenses of all time.
“He’s probably the hardest hitter we’ve had in the secondary since Bobby Harden,” former head coach Dennis Erickson once said in an interview with the Sun Sentinel.
An All-American in 1994, Richardson and the 94 Canes had the nations number one pass defense. He finished that season with 85 tackles.
4. Fred Marion
A player who was on the pre-championship Miami teams, Marion was a player who helped the Canes gain noteriety in the early 80’s under Howard Schnellenberger. A Gainesville native, Marion came to Miami and helped the Canes beat the Gators several times in his career.
1980 proved to the country that Marion was a superstar, picking off seven passes and coming in as second on the team in tackles.
Marion was a 1st team All-American in 1981, and left Miami with the school records in interceptions (16) and also consecutive games with an interception (4).
3. Bennie Blades
This is where the debate begins, if it didn’t already start earlier in the article. As a part of the “royal family” at Miami, Blades was simply amazing, and one of the greatest players in both Hurricanes and college football history.
Blades set the remarkably high standard for playing safety at Miami, and was one of the leaders on historically great Canes teams in the mid 80’s under Jimmy Johnson.
A two-time 1st team All-American in 1986 and 1987, its hard to pick which season was better. 1986, Blades set a school record that still stands today with 10 interceptions.
However, 1987 was truly magical, for Blades and Miami. Blades took home the Jim Thorpe award, and the Hurricanes took home their second National Championship.
2. Sean Taylor
Just seeing this guys name warms my heart. One of the most physically gifted players ever to come through The U. What was your favorite Miami Sean Taylor moment?
For me, his collective dominance over Florida State throughout his career is my favorite memory of Taylor. In 2002, Taylor is remembered for his monstrous hit on Noles receiver P.K. Sam.
In 2003 in Tallahassee, Taylor recovered a blocked punt, picked off two Chris Rix passes and returned one for a touchdown, in one of the greatest single-game performances ever by a Hurricane.
Taylor tallied 14 picks, including 10 in 2003, tying Blades for the single season record.
His hard hitting play, and remarkable ability with the ball in his hands makes him a legend forever at UM.
1. Ed Reed
Possibly the greatest Miami Hurricane ever to play at the University of Miami, a statement that is poised to begin a debate, but one that might be true.
Who doesn’t love Uncle Ed? He was the best player on possibly the greatest college football team ever, the 2001 Canes.
He holds the school record with 21 interceptions, and also returned four of those picks for touchdowns, which is another school record.
Reed was a 1998 freshman All-American, and a two time All-American in 2000 and 2001.
Favorite Ed Reed Miami moment? Was it the touchdown dash that saved the 01 season against Boston College? You already know mine.
“I’m hurt dawg, don’t ask me if I’m all right, hell naw. Joaquin said dominate, and we’re not doing it. I’m putting my heart in this [expletive]. Let’s go, man.”
Reed is an all-time, ALL TIME, Miami Hurricane, and number one on this list.