Special Teams may not be as beloved as the two major sides of football, but what it does do is build players into their respected positions as well as being entertaining to witness at the moment during a game. For only a few seconds after a drive, the guys on this squad have only a few seconds to show out and get an actual job as a linebacker, defensive back, or a receiver if they already don’t have one. However, there’s also several guys that made the best out of this opportunity, and a lot of the players to get public notoriety (especially in the Pros) from special teams have played at The U.
If we’re building the perfect Cane for Kickoff and Punt Return, there’s a ton of players from Miami that have the speed, agility, and toughness to take from. Here’s our list of players and specific characteristics needed to build the perfect Miami Hurricane.
Agility - Devin Hester
With Hester being one of the most prolific return specialists at Miami and in the NFL, adding him to this list is pretty obvious. However, the tougher part is understanding what trait from him could be used to build the perfect Cane. He’s fast, tough, and could make plays almost out of nothing. After doing some reviewing on his tape, the answer has to be his agility. While Hester has the speed to burn his opponents on the way to the endzone, he also knows how to make the defenders in front of him look like Pop Warner players with his embarrassing jukes, dizzying spins, crazy balance preventing him going out of bounds, and cuts that would salvage touchdowns out of returns for yardage. In Miami, he had a total of 1657 yards and 6 touchdowns on both Punt and Kickoff Returns combined, which is nearly a third of the touchdowns required to break Deion Sanders’ record for TDs in the NFL. Oh yea, Hester broke that record in 2014 ironically with one of the teams Primetime played on, the Atlanta Falcons. He also ended his NFL career with 11,028 yards and 20 TDs in return receptions alone.
Speed - Santana Moss
If Hester wasn’t getting noticed for his speed, who else did you think we would go with? Santana Moss is a legend in Miami for his talent and achievements as the Hurricanes’ wide receiver in the late 90s, but this former NFL pro also was a threat on punt return and kickoff before Hester came along. One of the most notable traits he had as a return specialist was his speed. If Moss found a running lane to take advantage of, there’s a good chance that he’s taking it back for a touchdown if he’s not brought down on the opposing side of the field. Currently, Moss still holds the record for Punt returns with a total of 1196 yards and 6 TDs as a Hurricane. Hester was close, but still no cigar.
Clutchability/Toughness - Corn Elder
Now granted, this rather young NFL corner (currently) may have not broken any returning records at Miami and he still has time to progress in the league. However, you can’t take away the fact that some of his highlights included returning Punts and Kicks like he had a receipt for them. Let’s be clear, in his four years with the Canes, Elder had a combined total of 485 yards and two touchdowns on Kickoff and Punt Return. However, not only was he tough as a lockdown cornerback, but Corn’s biggest return is arguably his clutchest one, in the final seconds against Duke in 2015. There are so many people who could have messed up that lateral kickoff return by either dropping the ball or finding the wrong lane and getting smacked by a Blue Devil (a team that was also good that year), but Elder caught the lateral pass three times that and put the team on his back by scoring a touchdown from the 7-yard line of the returning side. If that’s not clutch at all, than go ahead and click to something else because I’m just a crazy writer. You need to have that kind of perseverance to be a perfect Cane on special teams.
Swagger - Randal Hill
What would a perfect Cane without swagger? A very effective lame for sure. To be the perfect Miami Hurricane, swagger is the ingredient that makes everything possible outside of their athletic abilities on special teams. This is why Randal Hill is a clear candidate for providing the swag sauce. Long before any of these young-bloods made history on special teams, “Thrill” Hill did it in the 80’s and other players still can’t manage to get on his level. Not only is Hill a national championship-winning receiver even without considering his skills on special teams, but then you have to add the fact that he still holds the record for career kickoff returns with 1169 yards. Most notably, Hill did all of this at the peak of Miami’s dynasty, which was the epitome of The U’s era of unfiltered swagger. Although the younger generations of football fans see Hill wearing suits and running for seats in Congress, the OGs know that he was running to the end zone and would probably continue to leave the stadium if he didn’t respect your team.
Who do you think would help build the perfect Miami Hurricane on special teams? Do you think we left anyone off, or are one of these players already that perfect one.
Leave a comment below.