Lately I've been reminiscing on the communities surrounding the Miami Hurricanes football team, and how homegrown talent has made the U into the legendary program it is today.
As I was doing research on some of the greatest Hurricanes to come out of Dade County, I was shocked on how many linebackers the 305 has produced.
Starting in the early days of Hurricanes football, the “Mad Stork” Ted Hendricks is listed as both a linebacker and defensive-end, so he finds himself in on this article. The Hialeah native is still to this day, one of the greatest Canes of all-time. In three years at UM, Hendricks was a two-time All-American, finished fifth in the Heisman race in 1968, and averaged 109 tackles per season.
Moving into the 1980’s, you have several guys who made huge impacts to help create a Canes dynasty. In the 1984 Orange Bowl, LB’s Fred Robinson and Jacinto Fernandez came up big in Miami’s first National Championship. Also from the county of Dade, you have big and mean Winston Moss, who struck fear in the eyes of his opponents and was a freshman starter on that 1983 championship team.
In the mid 80’s under Jimmy Johnson, Randy Shannon became a constant starter at linebacker, and helped UM win another title in 1987. During those same championship years, George Mira Jr. compiled stats left and right, and was Miami’s all-time leading tackler for 13 years up until 2000.
Towards the end of the decade in 1988, we were introduced to another linebacker out of Dade, Darrin Smith. Along with fellow 305-native Micheal Barrow as well as Jessie Armstead, the three would form one of the greatest linebacking corps in college football history called The Bermuda Triangle. Smith earned All-American honors in 1991 and 1992, and was a two-time Butkus Award semi-finalist.
Barrow joined the Hurricanes in 1989, and is one of the most ferocious hitters in Miami history, mostly known for his 1992 decleater on Tamarick Vanover on FSU. Barrow was an All-American in 1992, and helped UM win titles in 1989 and 1991.
Staying in the 1990’s, the hometown production didn’t stop at linebacker. A product of Miami Palmetto High School, Rohan Marley, yes Bob’s son, also joined the Canes. Playing alongside Warren Sapp and Ray Lewis, Rohan led Miami in 1993 with 95 tackles, and will always be remembered as one of the Hurricanes hardest hitters. James Burgess was also in that mix of Dade linebackers, totaling nearly 350 tackles and was also a one-time all-Big East selection.
Entering Coral Gables in 1996 was Nate Webster. Described by Brett Romberg as an “insane human being” (see 30 for 30) this ferocious hitter led the team in tackles in 1999 with 150, and averaged 13 tackles a game during his time at Miami.
Jonathan Vilma stepped onto campus in 2000, though he didn’t step too far coming from Coral Gables High School. In four fantastic years at Miami, Vilma was a three-time all-Big East section, and helped the Hurricanes capture the 2001 National Championship.
Through the mid-2000’s and up until today, the list goes on and on. Darryl Sharpton was a freshman All-American and All-ACC selection.
Denzel Perryman has to go down as one of the best linebackers ever to come through UM. Perryman was a two-time All-ACC and an All-American in 2014.
As I wrote this, I'm still just completely shocked at the level of dominance that Dade County linebackers has brought to UM. Now in 2019, incoming freshman Sam Brooks from the famed Northwestern High School will try to put his name with these guys.