While the offense and defense get all the love most of the time, no successful team is ever complete without a stellar special teams unit. In fact, Canes fans learned that lesson last year as below average special teams play contributed to a 7-6 record. On that note, let’s put together Miami’s perfect special teams room.
What makes a good special teams unit?
1. Accurate kicker who hits clutch kicks
2. Punter who is both accurate and has the ability to punt deep and pin the ball inside the 20
3. Returners who have consistent hands and can gain yardage
4. Accurate long snapper and kick coverage team
Here is Miami’s perfect special teams room:
K Carlos Huerta
Miami’s kicker for some of the golden ages from 1988-1991, Huerta was fantastic for the Canes, especially considering he started as a walk-on. Huerta converted 98.3% of his extra points, as he only missed three XPs over his four-year college career. He also made 80.2% of his field goals, and overall, he accounted for 397 points during his time with The U. The UM Sports Hall of Famer left Miami with NCAA records for most consecutive PATs converted (157), and he ranked second on the NCAA’s all-time scoring list (397) when he left the Canes. Huerta led UM in scoring each season he was there, and he nailed three game-winning field goals throughout his career, against Michigan and Arkansas in 1988, and Michigan State in 1989.
K Michael Badgley
I know Badgley was maligned sometimes due to his missed kicks (primarily against FSU in 2016), but the reality is “Jersey Mike” was a record-breaker at UM. Badgley owns the records for most field goals made (77), most field goals made in a single season (25), and is tied for most field goals made in a game (5). Badgley broke Huerta’s record for most points, and he was a First Team All-ACC selection in 2017. The New Jersey native is now the starting kicker for the Los Angeles Chargers.
P Jeff Feagles
The UM Sports Hall of Famer was significant during Miami’s national championship winning season in 1987, as he averaged 40.8 yards per punt. Feagles was named to the 1980’s All-Decade Fiesta Bowl First-Team. While Feagles was great at The U, he had an illustrious NFL career as well. He was a two-time Pro Bowler, a Super Bowl champion, and he holds the records for most punts (1,713), most consecutive games played (352), and most punt yards (71,211). Feagles’ NFL career lasted 21 seasons.
P Matt Bosher
Bosher handled both kicking and punting while at Miami, but we’ll keep him at punter for now. He was named to the Second Team All-ACC as a punter for his sophomore, junior, and senior year. Bosher played in 50 games as a Cane, which is tied for third-most in program history. Bosher has gone on to have a very successful career in the NFL, as he’s been with the Atlanta Falcons since 2011.
KR Devin Hester
You’ll be hard-pressed to find someone as explosive as Hester, who was an electrifying returner as a Hurricane. Hester finished with 1,019 kick return yards, two touchdowns, and he finished with an average of 25.5 yards per return. Hester’s two kick return touchdowns were incredible, as they were a 97-yard TD against Florida in 2003, and a UM record-tying return in 2004 against NC State, where he took it back 100 yards. He was tabbed as a First Team All-ACC member for kick returning, and he was named an All-American as well in 2004. In the NFL, mainly with the Chicago Bears, he had an illustrious pro career.
PR Roscoe Parrish
Parrish’s head coach, Larry Coker, called the electric receiver the “the most exciting player I’ve ever coached.” Parrish finished with 956 punt return yards and three punts returned for touchdowns. Parrish’s speed, combined with Hester’s all-around athleticism, would complement an incredible, perfect special teams room for the Hurricanes.
Coker quote courtesy of Miami Hurricanes Athletics