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Miami Hurricanes 2010’s All-Decade team: Defense and Special Teams

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A group of top defenders, and specialists, played for the Canes in the last 10 years.

After tough start, Miami rallies for 44-28 win over Virginia Al Diaz/Miami Herald/Tribune News Service via Getty Images

Welcome back to hypothetical land, Canes fam!

Yesterday, we named the 2010’s All-Decade Offense for the Canes. You can see it here if you missed it:

Now, we’re turning to the other side of the ball: Defense and Special Teams. No long lead up. Let’s get into the list.

Defensive End: Allen Bailey, Jonathan Garvin, Gregory Rousseau

Bailey was always a huge, muscular player, and he used his size to great success at Miami. 31 TFLs and 19 sacks in 4 years for the Canes, with 14 of those sacks coming in his final 2 years. He only played 1 year of the 2010’s at Miami — his senior year in 2010 itself — but that’s enough to earn him this spot.

Jonathan Garvin saw his numbers decline as a junior in 2019, but he showed great talent on the edge for Miami in his 3 years as a Cane. 17.0 TFL and 5.5 sacks as a sophomore in 2018 pretty much sewed this up, but there was elite performance from Garvin as a freshman and junior (though the numbers were lower for various reasons) as well.

Gregory Rousseau had 15.5 sacks in 2019. That’s it. That’s the reason.

Honorable Mention: Olivier Vernon, Chad Thomas, Joe Jackson, Trent Harris, Al-Quadin Muhammad

Defensive Tackle: RJ McIntosh, Kendrick Norton, Gerald Willis III

This is a position where the talent was a bit lacking in the last decade. Part of that was the long tenure of Mark D’Onofrio as DC, but we don’t need to belabor that point.

The trio of McIntosh, Norton, and Willis III were all seen in the last half of the decade, but all brought good production to the DT position, and helped then-DC Manny Diaz right the ship on defense for the Canes. And, Norton gave us this iconic moment, so that’s why all 3 make the list:

Linebacker: Sean Spence, Denzel Perryman, Shaquille Quarterman

Duck Commander Independence Bowl - Miami v South Carolina Photo by Stacy Revere/Getty Images

Here’s a position with PLENTY of talent to choose from.

Sean Spence was a sideline to sideline terror for Miami. In his 4 years, he ended with 417 tackles, 46 TFLs, 10.5 sacks, 1 INT (which he returned for a TD), 8 PBUs, 3 FF, and 1 FR. Spence was 1st team all-ACC in his senior year (2011) and is a clear choice at this spot.

After Spence left, Denzel Perryman took over the lead position at LB for Miami. Another 4 year player, Perryman had 351 tackles, 27.0 TFL, 4.5 sacks, 2 INT (1 INT-TD), 8 PBU, and 6 FF. Like Spence, Perryman is still in the midst of a strong NFL career, but his work on the field in the first half of the decade for the Canes earns him this spot.

Last but certainly not least, Shaquille Quarterman rounds out the LB trio. Miami’s all-time career leader in games starter — 52 consecutive (or every game of his college career) — Quarterman was an ever-present stalwart for Miami’s reborn defense. 356 tackles, 46.5 TFL, 12 sacks, 1 INT, 13 PBU, 2 FF, 5 FR, including one returned for a touchdown. Easy choice.

Honorable Mention: Colin McCarthy, Jermaine Grace, Michael Pinckney, Romeo Finley

Cornerback: Artie Burns, Corn Elder, Michael Jackson

Miami v Notre Dame

Artie Burns brought track-star speed with a game-ready frame to the Canes secondary. After 3 years of mostly stellar play, Burns was a 1st round NFL Draft pick.

Though it took him some time to develop, Michael Jackson was 2nd team All-ACC in 2017, and honorable mention All-ACC in 2018. He’s one of the better players Miami had at CB in the last decade, for sure.

Yes, a 3rd CB. Corn Elder was a late add in Miami’s 2013 recruiting class, but he paid off in spades. Elder was 1st team All-ACC as a senior in 2016, and one of the leaders of the Canes in his junior and senior seasons.

Honorable Mention: Brandon Harris, LaDarius Gunter, Trajan Bandy, Tracy Howard

Safety: Deon Bush, Jaquan Johnson

Another position with plenty of talent to choose from. A good problem to have, really.

Deon Bush was the prototype physically for a Safety, and he brought solid play to Miami’s secondary. He earns the first spot.

I couldn’t live with myself if I didn’t include Jaquan Johnson on this team. The heart and soul of Miami’s defense, and a 4 year standout for the Canes, Johnson was a 2-time 2nd team All-ACC pick and a 2nd team All-American as a junior in 2017. 252 tackles and 8 INTs (among other stats) and his leadership and gravity make Johnson a sure-fire pick on the All-Decade team.

Honorable Mention: Adrian Colbert, Rayshawn Jenkins, Sheldrick Redwine, Jamal Carter

SPECIAL TEAMS

Kicker: Michael Badgley

Miami’s all-time career leading scorer. Yeah, that’ll do it.

Honorable Mention: Matt Bosher

Punter: Pat O’Donnell

A 1 year Cane after transferring from Florida Cincinnati (man, I messed THAT ONE up), O’Donnell was a monster for Miami before embarking on a still-ongoing NFL career.

Kick Return: Corn Elder

I mean..... he did this:

Punt Return: Braxton Berrios

Sure, some complained about the fair catches, but Berrios was sure handed, and far more explosive as a punt returner than many give him credit for being. Other players held this spot in the last decade, but Berrios is the only and clear choice to my eye.


So there you have it. The Miami Hurricanes 2010’s All-Decade Team.

Discuss and debate the picks in the comments, and give me your Defense/Special Teams from the 2010’s for our beloved Canes.

Go Canes