The University The Number 4 at the University of Miami has a legacy. The number has mostly represented the guy you had to check for. The Four was the the electricity that jolted the crowd after it held its breath in anticipation.
Two moves and house.
Shot out of a cannon to set off the cannons.
Every Four has come with hype and has possessed intense god given talent. Blazing speed, the ability to make them miss, and a threat to take it yard every time.
The Four carries hype and expectation. Wearing the Four, and knowing who wore it before you, is like excepting a challenge from a legend, because that’s exactly what is.
Devin Hester is the King. His best attributes were seemingly taken from Mount Olympus. He had the speed of Hermes and the electricity of Zeus. The All-Time Cane had a knack for making a splash too, opening his rivalry career with a bang. After 97 yards of graceful razzle and dazzle the Florida Gators and the college football world knew who Devin Hester was.
His flair for rivalry and making the most of the improbable continued against the same Florida Gators the following year. After the Gators opening drive stalled and Florida attempted a field goal, Hester was there. After the field goal was was blocked, a smooth scoop in motion gave Devin all he needed to race 80 yards to pay dirt.
Fast forward through:
- 5 more college house calls in the return game
- a kickoff return touchdown to kickoff a Super Bowl
- 19 total NFL returns touchdowns, an NFL record
— and Hester awaits his rightful call to the Hall. In his time as a Cane it feels almost as if Devin Hester imbued the number with a speed and power to the holder. Whether they took at advantage of it has always been left to the last owner of the number.
If there was another player that took the speed of the Four to its proper level, Phillip Dorsett was it. While Hester was smooth and a natural touchdown waiting to happen, Dorsett was the pure definition of explosiveness. The Saint Thomas Aquinas product made his living on roasting defensive backs in the fire his feet left in the wake. Blessed with a 4.2 40, Dorsett is one of only three Hurricanes in history to torch an opponent with 200 yards receiving or more. His greatest play as a Cane, however may have come against NC State, with 191 yards receiving and 2 scores, including a 62 yard bomb to take the lead over the Wolfpack with 19 seconds remaining.
If Hester, has the title, and Dorsett the numbers, Jeff had most of the hype. The playmaking receiver is often thought of with the notion, “What could have been”. Jeff came to the Canes as a late edition to the 2016 class and was the Hurricanes first 5 star receiver since, another number Four, Aldarius Johnson. Similar to Johnson, Thomas was plagued by false starts on and off the field. While Thomas had a similar explosive package to his predecessors, it never led to the success many envisioned he would see on gameday. Jeff oozed with potential, playing like an all conference receiver versus LSU, bringing Miami back from the brink versus FSU, and taking the heart of Virginia Tech. Recently cut by the New England Patriots, Canes faithful look forward to a day where we see his immense potential finally find a home.
So the hype is there. The speed is there. The playmaking is there. The newest member of the Fantastic Fours, Jaylan “Rooster” Knighton has announced his arrival accordingly. The all time leading rusher in one of the most prolific football counties in America has lit the Hurricanes circles on fire. Ever since he decided to avoid the dumbster fire in Tallahassee and blaze a brighter path in Coral Gables. its been a constant flow of superlatives for the Deerfield High product.
While most envision a spark plug role similar to the freshman edition of Deejay Dallas for Knighton, there is growing sentiment that Knighton can have a similar impact as Duke Johnson’s freshman campaign. In 2012, Duke Johnson went off for 1168 yards from scrimmage, including 947 rushing, a freshman record. Similar to what we are hearing about Knighton, Duke was the primary kick returner for the Canes and lit it on fire, averaging 33 yards per return. For context, that’s 5 yards more than Devin Hester’s best return average of 28 yards per return.
Needless to say the Canes latest entrant to climb the Hester Mountain may be it’s best one so far. With 4 days left, we won’t have to wait much longer to find out.