The 2022 Miami Hurricanes team, like any other team, has some areas that are stronger than others. And there are some that are particularly concerning. There are many times where we, as fans, say, “man, if we only had (insert star player) on the roster for one more year, this defense would be insane”, and this rings especially true when the depth charts begin to take shape right before the season begins.
I’m gonna take that thought a step further: if you could supplement the 2022 squad by hopping in a phone booth and zipping back in time ala Bill and Ted’s Excellent Adventure to nab ANY one former Cane during his time at UM, who would it be? And why?
Here’s who I would grab, in descending order...
10) Jeremy Shockey. I like Will Mallory (I wrote about him here - I think he has 700+ yardage potential), and I think that Elijah Arroyo has a high upside, but put the 2001 Mackey Award finalist opposite Mallory in 12 packages, and you’ve got the potential for mismatch city on offense. Not the biggest pick based on need, but it would still greatly improve the offense.
9) Ted Hendricks. The Mad Stork’s extreme length, skill, and pure athleticism made him an unblockable monster in Coral Gables on the way to a Hall of Fame career with the Colts, Packers, and Raiders. Even though he chased down Steve Spurrier, he would still be a major headache and game-plan changer in today’s game.
8) Jessie Armstead. Three title game appearances, two national titles, and a storied career with the New York Giants. The accomplished one-third of the Canes’ talented Bermuda Triangle linebacking corps simply has a winning pedigree - something missing from this program for far too long - and would be a resounding answer to the biggest area of concern on Miami’s defense.
7) Warren Sapp. Like Shockey, Sapp wouldn’t be called upon to address a glaring weakness on the team, but the trail of destruction he laid upon opposing interior offensive lineman would translate equally to today’s game. There’s something to be said for dominating the middle of the line, and Sapp would still be an unstoppable force. Eating up double or triple teams would also make the linebackers’ lives much easier.
6) Ed Reed. This is also somewhat of a luxury pick, given Miami’s roster makeup, but it’s one I would be beyond thrilled to make. While the strength of the Canes’ defense is arguably at safety, adding perhaps the most instinctive safety to ever play college football to the back end would effectively take away half of the field for opposing offenses. It’s more of a passing league now than in 2001, so having the all-time no fly zone defender would be massive.
5) Michael Irvin. Miami’s biggest question on offense remains: who will replace Charleston Rambo’s historic season at WR? Having the Playmaker as the answer doesn’t really need explaining, does it?
4) Sean Taylor. I’ve still never seen an overall better college defensive football player in my life than Sean Taylor, so adding him to the roster is a no brainer. Problems at linebacker? Insert the ultimate chess piece. You can roll with 2 linebackers (or 1 in some packages), and put Sean on the field to shift between an OLB and safety. Move him around. Havoc created. Problem solved. (I hesitated adding him for obvious reasons, but I would be remiss to leave him out. RIP to the best to ever do it. You are greatly missed.)
3) Ray Lewis. This one doesn’t really need much explaining. I’m the opposite of bullish on UM’s current linebacking corps despite the massive coaching upgrades this offseason in Kevin Steele and Charlie Strong. A gamebreaker in the middle of that group would be something that would change the entire mentality and productivity of the defense. Adding the most badass linebacker of our generation would do that. But oddly enough, only at the University of Miami would there be someone perhaps even better to add than Ray...
2) Dan Morgan. And that would be the greatest middle linebacker to play at Miami. Not based on their total football career of course. That’s Ray. But if you’re talking about the best player while at Miami, Morgan’s it. His 2000 season is unrivaled as the best among Miami linebackers, and, like with Ray, his physicality and hustle would be the seed of change in attitude and tackling fundamentals that this defense so desperately needs.
1) Andre Johnson. It was almost a coin flip between Morgan and Johnson, but in the end, I couldn’t stop thinking about the most electric receiver I’ve ever watched play at Miami connect with one of the best QB’s Miami has had since the guy who was actually throwing passes to Johnson. Johnson would be an uncoverable monster in today’s college game, especially against the caliber of defense he’d face in the ACC. His presence would create the biggest impact on this particular 2022 Miami offense out of anyone you could find. As such, I would take Johnson over anyone else.
Who are your top 10 adds, if you could go back and grab one guy? Let’s hear it...