Even after a down year (7-6), the infamous fight with Florida International, and the firing of Larry Coker, Miami’s future still looks pretty bright. Their impact on the draft has been on the decline recently (see below), but with so many talented underclassmen, they could get back to being a national powerhouse as soon as next season. Here’s a look at some of their top returning players:
Calais Campbell, DE (6-8 265 Jr) He’s a possible top ten pick if he keeps on playing like he did during the second half of the season. Needs to put on some weight and get stronger vs. the run, but is already an excellent pass rusher. (All of his 10 sacks came during their last 7 games)
Kenny Phillips, S (6-2 205 Jr) Probably the most talented DB prospect since Sean Taylor. He can cover, hit, has good ball skills, and great measurables. Would be a possible top 15 pick if he was eligible this year.
Javarris James, RB (6-0 205 Soph) He was a true frosh, so can’t enter the draft for another 2 years. Had the most rushing yards for a freshman since Clinton Portis. Shows good vision and keeps his legs moving in traffic. Doesn’t have elite breakaway speed, but if he keeps improving he could be a first rounder someday.
Sam Shields, WR (6-0 180 Soph) Excellent speed (Reported 4.4), a playmaker and deep threat. Still raw, but has a lot of potential. Had a 78-yard catch and run TD in the MPC Computers Bowl.
Chavez Grant, CB (5-11 175 Soph) He made an amazing, game sealing INT against Nevada. I don’t know much about him, but he had four starts this year as a true freshman, and DE Calais Campbell said, “He’ll be an All-American next year, you watch.”
Jon Beason, OLB (6-0 230 Sr) Led the team in tackles this year. Said he’d enter this year’s draft if he’s given a first round grade, but I think he’s more of a second rounder. Surprising power for his size, good athlete, with a big senior year he could move into the first round.
Reggie Youngblood, OT (6-5 310 Jr) He was a top recruit coming out of high school, but struggled at times this year. Has the size and athleticism to be a high pick, but is still raw.
Kyle Wright or Kirby Freeman, QB-It’s going to come down to two things next year. QB play and coaching. Both were pretty big recruits and have potential. Miami has the athletes to win a lot next season, and Randy Shannon impresses me as a coach, but QB play is going to be the difference between another bowl game against Nevada or one against USC.
*All classes (Fr, Soph, Jr, Sr) listed are for next year
Miami’s 1st Rounders
’01-’04: 4.8 per year
’05-’06: 1.0 per year