Top Ten Greatest Miami Hurricanes
Who are the best Miami Hurricanes players of the Athlon era?
By: Braden Gall | 5/10/11, 7:55 AM EDT
10. Ray Lewis, LB, 1993-951 of 11
As a freshman All-American, Lewis started the final five games of the season finishing with 81 tackles and two sacks. As only a sophomore, Lewis garnered All-America and All-Big East honors after 153 tackles on the nation’s No. 1 defense. Lewis finished his junior season as the Butkus runner-up after 160 tackles – only four short of the single-season school record of 164. Despite forgoing his final year, Lewis finished fifth all-time in tackles and was the 26th overall pick in the 1996 draft. Lewis’ pro career speaks for itself as the Ravens linebacker is arguably the best defender of the last 20 years.
9. Steve Walsh, QB, 1986-882 of 11
After a redshirt season, as well as a season spent watching Vinny Testaverde from the bench, Walsh posted a ridiculous 23-1 record in his two years starting. As a sophomore, Walsh led the Canes to the 1987 National Championship. The following season, Walsh finished fourth in the Heisman voting. He left school with a record 49 touchdown passes. He finished with 5,364 career passing yards before he declared early for the 1989 NFL supplemental draft.
8. Bryant McKinnie, OL, 2000-013 of 11
The two-year starter at left tackle for The U, McKinnie was one of the most dominant blockers in college football history. Helping Miami to a National Championship in 2001, McKinnie did not allow a sack during the his entire career in Coral Gables. The two-time All-American won the 2001 Outland Trophy as the nation’s best lineman and finished eighth in the Heisman voting. He was also named the CNN/SI Player of the Year. He was the seventh overall pick by the Vikings in the 2002 NFL Draft.
7. Vinny Testaverde, QB, 1982-864 of 11
Testaverde accomplished much in his two-year starting career at Miami. After throwing for 3,238 yards, 21 touchdowns and 15 interceptions in 1985, Testaverde became one of the NCAA’s best by leading his team to an unbeaten regular season and 11-0 record and winning the 1986 Heisman Trophy. He set a Miami record (broken by Steve Walsh two years later) for career TD passes with 48 after his 29-TD, 9-INT Heisman season. Testaverde also claimed the Davey O’Brien, Walter Camp and Maxwell Awards. Unfortunately, five of his nine interceptions took place in the 1986 National Championship 14-10 loss to Penn State in the Fiesta Bowl.
6. Bernie Kosar, QB, 1982-845 of 11
After redshirting in 1982, Kosar started all 12 games as a sophomore, completing 61.5% of his passes for 2,328 yards and 15 TDs. The Hurricanes finished 11-1 in 1983 giving the Canes a shot at the National Championship against Nebraska. Kosar passed for 300 yards and two scores in the 31-30 win over the Huskers. It was the first National Championship for Miami. In 1984, Kosar set single-season records with 3,642 yards and 25 touchdowns, finishing fourth in the Heisman voting. After some draft and media finagling, the Cleveland Browns drafted the Ohio native in the 1985 Supplemental NFL Draft.
5. Ed Reed, S, 1998-016 of 11
A three-time consensus All-American, Reed was a cornerstone defender for the 2001 National Championship Miami team. He led the nation in interceptions that year with nine – returning three of the them for touchdowns. Reed was a finalist for the Jim Thorpe Award, a semifinalist for the Nagurski Trophy and was Big East Co-Defensive Player of the Year. Reed holds the school record for career INTs with 21, career INT return yards with 389 and interceptions returned for a touchdown with five. Reed was also a Big East Champion on the Track and Field team excelling at the javelin. He was the 24th overall pick in the 2002 NFL Draft.
4. Jerome Brown, DT, 1983-867 of 11
Brown made an instant impact on the field, playing as a freshman on the 1983 National Championship team. Three years later, back in the national title spotlight, Brown staged a walk-out at the 1986 National Championship dinner after the Nittany Lions mocked Miami head coach Jimmy Johnson. Of course, PSU went on to win the National Championship 14-10. Brown finished his career with 21 sacks, 19 tackles for a loss, five forced fumbles and four fumbles recovered. He was a finalist for the Outland Trophy and Lombardi Award. Brown was the ninth overall pick in the 1987 NFL Draft by the Eagles.
3. Warren Sapp, DT, 1992-948 of 11
Sapp was a talented enough prep athlete to excel at linebacker, tight end, kicker and punter at Apopka High. After converting full-time to defensive line, the rest was history. His extraordinary career at Miami culminated with a Nagurski Trophy for best defensive player and Lombardi Award for best lineman or linebacker. Sapp was a finalist for the Outland Trophy in 1994 as well. Sapp was a two-time All-American, including a consensus voting in 1994. He was the Football Writers Association of America Defensive Player of the Year nationally while also earning Big East Defensive Player of the Year honors. One of the single most dominant NFL forces of the last two decades, Sapp was selected as the 12th pick in the first round of the 1995 NFL Draft by the Buccaneers.
2. Michael Irvin, WR, 1985-879 of 11
The 15th of 17 children, the “Playmaker” got to Miami through famed powerhouse St. Thomas Aquinas in Ft. Lauderdale, Fla. While at The U, Irvin set school records for receptions with 143, receiving yards with 2,423 and touchdown catches with 26 (some of which were broken later). A 73-yard fourth-quarter touchdown from Steve Walsh in the 1987 win over Florida State helped propel the Canes into the National Championship game. Irvin helped Miami topple No. 1-rated Oklahoma for the 1987 National Title. Irvin, as well known for his hot-dogging and brash nature as his TD catches, was taken with the 11th overall pick in the 1988 NFL Draft by the Dallas Cowboys.
1. Ted Hendricks, DE, 1966-6810 of 11
Born in Guatemala, the 6’7” defensive end went on to become one of the greatest defensive players in the history of college football, not just Miami football. A two-time All-American in 1967 and 1968, Hendricks finished fifth in the Heisman voting in 1968. Hendricks set a school record for tackles by a lineman with 227. “The Mad Stork” also recovered a Miami-record 12 fumbles in his career. Hendricks was inducted into the NCAA and NFL Hall of Fame. The Ted Hendricks Award, which began in 2002, is given annually to college football’s best defensive end. Some of the winners include Brian Orakpo, Chris Long, LaMarr Woodley, Terrell Suggs and David Pollack. Hendricks was selected in the second round of the 1969 NFL Draft by the Baltimore Colts.
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