Tuesday, March 13, 2012
Biggest shoes to fill: Miami
By Matt Fortuna
Our series continues today with Miami, which is tasked with replacing the conference's second-leading rusher.
OUT: Lamar Miller. The running back had two years of eligibility remaining with the Hurricanes but will look to capitalize on a 1,272-yard, nine-touchdown campaign from 2011. Miller became the first Miami player to rush for more than 1,000 yards in a single season since Willis McGahee in 2002. He rushed for more than 100 yards in seven games and returned a kickoff for a touchdown one year earlier. His draft stock soared after he ran a 4.40 40 at the combine -- the fastest among running backs -- validating his decision to leave school early. He could be a late first-round draft pick.
IN: Mike James, Eduardo Clements, Duke Johnson, Danny Dillard. James is far and away the most accomplished of the backs on the college level, rushing for 719 yards and 11 scores on 157 carries during the past three seasons. He also has 37 receptions for 241 yards and two touchdowns. Clements' two-year career features 23 carries, 114 yards and a touchdown. Johnson, perhaps the best player in the state of Florida, headlines Al Golden's first full recruiting class. He rushed for 2,087 yards and led Norland High to a Class 5A state title this past season and will be tough to keep off the field his first year. The shifty Dillard, a lifelong Miami fan, was the first recruit to commit to the Hurricanes after the Nevin Shapiro news broke.