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The Mt. Rushmore of Miami football

2/20/2009

Posted by ESPN.com's Heather Dinich

Impossible.

It's a good thing Miami was in the second batch, because this was another one that required some thought. As in, sleep on it. Didn't work. So I turn to you for advice ...

Marc in Boston wrote: For the Mighty Canes of Miami, I submit that the four individuals most deservng of having their mugs chiseled into a mountain are 1) Howard Schnellenberger, 2) Vinny Testaverde, 3) Ken Dorsey, and 4) Michael Irven. But of course choosing four individuals for Mount Canemore is pretty difficult and arbitrary. There have been so many dominant players, and how do we go about judging them? Gino Toretta won a Heisman and proceeded to stink it up in the NFL. Should that matter? Ken Dorsey was the undisputed leader or a team that won a title and might have been the most talented team in college football for three straight seasons, but he certainly was not even one of the 5 or 10 best players on his own college team. God I love the U...

Chris in Port Saint Lucie, Fla., wrote (again): OK so here is my revised, updated, finalized list. After much thought, here it goes for the mighty U (in no particular order): 1. Edgerrin James 2. Ray Lewis 3. Ted Hendricks 4. Michael Irvin While this is hard to do (and there are no wrong answers - unless Kyle Wright, Kirby Freeman, or Larry Coker are on the list), this is the list for the U. All are (or soon to be) NFL HOFers, BTW.

David in Fort Myers, Fla., wrote: Cant wait to see the UM Rushmore. I know FSU thinks they have a whole bunch of players....whatever. The Canes list of possible players puts the Noles to shame. Heres a start, in no particular order: Howard Shnellenberger, Vinny Testaverde, Edgerinn James, Ray Lewis, Reggie Wayne, Dan Morgan, Russel Maryland, Michael Barrow, Clinton Portis, Ken Dorsey, Jeremy Shockey, Kellen Winslow, Ed Reed, Sean Taylor, Andre Johnson, Dennis Erickson, Butch Davis, Gino Toretta, Willis Mcgahee.... and I know ive been a bit specific to the post-Shnell era and there are others that Im forgetting. Still, a pretty impressive list....Booya. Much love HD 

Jonathan in Boynton Beach wrote: So I'm all about the U. I know we're going through tough times but randy Shannon's doing his thing. Thank God all that Bryce Brown mess is over, I can't stand his "ME, ME, ME" attitude. But anyway heres my Mt. Rushmore of Miami: If all goes well and Randy Shannon brings the U their "swagger" back then im gonna start off with 1. Randy Shannon 2. Vinny Testaverde 3. Ed Reed 4. Sean Taylor (R.I.P.) Let me know what you think!

Here's the verdict U have been waiting for:

Howard Schnellenberger -- As Miami's eighth head coach, Schnellenberger installed a pro-style passing attack, and in his second season, the Hurricanes went 8-3 and were invited to the Peach Bowl. A 20-10 win over Virginia Tech for the nine-win season was considered by many as a turning point in the program. By Schnellenberger's fifth and final season in 1983, Miami was in the national championship. Led by Bernie Kosar, the Canes upset Nebraska 31-30 in the 50th Orange Bowl for an 11-1 season and a No. 1 spot in the polls. It was the beginning of Miami's reign as a national power.

Michael Irvin -- The leader of Miami's 1987 national championship team, Irvin had a record-setting career and still holds the mark for the most touchdown passes caught (26). In three seasons (1985-87), Irvin had 2,423 receiving yards and 143 receptions. His 73-yard touchdown reception against FSU in 1987 led the Canes to a 26-25 win en route to the national title. He went to a Hall of Fame career in the NFL as a three-time Super Bowl champion.

Vinny Testaverde -- He won the Heisman Trophy, the Maxwell Award, the Davey O'Brien Award, and was the Walter Camp Player of the Year. What's left to win? As a starter, Testaverde led Miami to a 21-1 regular-season record. He ranks third in all-time passing yardage (6,058), and is tied with Steve Walsh for second in touchdown passes thrown (48). His most memorable performance came in Miami's 28-16 win over No. 1 Oklahoma in the 1986 Orange Bowl when he completed 75 percent of his passes (21 of 28) for 261 yards and four touchdowns.

Ken Dorsey -- The deciding factor in the final pick was Dorsey's career record as a starting quarterback -- an astounding 38-2, including the 2001 national championship. Dorsey, the winningest quarterback in Miami history, set eight school career records, including total offense, passing yards, passing touchdowns, completions and attempts. He completed 222 of 393 passes for 3,369 yards and 28 touchdowns with 12 interceptions in 2002.