Quarterbacks and Running Backs get all of the glory, but back when Miami was the cat’s meow they had top Linebackers.
There was the period in which they had the Bermuda Triangle at Linebacker which included Michael Barrow, Jessie Armstead and Darrin Smith. I wrote about them here; Bermuda Triangle
Then, there was all time great Ray Lewis and some of the guys that surrounded him. Rohan Marley
It’s always cool when your program is linked with Reggae star Bob Marley.
Any talk of great Miami football teams must contain the 2001 version. That team was loaded across the board and the starting Linebackers were no different. Jonathan Vilma was the headliner, but DJ Williams was the top Linebacker recruit in the nation and Chris Campbell from Texas was good as well. Tragically, Campbell was killed in an automobile accident in 2002.
If Miami under Mark Richt is going to be great like the older Miami teams, then they are going to
need some upper echelon Linebackers.
That’s where true freshmen Shaquille Quarterman and Michael Pinckney come in. The Hurricanes have had some talent on some average to bad teams lately, but it’s been a while since they had great Linebackers.
The 2016 Miami recruiting class is very solid with their top player being one of those glamour boys, Quarterback Jack Allison from Palmetto, Florida.
Wide Receiver Sam Bruce is their next highest rated guy and he will play as a true freshman. Bruce is short, but if you watched any of his film, or the high school All Star games you might have noticed that he can catch anything near him.
Bruce is another in a long line of talent from Fort Lauderdale Saint Thomas Aquinas High School and he signed with Miami along with talented teammate Michael Irvin Jr. You may have heard of his dad.
Ahmmon Richards was a 4 star Wide Receiver from Wellington, Florida and he is moving up the depth charts along with Sam Bruce.
Shaquille Quarterman was the third highest rated Inside Linebacker in the nation in ESPN’s rankings behind only Ben Davis, and Tre Lamar. Davis signed with Alabama, of course, and Lamar with the Clemson Tigers.
Quarterman is about 6-1, 240 and in the Miami Spring Game he was already taking over the Middle Linebacker position. He made tackles from sideline to sideline and looked a little bit like a young
Ray Lewis out there.
He is slated to start for the Hurricanes and if injury free, he will be a 3 year starter for Miami before leaving for the NFL.
For us that won’t be privileged to attend practices, all we have seen of Quarterman is high school football and the Spring Game. But, he looks the part of an outstanding Middle Linebacker. He looks fast, strong and to have the instincts that a Middle Linebacker needs to sniff out the direction of a play faster than the average player. He is also very physical when he meets up with the ball carrier. He has all of the tools to become the best Linebacker that the Hurricanes have seen in a while.
As fun as it is to keep up with college football recruiting, none of it really matters when the player puts on the pads at the college that he chose. But, even so, the rankings bring on expectations from the fan base and from others. Looking at Shaquille Quarterman and the fact that he is already starting for the Miami Hurricanes going into his first college game makes me wonder how anyone can say that recruiting doesn’t matter.
Black Lives Matter. Recruiting talent matters.
There won’t be a lot of people disappointed with how Shaquille Quarterman turns out. On the other hand, people should not be all that surprised that he is currently a starter. Maybe they should be somewhat surprised, but that should be the case any time a true freshman can come in and be such a difference maker from day one.
Michael Pinckney is a different case. Pinckney was way down the list of Miami top recruits and only a 3 star. Quarterman is from Orange Park, Florida which is basically a suburb of Jacksonville and
Pinckney is from the famous Jacksonville Raines High School that puts out a ton of talent. Both of these guys were signed by the Hurricanes from the Florida Gators own backyard.
The 6-1, 220 Pinckney was rated as the 20th best Inside Linebacker, again by ESPN.
Pinckney should be the starter at Weakside Linebacker when the Hurricanes open their season against Florida A%M.
Pinckney should be flying around making plays all over the field. He is a bit undersized at the moment, but he will bulk up in a college weight program.
He is not expected to start, but Miami also signed 4 star Linebacker Zach McCloud from Lantana, Florida. If he moves into the lineup down the road, this group of Linebackers could begin to compare to previous Miami Linebackers.
I am anxious to get the season going to see these two promising freshmen against different colored uniforms.
Miami fans are probably really excited to have Brad Kaaya back and that’s totally understandable. But, I am more excited about these two young Linebackers.