Denzel Perryman (So) -- Miami's most consistent linebacker this season, Perryman missed three games due to injury but still led the linebackers with 64 tackles, six for loss, a caused fumble, and an interception.
Eddie Johnson (R-Fr) -- After redshirting in 2011, Johnson began the season buried on the depth chart. It didn't take him long to make a big impact, however. He was often Miami's best defensive player. Despite being disciplined in two of the final three games of the season, Johnson still finished with 59 tackles, seven for loss, three caused fumble, and one interception. If he can stay focused for 2013, he has a chance to be a real difference maker.
Gionni Paul (So) -- Despite only playing in nine games this season, Paul showed off a tremendous nose for the football. He made 61 tackles, three for loss, and caused a fumble. He averaged double-digit tackles in the games he started.
Jimmy Gaines (Jr) -- A part-time starter in each of his first two seasons here, Gaines turned in his best season in 2012. He played in 11 games, starting several of them, and finished the season with 57 tackles, three for loss, and picked off two passes.
Tyrone Cornileus (Jr) -- After starting his career at safety, Cornileus was moved to linebacker last season and then became a part-time starter this season. He played in all 12 games and recorded 31 tackles.
Thurston Armbrister (So) -- A late addition to Miami's recruiting class last year, Armbrister saw limited reps at safety in 2011 before switching to linebacker in the spring. He played in all 12 games, started some of them, and finished the season with 40 tackles.
Raphael Kirby (Fr) -- The most promising of the three true freshmen this season, Kirby missed the first five games of the season with an injury. He played the final seven and finished with 16 tackles.
Ramon Buchanan (Sr) -- After ending last season on a positive note, Buchanan entered the 2012 season with high expectations. Unfortunately, his season ended in week two with an injury. He had 10 tackles in those games. His career at Miami is now over.
Gabe Terry (Fr) -- He played in seven games and recorded five tackles and blocked a punt.
Jawand Blue (Fr) -- Redshirted.
2012 Recap: Injuries really hurt this group this season. Buchanan was headed toward a possible All-ACC type season before his injury. Perryman missed three games and was hobbled in a few others. Kirby had a chance to make a big splash in his first year but missed half the year with an injury. Throw in the suspensions for Johnson, and it just wasn't a good year to see consistency from this group. Still, the players are there and everyone who played down the stretch will return in 2013. It's an undersized, yet talented, group that always seems to find ways to make plays.
Looking ahead to 2013: There are several potential starters for next season. Perryman is the only legitimate returning starter in the entire group. If he stays healthy, he should emerge as one of the league's best. Paul and Johnson seem most likely to be the next two players in line. However, there's decent depth here and the Canes will add another quality player (2013 signee Alex Figueroa) in time for spring football.