The Best on the Field

The 2008 Emerald Bowl had a lot of star power on display Saturday night in AT&T Park. There might not be another bowl game this season that will have more talented underclassman on the field. California and Miami dropped a few games they should have won this year, but with players like Jahvid Best, Jacory Harris, and Sean Spence, the talent in place for the Bears and ‘Canes to succeed in 2009…

Miami played many freshmen this year and a number of them had productive seasons. California, on the other hand, will have the most explosive back in the country next year in Jahvid Best. The Hurricane freshman almost pulled out the win; however, the "best" talent on the field was wearing Blue and Gold.

Down 14-0 to the Golden Bears, and in danger of letting the game get away, Miami quarterback Jacory Harris was able to march Miami down the field for a score. Harris was able to get his confidence going with a 41-yard strike to Leonard Hankerson. Later in the drive, Harris would throw his first touchdown pass to Laron Byrd.


Jacory Harris at the Emerald Bowl
Post Game press conference.
photo by CalSportsDigest.com
Throughout the entire game, Harris showed that he has the ability to buy extra time in the pocket with his feet. Furthermore, he is fast enough to pick up big chunks of yards with his feet.

Harris finished the game completing 25-of-41 passes for 194 yards with two touchdowns and one interception. Harris was clearly the best quarterback on the field, outplaying Cal senior Nate Longshore, despite playing injured. After his performance on Saturday, Harris should be the starter for Miami for the next three seasons. He has the potential to be the next great quarterback at the U.

The freshmen Hurricane running backs were very hard to notice because they were on the same field as Best. Graig Cooper and Lee Chambers had very solid games. Cooper finished with 63 rushing yards and Chambers rushed for 60 yards. Miami should have the best backfield in the ACC next season.

On the defensive side of the ball, freshmen linebacker Sean Spence is an unbelievable player. Spence laid some very hard hits and had a number of pass break ups. He has picked up numerous post-season awards, ACC Defensive Rookie of the Year, Sporting News all-freshmen team, and the Phil Steele all-freshmen team. Spence could be the best weakside linebacker in the country next season.

It has been a very long time since the Hurricanes played a team with a player that was by faster and more explosive than anyone on their roster was. Best left no doubt that he was far the "best" player on the field Saturday night.

The Hurricanes have a few holes to fill on their roster, but Miami is not lacking in the speed department. The moves that Best made in the open field made the Miami defenders look silly. Best averaged 9.3 yards per carry.

Heading into next year, he will be the best back in the Pac-10 and should be the leading candidate for the Heisman Trophy on the West Coast. Best set an Emerald Bowl rushing record with 186 yards on the ground. Expectations will be very high for the Bears next season and a lot of their success will depend on Best's production.


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