At 6-foot-3 and 215 pounds, Armstrong had offers to play anywhere he wanted to in college football. He chose Miami, immediately putting thoughts into the heads of Miami fans that he could be the next Sean Taylor.
It hasn't exactly happened that way. He played quite a bit as a true freshman in 2009, logging 21 tackles. He became a starter as a sophomore in 2010 and really started to emerge as a playmaker, picking off three passes and making 79 total stops. 2011 was expected to be a banner junior season for the talented safety.
Unfortunately for Miami, it didn't happen. Not even close. In fact, Armstrong was suspended for the first four games of the season due to his involvement with Nevin Shapiro. His production numbers were cut in half from the previous season and he never even became a full-time starter in Mark D'Onofrio's defense.
Rumors started swirling after the season that Armstrong may try to enter the NFL Draft. Fans often talked about how Armstrong had been a disappointment after coming here as a five-star recruit.
Then everything changed. Head coach Al Golden called Armstrong one of the team's best workers during the offseason conditioning program. Things started to look up for the rising senior and he's carried that momentum into the first couple weeks of spring football.
"He's carried it in," Golden said. "He's done a good job. He's leading. He's practicing at a higher tempo."
Golden says the coaches have seen a completely different Ray Ray Armstrong compared to the one they saw in 2011.
"It's apples to oranges compared to this time last year, even when he came back, in the tempo and intensity that he's practicing at," he said.
Golden believes Armstrong can have a huge senior season that could have a major impact on Miami's defensive success in 2012.
"Ray's got limitless potential," he said. "If he just keeps staying with the process, being consistent, being the same guy, staying in excellent condition, and increasing his football knowledge (he'll do well). Hopefully he'll continue to do that – one day at a time."