Spring Preview: Cornerbacks

The Hurricanes will kick off spring football on Saturday, March 1. Lets take a closer look at the team coming back in 2014. This report focuses on the cornerback position.

Ladarius Gunter (6-2/200/R-Sr) -- A Junior College transfer before the 2012 season, Gunter has started 17 games over his first two seasons here so it turned out to be an excellent decision to give him a scholarship. He has 73 tackles and four interceptions since coming here and enters the spring as a huge factor at the position.

Tracy Howard (5-11/185/Jr) -- A former five-star recruit, Howard played in 12 games as a freshman and then started 12 games this past season. He finished the season with 35 tackles, four interceptions, and one touchdown as he emerged as one of the better cover guys in the ACC. Expectations will be very big for him going into the 2014 season.

Antonio Crawford (5-11/190/Jr) -- One of the fastest players on the team, Crawford has played in 25 games over his first two seasons and started a couple last season. His main role was as the team's nickle back last season. He finished last season with 32 tackles and one pick and should play an even bigger role this season.

Artie Burns (6-0/195/So) -- One of the state's top cornerback recruits two years ago, Burns made an immediate impact here. He played in 11 games and finished the season with 17 tackles, one pick, one caused fumble, and three pass breakups. He's a tremendous talent and was able to gain some experience at the end of last season. He will be counted upon to make a big impact for the Canes this fall.

Nate Dortch (5-11/175/R-So) -- After redshirting in 2012, Dortch played in six games last season but it was mostly on special teams. He battled a foot injury nearly the entire season. He has shown glimpses of excellence in practice and if healthy should have a chance to compete for major playing time in 2014.

Larry Hope (6-0/190/R-So) -- A lightly recruited player from Dade County, Hope has only played in a couple games in his first two seasons. He will likely become a factor on special teams before he does at the cornerback position.

Corn Elder (5-10/180/So) -- A tremendously productive running back in high school, Elder was quickly moved to cornerback once he got here. He showed flashes of excellence there and seems to have a very bright future at the position. He should be able to challenge for a starting job as early as the spring.

Ray Lewis (5-9/190/R-Fr) -- After coming here as a running back, Lewis was immediately moved to defensive back, where he could play cornerback or safety. The son of a former UM great, Lewis was unable to crack the rotation last season and will have a chance to starting in the spring.

Ryan Mayes (6-1/185/Fr) -- An incoming freshman, Mayes has experience playing both cornerback and safety. He has ideal size and good ball skills (having played a lot at WR in high school) and should have a chance to compete for playing time early on.

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