Miami All-2000s Team: Offense

Time flies when you're having fun, doesn't it? We're already half way through the first decade of the 21st century. And free from the shackles of probation, the Miami Hurricanes have compiled a mark of 64-10 since 2000, winning the 2001 National Championship and earning a berth in all four BCS bowl games--the only program in the country to have that distinction.

And the reason for this success is pretty simple- an unprecedented amount of talent that has come through Coral Gables. Since 2000, UM has had 49 players drafted into the NFL, 21 amazingly, in the first round, with 19 players gaining All-American honors.

It's safe to say that no program has had as much material on the gridiron as UM. At every position you see former Hurricanes thriving at the next level. It wouldn't be too much of an exaggeration to say that you could build an NFL expansion team compiled of nothing but Miami alum and you'd have a pretty competitive squad.

But who makes up the best-of-the-best for the first half of the 2000's?

QUARTERBACK - Ken Dorsey
It seems that Miami's offense still hasn't recovered from his departure under center. Dorsey was a 2002 consensus All-American, a two-time Heisman Trophy finalist, two-time Big East Offensive Player of the Year, three-time All Big East and the 2001 Maxwell Award winner.

He set eight career UM passing marks, including those for most passing yards(9,565 yards), touchdowns(86) and pass completions with 668. But one stat above all, tells you all you need to know about 'Kommander Ken', Miami was 38-2 during his tenure as the starting QB, which included a historic 34-game winning streak.

Dorsey thrived when the chips were down, leading UM to a late game winning touchdown drive against FSU in 2000( breaking a five game losing skid to the Noles), winning the MVP the 2001 Sugar Bowl versus the Florida Gators and then capping off a championship campaign by winning co-MVP honors in the 2002 Rose Bowl against Nebraska, where he threw for 362 yards and three touchdowns.

He may not have had prototypical size or the requisite tools NFL scouts look for, but nobody could lead- and win- like #11.

RUNNING BACK - Willis McGahee
He only got extensive playing time in one season, but it was perhaps the best individual year of any player that has came through the program. McGahee would set UM marks for single-season all-purpose yards with 2,108, rushing yards( 1,753), touchdowns with 28, and 10 games of over 100-yards on the ground. Overall, he would break eight Miami marks in 2002.

But numbers don't tell the whole story of the consensus All-American and Heisman Trophy finalist. It seemed that whenever the star-studded offense would bog down in 2002, it was McGahee to the rescue. Whether it was his video-game like plays against Boston College, his late first-half heroics against Pittsburgh, the screen against FSU or his six touchdowns versus Virginia Tech, McGahee always made the big plays at the most crucial times.

Size, speed, and power, he was the complete package.

RUNNING BACK - Clinton Portis
Certain guys just have a knack for making plays, Portis is one of those rare talents that somehow, someway, always kept the chains moving in a rapid manner.

What is often overlooked in the 2001 title season is his 1,200 rushing yards and his eight 100-plus yard efforts on the ground. And when that sterling team had it's back to the wall in close games against BC and VaTech that year, it was the legs of Portis that carried UM home to close victories with key first down runs.

The year before, in the Canes only loss, he nearly single-handedly bailed UM out in Seattle against the Washington Huskies with 91 yards rushing( on just six carries) and a 59-yard catch-and-run. In the 2001 Sugar Bowl versus Florida, the product of Gainseville would come off the bench and rush for 94 yards in place of an injured James Jackson.

HONORABLE MENTION - Frank Gore


WIDE RECEIVER - Santana Moss
He said himself after the pulsating win over the Noles in 2000," Big time players, make big time plays, in big time games." And nobody personified that better than this comet from Carol City.

He is the very definition of 'playmaker'. Despite his diminutive stature, nobody went after the rock like Santana. Blessed with sprinters speed( don't forget he originally came to UM on a track scholie) he could run routes so precise you thought he had a GPS system.

He holds UM records for most receiving yards( 2,546), all-purpose yards( 4,402), punt return yards( 1,196) and most punt returns to the paint, with six. He also ranks third in career receptions with 143 grabs.

Moss, a 2000 All-American, would finish seventh in the Heisman balloting and earn 2000 Big East Offensive and Special Teams Player of the Year honors.

WIDE RECEIVER - Andre Johnson
Quite simply, a physical specimen. At 6'3, 220 pounds, and the explosion of a rocket, he is what NFL G.M.'s look for in wide receivers, nowadays.

Johnson, would lead the 2001 squad with 685 yards and ten TD's through the air. He capped of his first season as a starter by winning co-MVP honors with Dorsey with seven receptions for 199 yards and two scores against the Nebraska Cornhuskers, to help lead UM to it's fifth national title.

He was even better the next year, as he would put up Miami's second 1,000 yard receiving campaign with 1,092 yards, joining Eddie Brown in that very elite crew.

He finished his UM career with 92 career catches and 1,831 catches. His twenty touchdowns, ties for third all-time at UM.

WIDE RECEIVER - Reggie Wayne
Yeah, I admit, by putting on three receivers I'm hedging like a politician. But there's no way I'm not putting Reggie on here. Because while he may not have had the physical attributes of Johnson or the wheels of Moss, Wayne was as good a technician as you'll ever see playing this position.

He was a smooth route runner that could adjust on the fly, create separation and had hands that served as suction cups, it seemed. To top it off, he wasn't afraid to do the dirty work inside the hash-marks, either.

During the 2000 revival season, Wayne would have 43 catches for 755 yards and 10 scores. His consistent work has him on top of the leader board for receptions( 173) and receiving yards( 2,510) in UM history.

HONORABLE MENTION: Roscoe Parrish, Sinorice Moss, Andre King

TIGHT END - Kellen Winslow II:
Yeah, this pick here of everyones favorite 'Soldier' may be a tad controversial but he did wind up his UM career as the programs all-time leader in catches by a tight end with 119 grabs( with a team leading 60 in 2003, where he would win the Mackey Award as the countries finest tight end.)

While he may have been a polarizing figure even to die-hard Miami fans, there is no denying his all-out, never-say-die effort. Who can forget his heroics in the 2003 Fiesta Bowl, where he rang up 11 catches for 122 yards and a touchdown against the Ohio St. Buckeyes.

If not for a certain late flag, Winslow's effort would be the stuff of legend.

HONORABLE MENTION - Jeremy Shockey
I'd have no arguments with anyone who put him in Winslow's place. A 2001 All-American according to CNNSI.com, and a finalist for the Mackey Award, Shockey was the very definition of clutch. Scoring the game winning touchdown against FSU in 2000( his introduction to the college football landscape) and hitting pay dirt in both the 2001 Sugar Bowl and the 2002 Rose Bowl.

Shockey, who is as fiery and intense as they come, led the 2001 championship team in receptions with 40.

OFFFENSIVE TACKLE - Bryant McKinnie
Perhaps the most dominant offensive lineman this program has ever seen. He stamped himself as a blue-chipper by blanking FSU rush specialist Jamal Reynolds in 2000 and then secured even higher status by nullifying pass-rushing demon Dwight Freeney the next year in the Syracuse showdown, where UM manhandled the Orangemen by a score of 59-7.

The Secret Service couldn't have provided more protection for Dorsey's blindside than Mt. McKinnie, who allowed no sacks during his days in the orange-and-green.

For his efforts, McKinnie was named the 2001 National Player of the Year by CNNSI.com and the College Football Offensive Player of the Year by the Football News.

OFFENSIVE GUARD - Martin Bibla
While guys like McKinnie may have grabbed all the headlines, Bibla was a mainstay of an impenetrable unit that is considered among the all-time great walls in college football history.

Bibla, who was a hard-nosed scrapper that got after it on every play, would start 36 games over his UM career, earning All-Big East honors in 2001.

CENTER - Brett Romberg
Not only was this Canadian good for a quote, but he provided solid play on the interior line for the better part of three seasons beginning in 2000.

He would start 37 consecutive games as a Hurricane, earning All-Big East distinction in 2001 and 2002, winning the Rimington Award( as college footballs best center) his senior year.

OFFENSIVE GUARD - Chris Myers
Versatility and athletic ability were the trademarks of Myers, who made 38 career starts.

Myers was a good athlete, who with his quick feet could trap and pull effectively and get out on screen passes. But what made him even more valuable was that he was also an effective center, as he took over for an injured Joel Rodriguez in 2003 and anchored the line. And when the 2004 line was ravaged by injuries, he even saw action as a right-tackle late in the year.

In 2003, he would allow just one sack, while leading the way for Jarrett Payton's breakthrough campaign.

OFFENSIVE TACKLE - Joaquin Gonzalez
This guy could be the greatest Hurricane walk-on, ever. Spurning the Ivy League, he would come into the program as an undersized project. He would leave Miami, comprising one-half of the best bookend tandem ever at UM, alongside McKinnie.

In many ways his growth mirrored the development of the rebuilding Canes of the late 90's and early 2000's. The winner of the 1998 Big East Offensive Rookie of the Year, Gonzalez would then hold down the right-tackle spot on an offensive line that gave up just five sacks in over 650 passing attempts in 2000 and 2001.

A two-time All-American on the field, he would also win the Draddy Award- aka, 'the Academic Heisman'- for his work in the classroom.

HONORABLE MENTION: Vernon Carey, Eric Winston

KICKER - Todd Sievers
The strong legged Iowan had a productive run as Miami's starting place-kicker from 2000-2002. He was named All-American by CNNSI.com in 2001, while leading the nation and Big East in field goals per game (1.9 average).

His four field goals provided all of the offensive points scored by the Hurricanes in their thrilling 18-7 win at BC. His four three-pointers in Blacksburg in the season finale were instrumental in Miami's Rose Bowl clinching win against the Hokies in that seasons finale. His 119 kicking points that year were fourth in the nation and set a UM seasonal mark.

For his career he would hit 45 of 65 field goal attempts and amass 310 points, second all-time only to Carlos Huerta.

KICK RETURNER - Devin Hester
Nobody it seemed could move a crowd like Hester, who could accelerate to top speed like a Porsche through the Autobahn.

In 2004, he would earn All-American efforts for his kick return skills. In 15 returns, he would total 389 yards( an average of 25.9 yards) for four touchdowns.

It didn't take long for opposing coaches to just stop kicking to Hester altogether.

Steve Kim can be reached at k9kim@yahoo.com

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