The Top 100 Hurricanes, (#60-51)

In our countdown to the top Hurricane player since 1980, we now hit the half-way mark. The players are getting better and better and the decisions get tougher and tougher. We'll have the next group posted later this week.

60- Brett Perriman (84-87): Perriman was the speedster of the famed 'Bomb Squad' which included Michael Irvin and Brian Blades. Perriman on many teams would have been the go-to guy, at UM, he was oftentimes the third option.

But he always seemed to have a knack of making gamebreaking plays, like his big punt return at Maryland in 85 or his game clinching bomb from Vinny Testarverde at 'the Swamp' vs. Florida in 86. Perriman would leave Miami as the fourth all-time punt returner with 580 career return yards.

59- Rod Carter (85-88): 'Hercules' as he was called, is one of the hardest hitters ever at UM. He was an imposing middle linebacker that was a physical force tackle-to-tackle in the inside running game.

Carter was an intimidator that always showed up to play. He ranks seventh on the all-time career tackles list with 361 stops.

58- Mike Rumph( 98-01): Rumph is quiet by nature, and he was rarely heard from on the field- which is a good thing for a cornerback. This tall, rangy corner started for three years after playing as a true freshman in 98.

Rumph, would be named second team All-Big East twice(99 and 01) and first team in 2000. Rumph was a physical corner who could jam receivers at the line and was top notch in his run support. He was a starter on a secondary last season that included three first round draft picks and generally considered the best unit ever to grace a college football field.

And don't forget it was Rumph that started the 'Immaculate Deflection' at Boston College that saved UM's championship season last year.

57- Richard Mercier (95-96, 98-99): Vince Lombardi would have loved this guy with the way Mercier pulled at guard. Mercier signaled a new breed of Cane offensive lineman that were athletic and flexible. He was a four year starter and tied Mike Sullivan for most career starts with 48.

But we really found out how valuable he was when he didn't play. In the 97 opener against Baylor he would blow out his knee and miss the rest of the season- and our offensive line would fall apart without him. But the former mogul skier would recover to earn first team All-Big East honors in 98 and 99.

In his senior year he would also be named first team All-American by the Sporting News.

56- Wesley Carroll (89-90): Carroll was the perfect 'tailback' in Dennis Ericksons spread offense- which was in reality, the inside slot receiver. Carroll had the physicality to play over the middle and the speed to go deep.

In 90, he had the second best receiving season ever by a Cane receiver with 61 catches for 952 yards- which also ranks second for a single season at UM. His 484 punt return yards puts him sixth on the all-time Miami list. In other words, he was a true playmaker.

And he shined in the big games, in the 90 Sugar Bowl vs Bama he would grab a touchdown from Craig Erickson and in his collegiate finale he would torch the Texas Longhorns for 8 catches for 135 yards and a pair of TD's.

55- Kevin Fagan (83-85): Maybe it's because a serious knee injury kept him from having a dominating NFL career, but for some reason Fagan doesn't seem to be mentioned enough when it comes to the pantheon of UM defensive lineman.

Fagan was an absolute rock that could play the run and pass from his end spot with equal effectiveness. And to say he was strong as a bull would be an understatement as he still holds this programs record for the highest bench press at 560 pounds.

54- Joaquin Gonzales (98-01): Gonzalez turned down several Ivy League academic scholarships to walk-on to UM in it's darkest day. His emergence as a player and personality help change the perception of the program. But he was more than a diplomat for the program, he was quite a player.

As a four year starter he would earn Big East Rookie-of-the-Year in 98, earn two All-Big East births in 2000 and 01 and be named to various All-America teams his senior year. To cap it off he would win the 'academic Heisman' by winning the 2001 Draddy Award.

Along with Bryant McKinnie, he would form the greatest bookend tackle combination UM has ever had.

53- Bubba McDowell (85-88): One of my personal favorites and one of the greatest role players ever at UM. McDowell could play all four of the secondary positions effectively and outside of one Tremain Mack, the greatest pure special teams player ever at Miami.

In the classic 87 game against FSU, he would make two of the most important plays of the season. First, he would weave his way through traffic to run down Sammie Smith after a long run in the second quarter, holding FSU to a field goal attempt. Then with the Canes clinging to a 26-25 lead in the last minute, it was McDowell who would break up the attempted 2-pt. conversion of FSU to seal the Miami victory.

52- George Mira Jr. (84-87): As consistent as they come, Mira, who was a three year starter was a tackling machine on the inside. He ranks second on the all-time tackles list with 490 stops, a mark that stood for over a decade until Dan Morgan came along.

In addition to leading the 85 and 86 teams in tackles, he would pace the 87 championship squad with 147 stops. Now that's being consistent and durable.

51- Brian Blades (84-87): Another member of 'the Bomb Squad' Blades was a productive possession receiver who also had the speed to get deep. He was as tough as any wideout who came through the program.

Bladed would finish tied for fifth in all-time touchdowns by a Cane receiver at 15 but what really stands out are his big plays. There was the deep ball for a touchdown he caught at Oklahoma from Vinny Testaverde in 85 to key Miami's big win at Norman, then there was his game-winning TD toss from Steve Walsh in the hard-hitting affair vs. South Carolina in 87 and then his key catch on 4th down against Oklahoma in the Orange Bowl in his last game in a Miami uniform.

Bottom line is, Blades made his catches count.

Part 1 - #101-91
Part 2 - #90-81
Part 3 - #80-71
Part 4 - #70-61
Part 5 - #60-51
Part 6 - #50-41
Part 7 - #40-31
Part 8 - #30-21
Part 9 - #20-10

Steve Kim is a rabid Hurricane fan that has been a loyal visitor of Grassy.com for the past four years. Kim, runs his own website MaxBoxing.com and is their lead columnist covering boxing on a daily basis.

For questions and comments email Steve at k9kim@yahoo.com.

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