The Top 100 Hurricanes, (#30-21)

With the end fast approaching, we are now in the 20's. We'll have the entire countdown complete by the end of the week leading into the opener against Florida A & M. Who is going to be #1? Stay tunded and find out soon! K.C. Jones (left) is a warrior from the mid 90's that checks in at number 29 on the all-time list.

30- Lamar Thomas (89-92): Yes, his career ended in embarrassment with the 'Teague Takeaway' during the 93 Sugar Bowl against Alabama, but you can't take away the bushel-full of big plays he made during his Miami career.

While leading 'the Ruthless Posse' in the early 90's, he is number two on Miami's all-time career reception list with 144 catches, fourth in yardage with 2,271 and second in touchdown grabs with 23.

Thomas, may have been built like a stick, but he had the heart of a racehorse. Who can forget him cramping up repeatedly against FSU in 92, only to beat Clifton Abraham on a deep fade, which put Miami up late against the Noles during Wide Right II. Or his big touchdown against Penn St. in 91 or his circus grab early in the 92 Orange Bowl against Nebraska.

Also, Thomas was a great entertainer, who can forget his ripping off his lid after big plays- a trend that he started and one that the NCAA eventually banned. My personal favorite was his stopping on a dime, right on the goal line against Arizona in 91. With Thomas, the mustard was always off the hotdog- as the late, great Chick Hearn would say.

29- KC Jones (93-96): One of the few( if any) decent lineman that were recruited during the Dennis Erickson era. And while our offensive lines floundered in the mid-90's, Jones was a bedrock of consistency in the middle.

He may have been a bit undersized, but he was an absolute sparkplug, that came off the ball quickly and played with great leverage and technique. Jones, was a four year starter, that was a three time All-Big East selection and he would cap his UM career by being named a semi-finalist for the Outland Award and a 96 first team All-American.

28- Daniel Stubbs (84-87): As pure a pass rusher as UM has ever seen. This converted linebacker would leave Coral Gables as the all-time sacker at UM with 39.5 quarterback sacks. He also holds the seasonal mark with 17.5 in 86.

Stubbs was an intense competitor that played all the way to the end of the whistle- and beyond. The bottom line is, Stubbs brought the heat. He would end his career by being named All-American in 87 and a finalist for the Outland Award.

Interestingly enough, his biggest play at UM came as a pass defender as he would pick off a screen pass against FSU that keyed UM's thrilling 26-25 comeback win versus the Noles at Doak Walker in 87.

27- Phillip Buchanon (99-01): Ok, so what was Buchanon better at, Blanketing recievers or returning kicks? It's tough to say since he was so proficient at both.

As a corner he was as smooth as silk with swivel hips and 4.3 speed that allowed him to shadow recievers at will. Just watch last years game against FSU- where he shut down Javon Walker and had two picks- to see why many consider him the best corner to ever play at Miami.

But as a punt returner he was equally good. So good that he was named a CBS Sportsline All-American, ABC Sportsline All-American, AP second team All-American, Big East Special Teams Player of the Year and a Mosi Tatupu Finalist.

Since his true freshman year in 99, you just knew you were looking at something special.

26- Darrin Smith (89-92): Smith, who was nicknamed 'the Flash' for his speed and quickness, was part of the famed 'Bermuda Triangle linebacking corps of the early 90s.

With his outstanding athletic ability, Smith was quite possibly the most well-rounded outside linebacker UM has ever seen. Not only was he solid against the run but he was so good in coverage that he was never pulled in favor of an extra defensive back in passing situations.

Smith was named an All-American after the 91 and 92 campaigns and he was named the co-Big East Defensive Player of the Year during his final year at UM. He would also finish fifth for career tackles with 401.

25- Reggie Wayne (97-00): Smooth as butter, with hands like glue, Wayne was a four year starter during his tenure at Miami.

This Louisiana native was not only swift, but he was more than willing to go over the middle and dangerous after the catch. His 80 yard touchdown catch-and-run versus Virginia Tech in 98 is one of the most memorable in Hurricane history.

Despite a late 98 knee injury, Wayne still finished tops for career receptions at Miami with 193 grabs, second in yardage with 2,510 and his 20 touchdown catches ranks third. He also holds the UM freshman mark with 48 receptions. Along with Santana Moss, Wayne comprised one of the great recieving duo's in Miami lore.

24- Fred Marion (78-81): Before there was an Ed Reed, there was a Daryl Williams and then before him, Bennie Blades, but it was Marion that started the great run of safeties at Miami.

Marion, a first team All-American in 81, holds the UM mark for most assits by a safety with 152 and when he left UM he was the all-time leader in interceptions with 16, including seven in 1980.

His stellar play in the secondary was a strong indication of the type of athletes that were being brought into a once struggling program.

23- Cortez Kennedy (88-89): If 'Tez' would have had one more good year, he would be even higher on the list. Of course some would question why one year should get anyone this high. But his 89 season was one for the ages. From a fat and out of shape backup, he became one of the best players in the nation and the third overall pick in the NFL draft.

During the 89 championship run, he and Russell Maryland anchored a fierce defense that allowed only 117 points throughout the season.

Kennedy was not only stout against the run but he also had a quick first step that allowed him to collapse the pocket. His defining game that year would come against the top rated Irish of Notre Dame. Kennedy would time and time again clog the running lanes to hold down the prolific Irish running game in the Canes decisive 27-10 win.

22- Michael Barrow (89-92): Has any player in Miami history made as many big plays in one season as 'Bam Bam' did in 92? From his beheading of Tamarick Vanover or his huge fourth down stop, deep in Miami territory against Richie Anderson and Penn St., Barrow was the single most valuable player on the Canes 11-1 season of 92.

While he was very good in previous years, his 92 was a masterpiece. He would be named first team All-American, Big East Player of the Year, runner-up for the Butkus Award and he lead the team with 136 tackles.

Barrow, was the centerpiece of 'the Bermuda Triangle' and like Darrin Smith and Jessie Armstead, he was fast, feisty and hard-hitting. Their play changed the way linebackers were being recruited in the early 90's. Quickness and speed were now placed at a premium.

21- Melvin Bratton (84-87): One of the greatest pure athletes ever to play at Miami. He was an 'Air Jordan' while flying through the air, with the footwork of Fred Astaire. Bratton could do it all, run, catch, and block. He was the complete package and arguably the best combo runner/receiver Miami has ever had.

His performance against Boston College in 84 was overshadowed by a certain 'Hail Flutie' but it shouldn't be forgotten as he would score four touchdowns in all sorts of ways. Bratton's 32 career scores is tied for third at UM.

But in big games is where Bratton excelled. In the 87 Fiesta Bowl against Penn St he would tally nine receptions out of the backfield. And then in his final game at UM against Oklahoma in the 88 Orange Bowl he would open the scoring with a 30 yard touchdown pass from Steve Walsh. He would total nine catches for 102 yards to help lead Miami to the 87 National Title.

Although his career would end in tragedy, it's impossible to forget what he had done the previous four years.

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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