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Do the Miami Hurricanes Have a Championship Defense?

Ari Russell

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(Photo by Richard C. Lewis/Icon Sportswire)

Even though Spring practice is in it’s first week for the Miami Hurricanes a lot of excitement has been surrounding this program. It hasn’t been this way for well over a decade at this point, so for a generation of Hurricane fans this seems like an aberration. What it really is a sign of is the culture of the program has shifted, away from mediocrity and moving into the conversation of a legit contender, at least as far as the ACC is concerned.

One of the major reasons for the optimism is the defense, which a year ago was one of the best units in the country, despite having a front seven which was wet behind the ears. This includes all three linebacker positions being occupied by freshman. Well everyone has a year under their belt and are even going to be even more locked into Manny Diaz’s aggressive system.

One of the reasons for the spike in optimism is the utter depth in the front seven. At tackle they will have Anthony Moten, Kendrick Norton, Richard McIntosh, Pat Bethel and Gerald Willis. They will also add John Ford, who’s a newcomer and two guys who didn’t get any burn last year but have promise in Tyeric Martin and Ryan Fines.

The Defensive End is no different with Chad Thomas, Joe Jackson, Demetrius Jackson, Trent Harris, Pat Bethel (will play both DT and DE) and Scott Patchan. They also will add Deonte Johnson and Jon Garvin to that mix. These aren’t just guys you have out there because of need. You will have legit competitions for starting roles. Also with the aggressive nature of the Diaz defense, having a lot of bodies is going to pay dividends come the middle of the season.

At linebacker, they may even have more talent. With the freshman trio of last year coming into their sophomore campaigns, Shaq Quarterman, Zach McCloud and Michael Pinckney can easily be considered the top unit not only in the ACC but in the entire country. They are coming back this year, more in tune with the defense, in great shape and even bigger than before. That’s scary. They have some newcomers as well that are going to be expected to play right away such as Waynmon Sneed, De’Andre Wilder and Jaime Gordinier. All of which have potential out the roof, and will only get better competing with the first team unit.

Perhaps the weakest link to their defense is the defensive back field. They lost a ton from last year’s team, so guys are going to have to step up. Returning corners, Michael Jackson, Ryan Mayes and Terrence Henley are going to be expected to have extended playing time in 2017 however, they will have to fight off Jhavonta Dean, Dee Delaney and Malek Young. Delaney could be a major ex factor on the defense. He’s a grad transfer from the Citadel and will enroll at Miami in May, when he wraps up his undergrad. Delany is considered one of the top CB talents for the 2018 draft. He could indeed be a major game changer in a unit that lacks extensive game experience.

The safety position is a little thin at this point and Richt and Diaz have converted former CB Sheldrick Redwine to see if he can help this unit.

With the depth at the front seven alone, any major weakness in the backfield will be masked quite well. Now the question will be asked as we move closer towards the season. Is this Miami Defense a national championship caliber defense? On paper it sure looks that way. We haven’t seen the defense this stacked since the early 2000s. And if we are seriously starting to make these comparisons, that means that the Miami program has officially turned the corner. All we need now is results on the field.

Born in the Nation’s Capital, Washington D.C., Ari Russell watched the rise of the 1980’s Miami Hurricanes and knew that he had to be part of the “U” someday. After graduating from Coral Gables, Ari rose through the ranks of the former XM Satellite Radio and then Sirius/XM as college football executive producer. He later spent 2 seasons as the publisher of the website “Beyond U Sports” focusing on major college football/basketball. Ari brings a great perspective on everything Miami, including the Dolphins to F.F.I.

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Miami Hurricanes

Former Canes and Bucs TE Kellen Winslow II will stand trial for felony rape

Florida Football Insiders

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Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

The horrifying allegations against for Hurricanes and Buccaneers tight end Kellen Winslow in San Diego, CA, have led to the judge in his case ruling at his preliminary hearing that there is sufficient evidence for a trial.

As USAToday.com’s Josh Peter reported from the courtroom, San Diego County Judge Harry Elias made his ruling late Thursday morning. And, he agreed with prosecutors that there is enough for the case to move forward later this year on two charges of felony rape, two counts of kidnapping with the intent to commit rape, and forcible sodomy on one of the accusers.

There had been some belief that the charges might be greatly reduced or thrown out all together, when two of the women who testified earlier this week at the preliminary hearing could not identify Winslow II at the defense table.

However as this photo shows, his lawyers used a typical defense tactic of changing Winslow’s appearance by having him shave, put on glasses and allowing his hair to grow out the last four weeks that he’s been incarcerated:

Prosecutors countered by using arrest photos of Winslow unshaven, without glasses and with a shaved head to better identify him.

As we wrote previously when Winslow was taken into custody, the bizarre allegations brought by multiple women in the San Diego area are enough to turn your stomach.

Winslow is alleged to have raped separate middle aged women, 54 and 58 years old, one in March and again, in May. Prosecutors detailed on June 15th in court that the women were both allegedly picked up, as hitchhikers or transients by Winslow and then, allegedly raped. They further said, Winslow threatened to kill both women, if they went to the police.

And now, prosecutors believe Winslow apparently was attempting to rape a 71 year old and an 86 year old earlier in June at the Park Encinitas Mobile Home Park.

Further from the complaint, that’s what prosecutors now believe Winslow was attempting to do on June 7th, when a neighbor in the mobile home park spotted him going into a mobile home and confronted him.

Winslow left in a black SUV, but was found by authorities a short time later, and arrested after a traffic stop.

At that time he was only charged with one count of burglary of the residence, which carried a $50,000 bond, and he was released.

Winslow is the son of NFL Hall of Famer Kellen Winslow, and played for the Hurricanes from 2001 through 2003. He earned All-American honors and the John Mackey Award for the nation’s top tight end in his final season.

Winslow was the sixth overall pick of the Cleveland Browns in the 2004 draft, where he reunited with the coach that recruited him and coached him originally at Miami, Butch Davis.

After his rookie season Winslow suffered a horrific knee and leg injuries in a motorcycle accident in a Cleveland suburb mall parking lot. He was unable to play in the 2005 season, because of the injuries.

Winslow played three more seasons for the Browns before being traded in the 2009 offseason to the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. In exchange for a second and fifth round picks, the Bucs acquired Winslow and gave him at that time the largest contract for a tight end in NFL history at $36 million over six seasons.

In his first season in Tampa Bay he set the Bucs single season tight end receiving record with 77 catches and 884 yards. He led the team in receptions again in 2010, as the Bucs finished 10-6 and missed the playoffs on a tiebreaker. In his final Buccaneers season of 2011 Winslow finished with 75 receptions in a dismal 4-12 year.

Winslow was traded in the offseason of 2012 to the Seattle Seahawks, but they released him months later, when he refused to reduce his salary.

He bounced after that to the New England Patriots and the New York Jets with his final season being 2013. With the Jets, he only started three games, and was also suspended for four games by the NFL for violating the League’s substance-abuse policy.

Winslow’s side was granted a victory of sorts Thursday, as for the first time since he was taken into custody the second time, he was granted $2 million bail.

According to USA Today, Winslow’s mother could be seen weeping outside the courtroom, while Kellen Sr. was more upbeat.

There is not a trial date set as of yet for the case.

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Miami Hurricanes

Former Hurricanes-Bucs Star TE Kellen Winslow II arrested for felony rape

Florida Football Insiders

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Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

Former Miami Hurricanes All-American and Buccaneers NFL tight end Kellen Winslow II is in bigger legal trouble in San Diego, California, than what we knew last week.

This, after authorities there filed multiple felony charges, including rape, sodomy, and kidnapping in connection with an incident last week.

TMZ had the details first earlier Thursday night.

We originally did not write about the trespassing /burglary charge from last week, but now the numerous serious felony charges have obviously changed the importance.

Winslow was booked in the Vista Detention Center in San Diego Thursday afternoon, and he is scheduled to be arraigned Friday morning where more details will be given on the charges.

Winslow is the son of NFL Hall of Famer Kellen Winslow, and played for the Hurricanes from 2001 through 2003. He earned All-American honors and the John Mackey Award for the nation’s top tight end in his final season.

Winslow was the sixth overall pick of the Cleveland Browns in the 2004 draft, where he reunited with the coach that recruited him and coached him originally at Miami, Butch Davis.

After his rookie season Winslow suffered a horrific knee and leg injuries in a motorcycle accident in a Cleveland suburb mall parking lot. He was unable to play in the 2005 season, because of the injuries.

Winslow played three more seasons for the Browns before being traded in the 2009 offseason to the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. In exchange for a second and fifth round picks, the Bucs acquired Winslow and gave him at that time the largest contract for a tight end in NFL history at $36 million over six seasons.

In his first season in Tampa Bay he set the Bucs single season tight end receiving record with 77 catches and 884 yards. He led the team in receptions again in 2010, as the Bucs finished 10-6 and missed the playoffs on a tiebreaker. In his final Buccaneers season of 2011 Winslow finished with 75 receptions in a dismal 4-12 year.

Winslow was traded in the offseason of 2012 to the Seattle Seahawks, but they released him months later, when he refused to reduce his salary.

He bounced after that to the New England Patriots and the New York Jets with his final season being 2013. With the Jets, he only started three games, and was also suspended for four games by the NFL for violating the League’s substance-abuse policy.

This is not his first trouble with the law since his career ended, as Winslow was arrested for possession of synthetic marijuana in January of 2014.

It is believed that authorities will elaborate on why Winslow was only charged with felony first-degree burglary last week at the mobile home park in Southern California, and had been released on $50,000 Bond.

There is clearly large new evidence of much more serious charges in that case.

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Miami Hurricanes

Miami rewards Mark Richt’s early success with new deal

Florida Football Insiders

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Jeremy Brevard-USA TODAY Sports
The Miami Hurricanes have decided to reward coach Mark Richt after just two seasons with a new contract. Richt, who has led the Canes to a 19-7 record in his two seasons in Coral Gables, is now signed through 2023. Terms of the deal were not immediately known.
Miami is a private institution and not obligated to release coaching salaries, however, at the time of his December 2015 hire, he was believed to have been given $4 million per season.
A year ago, Miami surprised many by playing their way into the College Football Playoff conversation late in the year. This was after the Hurricanes got off to an unbeaten start and late in the season won critical ACC games over Virginia Tech and Notre Dame at home, who were both rank in the top 15 at the time. The Notre Dame blowout was an eye opener on national television that put Miami in position to make the four team post season semi-finals.
Unfortunately for the Canes, the story didn’t end well. In fact, it crashed, when they lost on the Friday after Thanksgiving to a Pittsburgh team with a losing record. A week later they were blown out by ACC Champion Clemson in the Championship Game in Charlotte.
Then, Wisconsin beat Miami essentially in a home game in the Capital One Orange Bowl. The Hurricanes record finishing out at 10 and 3.
There is no doubt that Richt is one of the true gentleman of college coaching, and he has turned Miami back into a contender quicker than what predecessors Randy Shannon or Al Golden ever could.
Miami has also been scoring big with recruits over the last couple of seasons as well. This year’s signing class was ranked in the top 10 of every major high school football/college recruiting service or website.
So, the future is bright for the Canes and their fans.
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