Miami Hurricanes sophomore LB Shaq Quarterman has been named as a Butkus Award (nation’s top LB) candidate heading into the 2017 season. This isn’t a major surprise and he could indeed be one of the front runners considering the expectations for Quarterman coming in and the aggressive nature of Manny Diaz’s defense.
In addition to the Butkus award, Quarterman has also been named as a candidate for the Nagurski Award (defensive player of the year) and the Bednarik Award (top defensive player). Nagurski and Bednarik are pretty redundant, but they are both pretty prestigious awards.
The Miami Herald did a great job looking for a comparison of a former Canes LB with the sophomore Quarterman. The comparison is Dan Morgan, which is quite the compliment. Susan Miller Degnan has a great breakdown of Morgan:
Morgan was one of the most dominant defensive players I’ve ever covered, playing with astounding energy through never-ending injuries, and absolutely pulverizing the competition. Out of Coral Spring Taravella High, the 6-3, 230-pound Morgan had 139 tackles his junior season, despite a broken thumb for much of it, and set a Miami record for tackles in a career with 532. He was the 11th overall pick by the Carolina Panthers in the 2001 Draft and played for seven seasons.
I was at Miami when Morgan was there and everything and he was quite the player. He was all over the field. To be compared to Morgan is a pretty big deal. Morgan became the first in college history to win the Butkus, Nagurski and Bednarik awards, when he won it in 2000. As Susan Miller Degnan explained, Morgan did a lot of it through injuries. He was a tough cookie and folks say that Quarterman has similar toughness.
Whether Quarterman completes the Dan Morgan award trifecta will be determined at a much later date, but he is in position to do repeat the feat. The cool part is that Quarterman after this season still has two more seasons to go, if he chooses to stay until his senior year. He’s only going to get bigger, faster, stronger and better in that time. We may not even be seeing the tip of the iceberg with this young man, which is exciting for Canes fans and devastating for opponents.