Hurricane Mount Rushmores by Position

Hurricane Mount Rushmores by Position

Canes Legacy
Nothing says offseason content like trying to figure out the Mount Rushmore of something in sports. Luckily, we love offseason content (check out our twitter page @CanesLegacy, it’s pretty much what we do), but we weren’t about to make a Mount Rushmore of snack cakes, Mount Rushmore of Pierce Brosnan movies, or Mount Rushmore of Canadian animals… we wanted to get some fan input and go position by position for the Miami football program.

What we did was comb through the archives and decide on the best seven guys to play each position at UM. We chose our top three based on input from a variety of sources that we’ve been learning from over the many years we’ve been fans. Then we put the next four into a vote on our twitter account and let the people decide who #4 should be.

Did we agree with all of the choices? No, certainly not, but it is important to note who the twitter fanbase chose and what that means for the overall perspective on the program (more on that at the end).


Our picks:
George Mira, Sr. - No, like you, we’ve never seen an entire game from George, but we also know enough to let the history of the program take the lead. A two time All-American, Mira was one of the first great Hurricanes and has his number retired by the school.
Jim Kelly- If Mira was the first great QB, Kelly was the one who started the generation of great QBs. Kelly’s decision to leave western PA and play for Howard Schnellenberger forever changed the direction of the program.
Vinny Testaverde-- A Heisman winner and a first overall pick in the NFL Draft, Vinny’s accomplishments also led to a retired number. The only negative on his record is the Penn State game, but we don’t talk about the Penn State game.

The fan’s vote:
Ken Dorsey 48.8%- Hard to argue against Dorsey, whose record of excellence (38-2) extends through three seasons of tremendous Hurricane football. Had he won one more title, his name would probably be at the very top of the list.
Gino Torretta 20.8%
Bernie Kosar 18.9%
Steve Walsh 11.5%

Our take:
Dorsey was almost guaranteed to the winner based on his more recent successes, but the fact that he had less than 50% of the vote is rather encouraging. Bernie and Gino both had significant moments in their championship runs and deserve mention, but even a guy like Walsh, who is usually, honestly, an afterthought when younger fans are discussing UM’s QB history, getting 11.5% says a lot.

All in all, the right choice was made, because though Dorsey lacks the Heisman or the high draft slot that the others achieved, he is one of the icons for the early 00s run.

Running Back

Our picks:

Alonzo Highsmith- Zo is in the top three or four when it comes to Canes associated with the run in the 80s. Though his lone title came in a year when he had only 19 carries, it’s hard to argue against his impact on the culture of the program.
Edgerrin James- Edge’s time came when it wasn’t exactly easy to be a Miami Hurricane, but he still put on dominant and memorable performances in the orange and green. The UCLA game stands out as one of the dominoes that told the world Miami was about to do something special.
Clinton Portis- A big part of that special run was the play of this man. We recently ranked Portis #1 in terms of overall impact among Miami running backs because he really was the total package: he came in overlooked by some, led the squad to a national title, and used his time at Miami as a catapult to a wonderful NFL career.

The fan vote:
Willis McGahee- 49.8%
Duke Johnson- 21.2%
Otis Anderson- 17.7%
Melvin Bratton- 11.3%

Our take:
Each back had something to carry them in the running. Ultimately, the greatest single year in UM RB history won out and Willis took the voting. Duke’s impressive career and setting the overall rushing record while doing all he could without a great team around him was impressive and makes him a deserving candidate. O.J. is a name that more people remember for just being the name that Duke toppled in the history book, but really he was a special, dynamic running back and returner at UM. Bratton coming in last was honestly surprising considering he’s a two time champ and was a vital part in some of the best teams UM ever had. It wouldn’t be a stretch to say he was one of the two or three most physically gifted backs Miami had.

Because of those reasons, any of the four could have won. Willis taking that fourth spot sits fine with us because that year in 2002 was so special that there isn’t even another season from a Miami RB that can be in the discussion.

Wide Receiver

Our picks:

Eddie Brown- The epitome of greatness at receiver for the Miami Hurricanes. Every great wideout that came after Eddie Brown was chasing the example that he set for them.
Michael Irvin- Michael Irvin took on the challenge of following Eddie Brown and set the tone for how a Hurricane receiver should act while he’s dominating on the field. Few people loved being a Cane like the Playmaker.
Reggie Wayne- The model of consistency, it was honestly tough separating him from the rest of the group because they really had different strengths and weaknesses. He got the nod for the third spot because of how strong he was his entire career as a pure receiver.

The fan vote:
Andre Johnson- 64.3%
Santana Moss- 25.1%
Lamar Thomas- 6.4%
Wesley Carroll- 4.1%

Our take:
This was one of the toughest. Like how could the all time leading WR not get a spot on the Rushmore? It could only happen when the four guys on it are legitimately legends of the program. Dre’s 2001 and 2002 were possibly the best two seasons we’ve seen at UM, totalling nearly 1800 yards and 19 TDs. Lamar and Santana obviously had extended success, which makes them deserving, too, but Wesley Carroll was no joke. Though he was a Cane for just two seasons, his two may have been better than either Lamar or Moss’s best two.

Andre had the best peak, but Santana had the best overall run. Both iconic players who are deserving of a spot,

Tight End

Our Picks:

Willie Smith- As legit a receiving threat as you’re going to find at the Tight End position. Nothing could stop Smith when he was at his best, and his game could translate just as well to the modern era. Really a dude that younger fans should go back and watch just to appreciate his talent.
Jeremy Shockey- You may not guess they produce the perfect Cane attitude out in Ada, Oklahoma, but Shockey had it. Great receiver, willing and aggressive blocker, and a true leader.
**Glenn Dennison was a part of the voting, but a certain other player who would have been on the monument based solely on his play pretty much destroyed his legacy, so we’re replacing him with Dennison. Glenn was really the first great Miami TE and led the ‘83 title team in receiving while scoring two TDs vs Nebraska.

Fan vote:
Greg Olsen- 75.9%
Bubba Franks- 16.1%
Glenn Dennson- 6.6%
Clive Walford- 1.5%

Our take:
What they did to Clive was cold, but it should have been either Dennison or Olsen, in our opinion. Bubba was a great threat when they gave him looks, but the era didn’t really let him shine like he would in the NFL. Olsen was one of the best transfer pickups Miami ever had and shined even when the offenses he was on didn’t. The right four made it.

Offensive Tackle

Our picks:

Bryant McKinnie- People have been as good, but no one has played tackle at the college level better than he did for two years. He was impeccable.
Leon Searcy- A leader of the lines during the championship years, Searcy’s game was equal parts ruggedness and skill.
Joaquin Gonzalez- They don’t just hand out multiple first team All American honors to people (or Academic Heismans), so Joaquin was far from just Bryant’s bookend on the right side. He was also a former walk-on who would start four years in a row. Pretty remarkable.

Fan vote:
Vernon Carey- 44.9%
Eric Winston- 40.2%
Dennis Harrah- 8.7%
Ereck Flowers- 6.3%

Our take:
All four are really good players, and interestingly enough three of them made the switch to guard full time in the NFL (or Vernon for a year at UM, too). I’m surprised that Carey won the vote even with the rub from the 2002 season because I think that Winston was clearly the superior player and from the same era. Harrah was a first team All American, but from a forgotten era, and Flowers should probably also have beaten out Carey, but the negativity from his NFL start may have affected his votes. Winston should be the clear winner here.

Interior OL

Our picks:
Jim Otto- UM and Pro FB Hall of Famer, Otto has one of the most recognizable names from the old generation of NFL centers.
KC Jones- A four year starter and first team All American, it’s hard to overlook how good he was, even during the probation era.
Brett Romberg- The leader of what many consider to be the best OL in the history of the program.

Fan Vote:
Brandon Linder- 32.5%
Don Bailey- 25.4%
Richard Mercier- 21.9%
Mike Sullivan- 20.2%

Our take:
Glad to see a very even vote for a position that lacks a true obvious pick. Linder has the recent success that made him the likely pick, but Mercier and Bailey both had strong, extended accomplishments as well. Honestly, I think that the best of the group is Sullivan, who was a great player and four year starter on some of the best teams Miami had to offer. The Chicago native moved to Tackle for his last two years, but was outstanding as a guard early on. I’d put him on the monument next to the first three.

Defensive End

Our picks:

Ted Hendricks- The Mad Stork is another one I’m trusting the history books on. He was really a unique player whose size earned him his nickname and helped propel him to the Pro FB Hall of Fame.
Danny Stubbs- In the modern era of Miami football, there is no argument about the best DE. Danny Stubbs was a dominant player who made people around him look dominant as well. Just too big, too fast, and too strong for opponents.
Jerome McDougle- The third spot here was like the WR spot: a lot of guys who have an argument. We went with McDougle because he lacked an elite bookend and was a constant producer for a great UM defense.

Fan Vote:
Rusty Medearis- 35%
Kevin Patrick- 33%
Kenny Holmes- 18.4%
Greg Mark- 13.6%

Our take:
It is very tough to separate the great UM DE’s of the late 80s/early 90s. They’re almost all first team all americans right, won national titles, and had dominant streaks. Rusty winning isn’t a huge surprise because when he was healthy, he was a tremendous talent, and had he never gotten hurt, it is a near certainty to say that he wouldn’t have been in the voting section of this exercise. Patrick and Mark have similar resumes, but Mark split time at DT early on while Patrick stayed outside. Kenny was the better of the Holmes/Lang pair that seemed so even, and his two years of captaincy didn’t hurt. Rusty winning is a good call.

Defensive Tackle

Our picks:

Jerome Brown
Cortez Kennedy
Russell Maryland
Warren Sapp

Fan Vote:
There was none. Those are the best four. There is no debating this.

Middle Linebackers

Our picks:
Dan Morgan- Easily the best LB in team history. He was a machine like no other, and led that defense out of the probation era to a place of near dominance after taking over for Nate Webster inside.
Ray Lewis- It’s crazy that best MLB in NFL history is the 2nd or 3rd best MLB in the college’s history, but thats Miami.
Mike Barrow- Speaking of Ray maybe being 3rd, the leader of the Bermuda Triangle led arguable the best defense Miami has ever had in 1991.

Fan Vote:
Jonathan Vilma- 87.7%
Bernard Clark- 7.5%
Nate Webster- 2.8%
Jay Brophy- 1.9%

Our take:
We knew Vilma would win, as he should have, but don’t let the %s fool you. All four had moments of elite play deserving of recognition. Brophy’s lack of votes is more just not knowing who he is, because he was the man on that first title defense, Clark stepped up in the biggest spots, and Nate Webster was so good he even kept Morgan outside for a few years. Vilma should win, but all were great Canes.

Outside Linebacker

Our picks:

Darrin Smith- In a program where speed was a necessity, Smith still stood out. In my opinion, he was the best all around outside LB the Canes have had when you factor in his coverage ability and aggressiveness in run support.
Jessie Armstead- The last of the Bermuda Triangle, Armstead’s swagger and attitude made him one of the most memorable Cane LBs.
DJ Williams- The best recruit in modem history for UM, DJ played every bit up to that billing. He was even a great asset at FB before making the move back to LB and dominating next to Vilma.

Fan Vote:
Rohan Marley- 41.4%
Winston Moss- 33.3%
Maurice Crum- 22.2%
Twan Russell- 3%

Our take:
Crum tends to be the most overlooked of the Cane LBs, even sometimes getting second billing to Bernard Clark despite Crum’s multiple All American selections. Marley definitely represented all the attributes that people love in their Canes. Factor in the size limitation and he had that underdog aspect to him as well. Moss was a legendary player in his own right, and Russell was a very good player during the mid 90s. Crum probably should be the pick based on accolades, but no one should be mad about Marley winning.


Our picks:
Antrel Rolle- The clear best Cane corner ever. He probably would have been one of the best UM safeties ever, too, had he made the move earlier. Just a tremendous player and leader.
Ryan McNeil- More of a pure cover guy. McNeil turned his athletic ability into great success at UM and in the NFL.
Mike Rumph- One of those players who stands out by watching him play to play and realizing how consistently great he was. His length and physicality made him a very tough player to beat.

Fan vote:
Phil Buchanon- 60.4%
Duane Starks- 18.8%
Kelly Jennings- 11.9%
Earl Little- 8.9%

Our take:
This one created some of the strongest debate because of Phil’s big win in the vote over Starks. Phil had the most votes, but Starks seemed to have the most passionate fans as they made a point of declaring how he should have won. It’s a tough call between the two, as both made a lot of big plays for their Canes. Jennings is actually the only first team AA selection as a corner (Phil made it as a returner), but he gets lost in the shuffle more than he should. Little was really good in his own right, though I think he gets more associated with his safety play in the league than his time at corner. I’d go Phil, but I could see Starks or Jennings getting the spot, too.


Our picks:
Ed Reed- GOAT.
Sean Taylor- Also the GOAT.
Bennie Blades- Would be the GOAT for like 99% of college football teams.

Fan vote:
Brandon Meriweather- 50%
Darryl Williams- 29.5%
Burgess Owens- 13.6%
Fred Marion- 6.8%

Our take:
Not surprised that Meriweather won. I think Darryl Williams should be the fourth guy because of how universally talented he was, but the gap between he and those after him is close. Meriweather went from being a bit underrated during his time as a Cane (hard coming on the heels of guys like Reed and ST) to being appreciated for his play later in his Miami career. He even outshined an elite prospect like Kenny Phillips. Burgess was vital for the team’s adjustment into the modern era of CFB. Fred Marion deserved some more love here for his tremendous ability as a ballhawk.


Our picks:
Devin Hester- The greatest return man period. No clarification of college, league, or level needed.
Santana Moss- A dynamic threat every time he touched the ball. Putting him in the receiver vote because we knew he’d be here might have been a strategic move. Elite talent.
Phil Buchanon- Made the AA team as a return man and provided constant electricity to that 01 return game.

Fan vote:
Roscoe Parrish- 40%
Kevin Williams- 38.9%
Travis Benjamin- 16.8%
Tremain Mack- 4.2%

Our take:
Roscoe and KW were really the two who should have been debated, so seeing the vote be so close was fitting. It really came down to a couple votes. Personally, we’d pick Williams because he returned everything at a high level, but Roscoe’s peak was similar, though just as a punt returner. Benjamin is underrated all around as a Cane because the return position and WR are both so stacked, and Tremain Mack’s lone season as the main returner was near elite.


Our picks:
Carlos Huerta- Kicking savage.
Jeff Feagles- Punting savage.
Matt Bosher- Kicking/punting/tackling savage.

Fan vote:
Todd Sievers- 40.6%
Michael Badgely- 35.4%
Pat O’Donnell- 18.8%
Jon Peattie- 5.2%

Our take:
Each guy had their peaks at UM, but Sievers was the lone AA on the list, and had what would have been a career defining kick in 2002 had something we won’t mention not happened. Badgely leads in most stat categories, and Peattie had a good four year run as the kicker. O’Donnell would be a bigger candidate with a longer career at Miami.

What we learned
There was an expected bias towards the recent in the voting, but not as bad as one might expect. Usually the modern candidates who won were at least the 2nd best candidate in our opinion for the spot on Mt Rushmore, so it’s not like totally undeserving people were selected. The end game of getting fans the opportunity to familiarize themselves with some of these more forgotten names seems to have been accomplished, and we had the chance to celebrate some greats a little bit as well.

Comments (87)

Kosar was a far better, more clutch and had swag for days before anyone in this program even knew what that was. Dorsey doesn't belong above him.

Bernie is the best QB in UM history. Newbies just weren't around to see him talk **** and kick ass on the field.
Great trip down memory lane. Hopefully GR15 and others are able to climb to the heights of these previous great Canes.
Nice work but most positions are almost impossible to just pick 4. Maybe Oline is doable and maybe, maybe CB but the rest is, wow. Take QB, your reasoning is sound but you leave only one spot to share between a Heisman winner with a NC attached and 4 other NC winners. Then again, the other four are worthy too. DT is another - Rubin Carter, Don Latimer, Lester Williams ... At safety it is embarrassing - Sure Ed, ST, Blades have to be there but Owens, Marion and Meriweather - you just can't pick one. We need a bigger mountain, hell we need a bigger mountain range. God, I love being a Miami Hurricane.
waiting for someone to say they are offended by this post as they want Mount Rushmore taken down for being racist......
Since it hasn't been said....Why even go there??

Unless you just trying to start unnecessary, unwanted mess

Why not keep it about our many great players and Miami football ....instead of hoping trouble happens
Since it hasn't been said....Why even go there??

Unless you just trying to start unnecessary, unwanted mess

Why not keep it about our many great players and Miami football ....instead of hoping trouble happens
fair point. had a rough morning, my bad guys
No love for Craig Erickson?? I mean I know he wasn't the best ever but he at least deserved a mention... He did QB us to a Natty and the season after he had his best season stats wise..
QB - This is the hardest. You can't include Mira with the rest of these guys. Conventional thinking is that you have to include the two Heisman winners and Kelly. Then its a toss up between Kosar & Dorsey. Kosar was the better player and won a Natty. Dorsey's career stats are unmatched and he won a Natty. Hard Choices. Testeverde couldn't win a Natty. Toretta was the worst of the bunch and he has a Heisman and a Natty. The 4 best QBS to me are clearly Kelly, Kosar, Testeverde & Dorsey.

RB - 4th spot is a tough decision between Otis Anderson & McGahee. OJ wins in my opinion. People who say otherwise just weren't around to watch him play. Mcgahee had the greater single season in 2002 though.

WR - Its Moss over Johnson. Easy. Johnson may be the better pro but Moss was the man in college and a stud in the pros as well. Wayne has the great numbers a cane but I don't know that you put him in the top 4 over Johnson and Lamar Thomas or Brett Perriman or HELLO Brian Blades as far as big game impact.

TE - Shockey, Olsen, Winslow, Smith

OT - Its sad that we can't name a real 4th guy here. Winston is the best of the rest named.

OL - first 3 are no brainers. Another list that's not so great. I'd pick Mike Sullivan as 4 dude was a tough durable player and the heart and sole of those OLs.

DT - Unarguable

DE - Medearis was a monster too bad he got hurt. I don't know that you can count his career over a guy like Mark, Patrick or Holmes. CALAIS CAMBELL HELLO!!!!!

ILB - Vilma and that's a no brainer like the DT position.

OLB - Moss. Another no brainer 4 that shouldn't have been a question.

CB - Buchanon, Starks AND Jennings were better cover corners than Rumph & Rolle. Ronnie Lippett & Tolbert Bain were nice. As far as pure CBs my 4 would be McNiel, Buchanon, Starks & probably Rolle as an overall player being the 4th.

S - First 3 are easy. Taylor, Reed & Blades. The last one is tough. Tons of great safeties. Bubba Mcdowell, Mo Sykes. Darryl Williams has to be the 4th guy tho.
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After this year we add Greg to the honorable mentions at DE at the least. And man that safety middle linebacker and DT group is insane

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