“Champions aren’t made in the gyms. Champions are made from something they have deep inside them — a desire, a dream, a vision.”
~ Muhammad Ali
Although Lamar also played basketball and track for the University of Miami, he left his legacy with the ‘Canes on the football field. On his way to two national championship rings, Lamar broke Michael Irvin’s reception record with 144 catches (later eclipsed by Reggie Wayne). In a year (1991) where many predicted the ‘Canes would be the third best team in Florida, Lamar led the ‘Canes in receptions for 623 yards and 6 TDs to a third national championship. Below, in the 1992 Orange Bowl against Nebraska, “Leaping Lamar” earns his namesake with an incredible catch. Since his days at UM, Lamar has been one of the most avid and passionate supporters of the University of Miami, taking time to greatly contribute to ‘Cane Mutiny, The U, local alumni events, and mentoring current ‘Canes on and off the field.
One of the most intimidating and dominating defensive linemen of his era of college football, Russell Maryland left a legacy of excellence that few will ever match. As the first Miami player to win the coveted Outland Trophy (nation’s top interior lineman) in 1990, Maryland captured virtually every award in his grasp during his outstanding senior season. A consensus All-American in 1990, Maryland was a first-team All-America selection by Associated Press, United Press International, Kodak, the Walter Camp Football Foundation, The Football News, and The Sporting News. He also was the UPI’s selection as 1990 College Football Lineman of the Year. Maryland finished his UM career with 279 tackles, 25 tackles for losses and 20.5 sacks. The 1991 Cotton Bowl clip below pretty much plays as a Russell Maryland highlight reel:
Randall “Thrill” Hill
As a true freshman on the 1987 National Championship team, Hill set a then-school record for kickoff return yardage with 497 yards on 19 returns. Hill holds the UM record for career kickoff return yards with 1,169 yards on 54 returns. He ranks in the top ten lists for season kickoff return attempts and yards, career receptions (107), career receiving yards (1,643), and career touchdown receptions (11). However, he is best known for two games: his “gunsligning” in the 1991 Cotton Bowl and 3rd and 43 against Notre Dame in 1989.
Say what you want about him personally, as a consensus All-American and the first Hurricane to win the prestigious Lombardi Trophy, Warren Sapp was a man among men as he annihilated opposing quarterbacks in the early 1990s. Along with All-American honors and the Lombardi, Sapp was a unanimous Big East Defensive Player of the Year, won the Bronko Nagurski Trophy, Bill Willias Award, was a Outland Trophy finalizst, Defensive Player of the Year by Football Writers Association of America and earned Hurricane football’s highest team honor, the Jack Harding MVP award. Before he “Danced with the Stars,” Sapp finished his UM career with 176 tackles, 19.5 sacks, and many forced fumbles and pass deflections.
Perhaps the best middle linebacker ever to play the game, Ray Lewis’ dominating field presence changed the way teams prepared to play the ‘Canes. Lewis was an immediate contributor as a freshman and became a starter in the ‘Canes final 5 games compiling 81 tackles, 2 sacks, 2 tackles for a loss, and 4 pass deflections en route to being named to the freshman All-American team. As a sophomore, Lewis earned 1st team All-American and All-Big East Conference honors leading the Big East with 152 tackles and also contributed 9 tackles for a loss, 2 sacks, and an interception for the ‘Canes. As a junior and in his final year as a ‘Cane, Lewis was once again named to the All-American and All-Big East teams, was a runner-up for the Butkus Award, earned 160 tackes, [2nd highest in UM history], 8 tackles for a loss, 2 sacks, 2 interceptions, a forced fumble, 4 pass deflections and 1 TD. Off the field, Lewis is nothing short of a philanthropist helping disadvantaged youth and the families of Baltimore, Maryland with the Ray Lewis 52 Foundation, Ray’s Summer Days, and the Ray Lewis Foundation. He was awarded an “Act of Kindness” award for his work in the community and recently, a portion of Baltimore’s North Avenue was renamed “Ray Lewis Way” in honor of everything this mythical linebacker has done for the city. All this, and he still finds time to mentor current and former ‘Canes. We’re not sure words can do this ‘Cane justice, so you’ll just have to check out his highlights.
Stay tuned next week for part 3 of the series, great ‘Canes leaders from 1984-1989!