Eye of the Hurricane Top 25 Countdown #1: Sean Spence
#1 Sean Spence:
This past June, I asked Eye of the Hurricane readers to vote on their top 25 players. Each voter shared one thing in common (aside from their excellent taste in college football teams and fan blogs): they voted Sean Spence the #1 player for the 2011 Miami Hurricanes.
Voters were asked to use the following criteria when evaluating the players:
- The players’ past performance (meaning incoming freshmen, even early enrollees, are not eligible for consideration)
- The players’ performance during spring practice (listen to Golden, coaches, and bloggers who saw it first hand)
- The players’ raw athletic ability including performance in the weight room and 40 times
- How essential the players’ success is to the team’s success as a whole (meaning if he gets knocked out, we will probably lose the game
Al Golden told Joe Rose this morning that we could know as soon as Wednesday whether players like Sean Spence are cleared. Say a prayer tonight that we don’t have to learn the hard way just how valuable Sean Spence is to our team.
Why He Appears Here: Are you kidding me? Spence immediately endeared himself in his second game as a freshman to ‘Canes fans young and old and pretty much anyone who wasn’t wearing JORTS that night by sacking hypocritical part-time underwear model, part-time Filipino orphan circumciser and full-time bench rider TT#15. As a freshman. Taking down the 2007 Heis[t]man Trophy winner. That night in The Puddle, I was convinced that we would have 2 national championship rings once this 2008 recruiting class went to the NFL. I think it was the rum in the sun. Anyway, as a freshman in 2008, Spence was named the 2008 ACC Defensive Rookie of the Year, first team freshman All-American by CollegeFootballNews.com and Rivals.com while earning second team Freshman All-America honors from Phil Steele and The Sporting News. He was third on the team with 65 total tackles and led all Miami linebackers with 9.5 tackles for loss. Spence started nine of the 13 games he played in making first career start against FSWho and returned his first career interception for a touchdown against the criminoles. He also a fumble in the final minutes of regulation at Virginia which helped the Hurricanes to an overtime win and a career-high 10 tackles against FSWho and had five or more tackles in eight games.
In 2009, many believe Spence experienced the dreaded “sophomore slump.” He missed three games late in the season with an injury. However, despite playing in only 10 games on defense, Spence ranked fifth on the team with 6.5 tackles for a loss, recording 36 total tackles (19 solo, 17 assists) on the year, tallying a team-high 10 total tackles (five solo, five assists) in win over then-No. 8 Oklahoma. All three of Spence’s sacks came on the road in the state of Florida [JSQ beats chest and growls]. He had seven total tackles, two sacks and a pass break up against UCF in Orlando, and tallied his third sack of the season at USF in the regular season finale.
Last season, Spence was one of seven Hurricanes to start all 13 games, second on the team and fifth in the ACC with 111 tackles, leading the team 16 tackles for loss, also good for fourth most in the conference. Spence recorded a season-high 14 tackles against Clemson, with a fumble forced and 1.5 tackles for loss, and a season-high three tackles for loss against Georgia Tech. Spence was honored at the end of the year awards banquet as the team’s co-MVP.
2011 Outlook: Spence is going to get cleared by the NCAA in a couple of days and then he is going to sack every QB that plays college football. Not just the ones the ‘Canes actually play, mind you, Spence is going to take it a step further. No one is safe. Our boy is a one-man wrecking crew [chugs orange and green kool-aid].
Okay so things are up in the air right now but based on everything I’ve heard and read, I believe that Spence will be cleared soon and start at Maryland. From there on out, he is undoubtedly crucial to our defense and thus, our season. If Spence can stay healthy, it will help disguise the youth at LB, the inexperience at CB, and the lack of depth at DT which, besides QB turnovers, present the biggest concern for ‘Canes fans as the kickoff in College Park approaches.
Now it’s time for you all to pray to whomever or whatever you believe in and ask for Sean Spence to be cleared for Maryland. I don’t care if you are tightly grasping a stuffed Sebastian the Ibis and asking him for your wishes to come true. Whatever works. We need our boy.
Thank you to all of the readers who voted in the 2011 Eye of the Hurricane Top 25 Countdown.
Here is the rest of countdown, in case you missed it:
(25) Jermaine Johnson, (24) Tommy Streeter, (23) Malcolm Bunche, (22) Jordan Futch, (21) Brandon Linder, (20) Marcus Robinson, (19) Curtis Porter, (18) Asante Cleveland, (17) Stephen Morris, (16) Ramon Buchanon, (15) Adewale Ojomo, (14) Tyler Horn, (13) Micanor Regis, (12) Vaughn Telemaque, (11) Jacory Harris, (10) Laron Byrd, (9) Mike James, (8) Olivier Vernon, (7) Ray Ray Armstrong, (6) Seantrel Henderson, (5) Travis Benjamin, (4) Brandon Washington, (3) Lamar Miller, (2) Marcus Forston. Note, the difference between #2 and #3 came down to .05.
Others Receiving Votes:
Brandon McGee, Allen Hurns, Jo Jo Nicolas, Harland Gunn, Andrew Smith, Aldarius Johnson, Allen Hurns, Jimmy Gaines, Kelvin Cain, Chase Ford