EOTH’s Top 25 Countdown Revisited (#16-14)
Welcome back for another season of EOTH’s review of the Pre-Season Top 25 Countdown. I think this sort of review of our expectations vs. reality is a useful exercise for fans. Usually this feature is done immediately following the end of football season. However, this year, I thought it would be most useful to look at this comparison right before the start of spring practice, which commences on Saturday, March 2nd.
As you will recall, EOTH readers were asked to use the following criteria when evaluating the players:
- The players’ past performance (in the 2012 pre-season, unlike every other year, readers were allowed to rank freshmen)
- The players’ performance during spring practice or last year
- 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)
# 16 Randy “Duke” Johnson
2012 Pre-Season Outlook: Have I said I freaking love this kid? I will try not to let that cloud my prediction for his performance this season, because as I cautioned with Tracy Howard, we all need to remember that these players are just freshmen and they have a lot to learn. Still, I can see Duke putting together some impressive runs and I predict that he will leave ‘Canes fans with at least a few “wow” moments this season. I really look forward to what he can do in the future and I ask all of you to pray to whatever deity you believe in that he stays healthy. If so, the sky is really the limit for someone who plays with this much.
2012 Performance: [I just got chills] Played in all 12 games at running back and kick returner, making five starts … Enjoyed arguably greatest freshman season in Miami history, rushing for freshman-record 947 yards and 10 TDs … Set UM single-season record with 892 kick return yards and 2 TDs … Amassed 2,060 all-purpose yards – second-most in program history … Second-team All-America by Walter Camp Football Foundation, third-team All-America by CBSSports.com, honorable mention All-America by Sports Illustrated … Tabbed Freshman All-American at kick returner by FWAA …
First-team Freshman All-America as kick return by Phil Steele … Second-team Freshman All-America as running back by CollegeFootballNews.com and Phil Steele … CBSSports.com All-Freshman … Voted ACC Overall and Offensive Rookie of the Year by ACSMA and league coaches … Sporting News ACC Freshman of the Year … Second-team All-ACC running back by ACSMA, league coaches and Phil Steele … Second-team All-ACC specialist by ACSMA … Also garnered All-ACC honors from CBSSports.com (kick returner) and Phil Steele (first-team KR) … Six games with 200+ all-purpose yards … Four 100-yard rushing games …
League-best five-time ACC Rookie of the Week honoree in 2012 … Burst onto college scene in season opener with 135 rushing yards and 2 TDs on seven carries in road win at Boston College … Named ACC Rookie of the Week for Sept. 4 … Amassed then-career-high 246 all-purpose yards and 4 TDs in home win vs. Bethune-Cookman in career-first start …
Rushed for 2 TDs, caught another and had 95-yard kick return for score vs. B-CU … Named ACC Rookie of the Week for Sept. 17 … Finished season three 100-yard rushing outings over final four games … Rushed for 100 yards, TD and ended with 217 all-purpose yards vs. Virginia Tech … Named ACC Rookie of the Week for Nov. 5 … Set Miami single-game and ACC freshman all-purpose record with 368 yards at Virginia … Rushed for 150 yards on 16 carries and had four returns for career-best 214 yards and TD … Also threw 8-yard TD pass – career-first college pass attempt … Named ACC Rookie of the Week for Nov. 12 … Closed freshman campaign with career-high 176 rushing yards and 3 rushing TDs in win at Duke … Named ACC Rookie of the Week for Nov. 26 … Recipient of Special Teams Player of the Year Award at team’s end-of-season banquet … Earned letter.
# 15 Jonathan Feliciano
2012 Pre-Season Outlook: I’ve said this with every offensive lineman, and I will say it again – we need them to use their talent, experience, and good coaching to protect Stephen Morris, give him time to throw to someone (anyone), and to help guys like Mike James, Duke Johnson, and Eduardo Clements carry the rock. In this respect, I think the offensive line is really the key to this being an even remotely successful season for the ‘Canes. If a guy like Feliciano – who we know is tough enough to come back from an injury to start games – can stay healthy, that will go a long way into allowing our offense to make some big plays.
2012 Performance: Started all 12 games at left guard … Earned All-ACC honorable mention from ACSMA … Anchored O-line that paved way for third-best passing offense (295.4) and fifth-best total offense (440.2) in ACC. Earned “Hard Hitter” award at the end of season football banquet. Last, but not least, his mom is a great tailgater and always chips in. That reminds me, Duke Johnson’s mom = also a sweetheart. But I digress…
#14 Brandon McGee
2012 Pre-Season Outlook: Brandon has the speed, talent and experience to take things to the next level. With the departure of Ray Ray Armstrong in the secondary, the ‘Canes need him to do just that. Although the players who have gone from serviceable to game-changers are few and far between in the last several years, Brandon has a great opportunity this season to earn a name for himself amongst great ‘Cane DBs. As it stands now, Brandon needs to earn his black jersey back from Tracy Howard. I’m optimistic that this heightened level of competition will bring out the best in him.
2012 Performance: Started all 12 games at defensive back … Tied for sixth on team with 54 tackles … Tied for team lead with two interceptions … Notched 4.0 tackles-for-loss and 1.0 sack … Tallied five tackles in season-opening win at Boston College … First INT of season came at Kansas State … Made five stops, 1.0 TFL and broke up two passes vs. Bethune-Cookman … Had six tackles and 1.0 TFL in OT road win at Georgia Tech … Stripped and recovered fumble for 26-yard return in home win vs. NC State … Made season-high nine tackles (eight solo) and added 1.0 TFL in road loss to Notre Dame … Picked off pass and returned 26 yards at Virginia … Tied season high with nine tackles in road win at Duke … Finished with team-best seven pass break-ups … Recipient of Captain’s Award and Plumer Award for Leadership, Motivation and Spirit at team’s end-of-season banquet … Graduated in December 2012 … Earned letter.