Monday, December 08, 2008
By Andrew Miller
November 20, 2008
When Miami coach Randy Shannon was in December of 2006, he was supposed to bring "The U" back to its glory days.
The longtime defensive coordinator and Miami native was a popular choice among the current Hurricane players.
But last year's 5-7 mark, including an embarrassing 48-0 loss to Virginia in the final game at the Orange Bowl, had some Hurricane fans wondering if the 41-year-old was the right choice.
Well, this year Shannon has silenced his critics. The Hurricanes are 7-3 and 4-2 in the league with an excellent chance to make it to the ACC Championship game on Dec. 6 in Tampa, Fla.
And Shannon has done it with underclassmen, especially a freshman class that was ranked fifth nationally by Rivals.com last February.
The Hurricanes, who entered the AP Top 25 poll this week for the first time in two years, have 11 freshmen on their two-deep roster, and those first- and second-year players have accounted for 80 percent of the Hurricanes' all-purpose offense (3,355 of 4,180 yards).
The freshmen have accounted for 100 percent of team's 1,812 passing yards. Twenty-five of the 33 touchdowns scored by the Hurricanes this season have been scored by either freshmen or sophomores.
The news gets worse for the ACC as the Hurricanes currently have the ninth-ranked recruiting class in 2009, according to Rivals.com.
Oh yeah, the Hurricanes also lead the nation in number of players with undergraduate degrees with 13. For the record, Clemson has eight.