The Miami Hurricanes just entered their second week of spring practice and were rejoined by players coming back from the track and field team.
Cornerback Brandon Harris and wide receivers Davon Johnson and Travis Benjamin have all missed the majority of practices due to track commitments.
Tuesday was their first day back in full pads.
“It was a fun experience just to be back in pads,” Harris said. “I hadn’t played football since the bowl game, so it was fun just getting back used to my chemistry with the team. I’m expecting to have a big year this year.”
Benjamin, so far, has been impressed by the playbook of first-year offensive coordinator and assistant head coach Mark Whipple.
“It’s a very good system,” Benjamin said. “[Some plays] have me, Aldarius [Johnson], LaRon Byrd, Thearon Collier all on the field at the same time, and we’re running all kinds of crazy routes. We’re looking forward to a big season.”
Redshirt freshman receivers Kendall Thompkins and Tommy Streeter, who so far have been the most impressive receivers this spring practice, are also going to be in the mix.
Thompkins has seen a lot of playing time this spring and he is using this time to shine.
“I’ve got to take this opportunity, since I didn’t have a chance to really play last year,” Thompkins said. “I’m just happy to be back out here. We’re trying to get the team wins. We have a lot of good things planned this year.”
Like Thompkins, Streeter is anxious to get on the field again.
“It felt real good just to be back out there. I haven’t gotten a touchdown since the state game [in high school],” said Streeter, who played alongside Thompkins, Johnson and quarterback Jacory Harris at Miami Northwestern High School. “It felt good to be back out there doing what I used to do.”
On the other side of the ball, the two particular players that have made an impact are freshman safety Vaughn Telemaque and linebacker Arthur Brown. Currently, Telemaque is the number one free safety while Brown, who switched from outside to inside linebacker, is learning the position with ease.
After being the highest-rated player in last year’s recruiting class, Brown is finally grasping the Hurricanes defense and is enjoying spring practice.
“Spring ball is going great,” said Brown, who is pushing for the starting middle linebacker position. “I just got to step up and do my best, in order to push myself and push my teammates.”
One impressive all-around player has been running back Mike James. James has been running with authority during drills and to close out practice. He is always the first one to finish sprints. Head coach Randy Shannon has taken notice.
“He is doing a nice job,” Shannon said. “Any freshman can play if they’re good enough. If they’re physically and mentally ready, they’ll play.”
On Wednesday’s practice, Davon Johnson scored on a long touchdown and tight end Richard Gordon scored twice. Notable sacks came from Allen Bailey and Marcus Forston and an interception was returned for a touchdown by cornerback Chavez Grant.
The spring season will culminate with the spring game on Saturday, March 28, where all of these players will be vying for playing time and the opportunity to showcase what they bring to the table.