Defense has ‘Ray-Ray’ of hope

Freshman cornerback Ray-Ray Armstrong makes one of his seven tackles during the game last Saturday against the University of Oklahoma. Billy Gilbert // The Miami Hurricane
Freshman cornerback Ray-Ray Armstrong makes one of his seven tackles during the game last Saturday against the University of Oklahoma. Billy Gilbert // The Miami Hurricane

The No. 11 Hurricanes are back, and they have a brand new defensive back that is a star in the making.

With senior defensive captain Randy Phillips and junior defensive back JoJo Nicholas out due to upper extremity injuries, true freshman Aravious Armstrong stepped up.

The 6-foot-4, 220-pound Armstrong tallied seven total tackles and recorded some highlight reel hits.

Aravious, commonly known as Ray Ray, was a prized gem in Miami’s 2009 recruiting class. He was rated the 13th-best overall player regardless of position according to www.rivals.com.

Armstrong played predominantly on special teams the first three games but stayed patient and realized his time would come.

“I had been waiting for this opportunity all year,” Armstrong said. “I just happened to get a chance in a big game, the OU game. I just wanted to get in there and show everyone what I got.”

Sophomore quarterback Jacory Harris realizes UM has a special playmaker on the other side of the ball.

“Ray Ray is my boy and I know what he can do,” Harris said. “Last year he beat up on my high school [Miami Northwestern].”

Despite the fact that Ray Ray did not enroll early, he still made constant strides on the practice field.

“I knew my time would eventually come. I knew their quarterback would try and pick on me since I’m a freshman so I just needed to step up. All eyes were going to be on me.”

All eyes will be glued on Ray Ray as he continues to blossom.

“He had some big hits that sparked the crowd and the defense. He has been doing a great job the last few weeks but he is still not where he needs to be. Don’t put him on a pedestal yet,” head coach Randy Shannon said.

Justin Antweil may be contacted at jantweil@themiamihurricane.com.