Some Canes In For “Rude Awakening”

Alonzo Highsmith is straight up, old school and no bullshit. There is truly no mystery why the former Hurricanes running back, Miami native and current Green Bay Packers’ scout has been a success at every level. He gets ‘it’.

Highsmith spoke out earlier today, boldly stating that some recent University of Miami underclassmen made a huge mistake by leaving school and turing pro early.

“A lot of these kids are in for a rude awakening,” said Highsmith, from the NFL Combine in Indianapolis. “Maybe parents are telling them what they want to hear. I don’t think they’re getting good advice. After watching film, it was rather disappointing. I watched the Virginia and Boston College tape and I didn’t see many good players. Lamar Miller shows flashes of dynamic speed and ability, but that’s all I saw.”

Highsmith didn’t have issue with Miller leaving. Most experts have the running back going in the second round, but Highsmith did have some thoughts about the early departures Marcus Forston, Olivier Vernon, Tommy Streeter and Brandon Washington.

“Forston is always hurt and he didn’t have a body of work,” Highsmith said. “Vernon maybe has the potential, but I didn’t notice him that much. If you’re a second or third-round pick, you should be able to get off a block on third and seven.”

Regarding Streeter, who didn’t see much action until last year – his junior season – Highsmith said that in general, “History shows one-year players with one-year stats are often busts in the NFL.” Highsmith feels that both Streeter and Washington definitely needed another year.

“I’m all for kids coming out if they can make money. But to be a sixth- or seventh-round pick, I don’t understand it,” said Highsmith. “Some guys don’t want to work and think pro football is easy. You’ve got to be tough to play for Al Golden. If you’re not willing to put in the time, the easy way out is to leave. But do you know how hard it is to make an NFL team?”

A big part of the second-year Golden regime will be this spring’s U-Tough workout, marking the second time some Canes will have taken on the off-season challenge.

According to Barry Jackson and The Miami Herald, one current player said that besides financial incentive, some players who left simply didn’t want to go through the off-season conditioning program again. Remember, most of the early departees didn’t even wait to get their assessment back from the NFL Draft review board before declaring.

When you add it all up, there really is no mystery as to the how and why this program compiled a 41-36 record since December 2005. Sure, there have been pockets of talent, some good collective units and some bright moments over the past half decade, but generally speaking, the culture at UM has been broken for years and needed a full-on overhaul to get right again.

Kids leaving early for later round money instead of busting ass as seniors, leading and investing in themselves? Mindboggling. U-Tough was created to whip this poorly conditioned unit into shape, which helps Miami football in the short- and long-term, but also helps any individual with NFL aspirations.

What does it say for your toughness if you don’t have the stones to take on your university’s conditioning program? You can’t handle your college coach’s style or rules, but you believe that you’re NFL-ready and next-level-tough?

The NFL is a cold, hard, unforgiving business. A shame a lot of these kids didn’t heed better advice when making such a life-changing decision.

Highsmith goes beyond not sugar-coating his feedback. He tells it like it is and the truth is that some of these kids made a big-time mistake.

A bit of advice for today’s Canes? Seeks wise counsel and listen to your older brothers who wore that same “U”. They’ve been where you’re at, they’ve been when you want to go and they’ve learned from their mistakes and the mistakes of others. Their wisdom is invaluable. Don’t waste it. – C.B.



5 thoughts on “Some Canes In For “Rude Awakening”

  1. Very nice write up. If these kids couldn’t handle Goldens training, I can’t WAIT to see how they handle OTL’s with the vets like Lewis & Brees demanding 100%

  2. Great post. The sad part is these guys think they can simply turn it on. Yeah they might get drafted, but will they take their NFL career seriously. I once heard someone say getting in the NFL is the easy part, staying in is the hard part. If you cannot commit to an offseason UTough schedule, how can you commit to a year round schedule that the NFL demands. If you want to stay in the NFL, its a daily grind. Hard work is not a light switch you can turn on or off. You either learn it at a young age and embrace it or you fall behind and fall short in life. I wish these guys nothing but the best and hope all their dreams come true. But if we look at their body of work, then I have no doubt most of the canes players at the combine will be out of the NFL within 3 years. The sad part is, they had a perfect example of one of their teammates leaving early last year and ended up drafted in the 3rd or 4th round. Not a good sign for longevity in the NFL if you cant even get on the field. Fulfill your obligations to your school and the rest will take care of itself.

  3. If you don’t want to go through Tough U under Golden because it’s too difficult, how do you expect to succeed in the NFL where you have to be self motivated? Yu have to push yourself in the offseason. Coaches aren’t going to do it. If you aren’t getting the job done, then someone else will get your roster spot. I’m not sure any of these guys can or want to push themselves.

    We NEED Tough U! This team wore down consistantly in second halves before Golden came along. These guys have to show that they won’t wear down over the course of games. Part of that is our current lack of depth (how long has this been an issue?) and part of that is conditioning. It just seems like other teams are outwilling us at times. Kansas State, V Tech, Virginia and Boston College were all games we had no business losing where we just didn’t step up. Golden is doing what it takes to change that and the guys who stayed are all in.

  4. Great article and finally, a printing what most of us Canes fans were thinking. I can almost guarantee that most of these guys will not make an NFL team or be in the NFL by this time next year. They were not even good college players, they were OK, but nothing outstanding. I figured they just did not want to play for Golden. Overall, Shannon’s recruits were pathetic.

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