Insert Dan Morgan

What if you were able to take a Hurricane great and implant him firmly on today’s roster? The University of Miami has some talent in 2022. Arguably one of its deepest rosters in years. However some position groups could use a proverbial jolt. In the last ten years, only four linebackers have been selected in the NFL draft.

The OBB position preview featured a linebacker core with Corey Flagg Jr, Caleb Johnson, Waymond Steed Jr, Keontra Smith, Chase Smith, Wesley Bissainthe, Avery Huff and Ryan Ragone. These will be the names counted upon to resurge a group who was often misaligned and misrepresented in 2021. 

One past legend, one former giant could revamp this position group to be one of the most formidable in the nation. In 2000, Daniel Thomas Morgan was the first college player in history to obtain three defensive major national awards. The Butkus Award, Bednarik Award and Nagurski award for College Defensive Player of the Year all live on Morgan’s mantle.

Morgan was a rare bread of speed, power and unadulterated terror. A three time ALL BIG EAST first team selection played the majority of his sophomore year with a broken thumb, Morgan was fearless. Last year a linebacker on Miami’s roster led the team in tackles, Flagg had 60 total. Imagine having an option who had 138 in a single season? The Miami career record of 532 total tackles belongs firmly in Morgan’s grasp.

Suddenly a defense whose calling card was missed tackles becomes sure fire. A sideline to sideline ravenous watch dog would track you down the second you sensed daylight. It was just a figment of an opposing running back’s imagination. There was no hole to run through. It was a back alley where the biggest of all bully’s was waiting to take your lunch money.

Miami did in fact get help this year via the transfer portal. Linebacker Caleb Johnson made his way from UCLA and will look to bolster the middle. But if you added up every single linebacker’s total tackle count on this roster, they STILL don’t eclipse Morgan’s tally.

In 1997 Morgan had a career high 21 tackles, including 14 solo, vs. the Virginia Tech Hokies. That singular game performance would place Morgan 18th in total tackles a year ago and rank ahead of 32 other Miami defenders who registered tackles. In one game!

The Carolina Panthers would select the All-American Morgan 11th overall in the 2001 NFL Draft. Dan Played a total of seven seasons and was even selected to a Pro Bowl in 2004. Big time players show up in big time games and the linebacker netted 18 total tackles in Super Bowl XXXVIII against the hoody and the New England Patriots.

Insert Dan Morgan into the current linebacker room and you instantly go from worried to recklessly unafraid. A National Football Foundation’s College Football Hall of Fame in 2021 selection will give you that resounding comfort. How could it not? Sometimes sports and statistics do an unfathomable matrimony. Those 532 total career tackles do not seem real.

Number 44 would undoubtedly be the unsung hero and starter on defense in 2022. He would have transformed and transcended the linebacker room with his unabated style and physicality. Morgan would have shaken hands with coach Mario Cristobal and it would have been a cosmic stalemate. That’s what happens in a universe when two intense bad asses lock horns. No one backs down.

About the Author: Roman Marciante

Born and raised in South Florida. Local Boy. Husband. Tali and Franco’s dad. “Hey grandpa, is there a local college team we can watch?” “Do they throw the ball?” They don’t run the option do they?” Thus the love affair was born. Proud supporter of St Thomas Aquinas Raider nation and alum. One day got in a studio with two other buddy’s and started a conversation about a local team and the rest was history. A former pro athlete who secretly had a CIA job and some people call “Chief.” Yells “Bang” a lot. “It is not wrong, it is just different.” Managing Editor for the OBB Legend, host of X’s and Ro and Student of the Game connoisseur. I still remember the day I beat Mike Tyson in a fight. 007-373-5963. Thanks for all your help Mac. I couldn’t have done it without you.

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