We continue our countdown today by highlighting players who have worn number 19 for the University of Miami, giving Hurricane fans what they need during this offseason.
A safety for Miami in the early 90s, C.J. Richardson was a safety who played with reckless intent when tackling ball carriers. A two-sport star in baseball and football at Dallas Spruce High School in Texas, Richardson initially believed that he could play both sports at UM his freshman year. However, he found himself battling for a starting spot at safety, which forced him to focus on football.
If you asked around about Richardson, it’s the force he brought with each hit that set him apart from others. Then head coach Dennis Erickson praised Richardson: "He’s probably the hardest hitter we’ve had in the secondary since Bobby Harden," he said, according to Randall Mell of the Sun Sentinel.
Richardson played for Miami for three seasons. In 1993 he tied for third in the Big East in interceptions with three. He was named an All-American after the 1994 season. By the end of his UM career, Richardson had tallied five career interceptions and earned accolades, which propelled him to the NFL.
Richardson played for both the Arizona Cardinals and Seattle Seahawks during his pro career, which lasted from 1995 to 1997.
Perhaps it’s the school. Maybe it’s the number. It’s possibly the players themselves. Whatever the reason, you could make a similar comparison between Brandon Meriweather and the previously mentioned C.J. Richardson.
Meriweather looked to make the big hit on opponents when they trespassed in front of him, attempting to dislodge the ball from the carrier and take their feet off the ground for good measure.
Although he had been a high school star when he arrived at Miami from Apopka High School, where he won a Florida Class 6A state championship in 2001, Meriweather was unable to make a splash his freshman season. He suffered an ankle injury after playing three games that season, and he was granted a medical redshirt. He returned the following season to make an impact both in special teams and as a nickel defensive back.
Meriweather moved to free safety in his junior season. He was truly a gift to the Miami defense, as he could be lined up at different positions depending on the matchup.
Meriweather concluded his UM career with 146 tackles, 17.5 tackles for loss, 2 sacks, and 7 interceptions. Sadly, his accomplishments at UM tend to get overshadowed by several unfortunate incidences. Notwithstanding these events, he went on to be a first-round selection by the New England Patriots in the 2007 NFL Draft. Managing to be a impactful player in the NFL for nine seasons, Meriweather ended his career in 2015.
Punters are people too! Kalal served as UM’s punter from 1988 to 1989. Credited for his ability to put great hang time on his punts and to pin opponents within the 20, Kalal served as the holder on field goals for Carlos Huerta.
In the two seasons that Darrell Fullington was a member of the Hurricanes secondary, where he would go on to snag 5 interceptions during the 1984 season alone. While there are some that still have animosity for the plays that Fullington didn’t make in the second half against Maryland in the 1984 season and that play that made Flutie a household name. Regardless, Fullington was drafted in the 5th round of the 1988 NFL Draft by the Minnesota Vikings. In his five NFL seasons, he was also a member of the New England Patriots, finishing as a Tampa Bay Buccaneer. Fullington would start at safety, while later in his career he was converted to be a nickel back.
Tavokius Banner (1995–1998)
IT’S ALWAYS ABOUT THE U!