Every year teams find players that finally come into their own and break onto the scene. Last year for the Hurricanes those players were Tommy Streeter and Jo Jo Nicolas. No one was expecting anything from the two upperclassmen, but they proved their critics wrong. Now they both have a great shot at getting drafted in April’s NFL Draft. There are quite a few breakout candidates on the 2012 roster, but Cane Insider is going to select one player from each side of the ball. Today we will look at defense.
When looking at the 2012 Hurricanes roster, Ray Ray Armstrong has the potential to take the place of Sean Spence as the leader of the defense. Some may say that Ray Ray shouldn’t be a candidate for breakout player because he was a five star coming out of high school and has been playing since his freshman season. This is true, but we have yet to see Ray Ray’s true potential.
There are a number of reasons why that Ray Ray can breakout onto the national scene in 2012. He will be in his second full season in Mark D’Onofrio’s defense. He will have his secondary mate back with him in Vaughn Telemaque, and he will have a chance to drastically improve his NFL Draft potential.
Armstrong will be in his second full season in Mark D’Onofrio ‘s defense so the talented safety should be able to react more without having to think so much on the field. Last year Armstrong missed the first four games of the season serving a suspension for his involvement in the Shapiro Case. Later in the season he was suspended for another game so he really only got seven games worth of action in 2011. If Ray Ray can stay healthy this season he can do some special things for the Hurricanes.
You can never underestimate the importance of chemistry in a secondary. Armstrong will be in his fourth full season playing alongside Vaughn Telemaque. These two talented safeties know where each other will be on the field without even having to look. There are not very many tandems in college football that can say they’ve been playing together as long as these two. It is an advantage to say the least.
Finally, Armstrong could have followed his five other teammates and declaring for draft in January, but instead he elected to stay for his senior season to improve his stock. Next year will be almost like a contract year for Armstrong he has to have a big season or his draft value can fall considerably. Ray Ray has a chance to go on the first day of the draft next year if he separates himself from the rest of the safeties in the nation.
We all know Armstrong has the physical tools that are on par with any safety in the nation. Next season we will finally get to see what we’ve been waiting for since this talented safety out of Sanford, Florida joined the Hurricanes in 2009. Ray Ray Armstrong will be an All Conference selection by year’s end and he also gets my vote for breakout player of the defense.