If you follow football then you probaly have heard of several dynamic running back combinations that go by the name of "Thunder and Lightning".
One of the first combinations involved former college football star Ron Dayne and NFL player Tiki Barber when both where with the New York Giants in 2000. Dayne won the Heisman Trophy in 1999 and his career rushing total remains an NCAA record.
College running backs Reggie Bush and Lendale White reintroduced the "Thunder and Lightning" moniker once again while at USC in 2006. Of course that was before the NCAA eventually stole the lightning from its thunder and the Trojans got severely spanked.
Another even more recent example of the feared combination of power and speed was Clemson's James Davis and CJ Spiller (the known Hurricane killer). Those two were declared dangerous in 2008.
Sure Thunder and Lightining had its day but now all of the talk is about Smash and Dash. What, you haven't heard about that tandem yet? Well you should have and believe me if you haven't then you most certainly will this football season.
Many experts agree that the Miami Hurricanes will have one of the most talented duos in all of college football this season. The terrific twosome at UM will consist of Mike "Smash" James and Lamar "Dash" Miller.
Because of the universally recognized NFL talent at running back this year at Miami and with UM expected to dedicate its offense to the running game this season we thought we would profile these two outstanding athletes that will hold down the backfield for the Hurricanes in 2011.
In this two-part series we will feature each of the featured backs for the Miami Hurricanes this season. Today we look at "Smash" otherwise known as UM running back Mike James.
We first met Mike James back in 2009 when he was a serious looking, bright eyed freshman on National Signing Day who had arrived at UM as a relatively lightly recruited running back from Ridge High School in Davenport, FL near Orlando.
This is James' high school summary found at www.hurricanesports.com:
HIGH SCHOOL:Enrolled at UM in January ... No. 18 best running back prospect by Scout.com, No. 21 best running back prospect by Rivals.com and No. 33 running back by ESPN.com ... Named The Ledger's All-County First Team running back ... Press Register's Super Southeast 120 ... FSWA Third Team All-State Honorable Mention ... Ran for 1,300 rushing yards and 15 touchdowns as a senior while also returning a punt return and two kickoffs for touchdowns ... Rushed 198 times for 1,108 yards with 15 touchdowns as a junior and had four receiving touchdowns ... Coached by Richard Tate.
The three things that stand out when you meet Mike is his solid physical build, his polite, respectful manner and his never ending smile that would earn him the nickname of "Smiley" at UM.
He played as a true freshman in his first season at UM and managed to break into the Hurricanes backfield that was then loaded with co-starters Javaris James and Graig Cooper.
Then in 2010 he shared duties once again with Cooper and new starter Damien Berry. James' record, even as a backup player, is still quite impressive since arriving at UM:
2009 (FRESHMAN): Played in all 13 games for the Hurricanes, spending the majority of the season playing fullback ... Carried 15 times for 46 yards and one touchdown ... Averaged 3.1 yards per carry ... Also had 15 receptions for 105 yards ...Also returned kicks and had 17 returns for 363 yards including a 40-yard return against Georgia Tech and 41 yard return against Florida A&M ... Had three returns for 75 yards at Wake Forest and four returns for 82 yards at North Carolina.
2010 (SOPHOMORE): Played in all 13 games, starting three...Carried the ball 70 times for 398 yards, third most on the team... Scored three rushing and one receiving touchdown on the year...Had the most catches of any Hurricane running back with 13... Averaged 4.3 yards per catch and 5.7 yards per carry.
Instead of feeling sorry for himself, Mike simply stepped up his game and re-dedicated himself to his sport stating that this is exactly what his mother would have wanted.
This Spring, as he sat under the bleachers at Lockhart Stadium in Fort Lauderdale and answered questions, he looked like a man on a mission. He is a clearly man with vision, a certain purpose and a clear destiny for his future.
He is the type of person that every fan cheers for.
And he is the type of football player that every coach loves.
But then who wouldn't love a guy like Mike James?