Back in 2009 Aravious "Ray-Ray" Armstrong was one of the highest ranked high school recruits in the entire Nation at Seminole High School in Sanford, Florida. Every college team in the Country wanted to sign him to a Letter of Intent and there was little if any doubt that he would be a huge success.
It seemed at the time that the University of Miami was fortunate to win Mr. Armstrong's commitment and services. From the day he signed his LOI with Miami, comparisons were already being made to another famous player who played safety and wore #26 at UM.
When I met him for the first time I was absolutely convinced that it was a 100% absolute certainty that Ray Ray would make everybody forget about storied Hurricane safety Sean Taylor. But that was then, this is now.
After a few years of hits and misses, and just average performance on the field and a lot of negative attention off the field, one of the most over-hyped and most-liked players on the entire UM roster is now a part of Hurricane history.
It seems that Mr. Armstrong got the Golden boot as of yesterday, Coral Gables time. And for that we are all collectively sad as a Hurricane Family. We all now probably realize and must admit that the hopes and expectations for Ray Ray were probably way too high from the start.
But that is the nature of college football recruiting today. Hype them up and then watch them fall. Sure Armstrong had talent and size and speed. But if every player who matched that description lived up to their potential then we wouldn't need Rivals, Scout or ESPN now would we?
The question may come down to who would U want as your teammate? Aravious Armstrong or Mike James? To many the answer seems simple. Mike James is the perfect image of a motivated, dedicated and commited team player. Ray Ray? Well maybe not so much.
Some would argue that the bottom line is that Seminole County is not Dade County. That the talent level is simply not the same. But I would disagree. There are many talented players all across the great State of Florida and all across the USA.
To me what separates the good from the great is drive, heart and desire. Sure you might be able to run fast or jump high or bench press 300 pounds. But what is your level of desire to be great and is your mental attitude one that supports your success?
I, like all Hurricane fans, loved Ray Ray Armstrong as a person and a player. We all wanted him to succeed at Miami. Unfortunately it did not work out as planned.
And now disappointment is all we have to live with in the curious case of Aravious Armstrong.