Back in December of 2011 long-time Canespace blogger Hassan and I were roaming around the Citrus Bowl wearing our 'Canes gear in Orlando on a relatively cool and overcast day during the FSHAA State football playoffs.
We, like many Miami Hurricane fans in attendance that day, were there to see Miami Norland RB Duke Johnson, the highly regarded and highly recruited high school phenom who had already verbally committed to Miami and would soon arrive in Coral Gables.
And sure enough Duke was as good as advertised as he put on a show for all the fans from the 305 there to see Miami Norland win a State championship. Johnson scored on a few amazing returns and touchdown runs.
He later celebrated with his mother in the stands as we all witnessed a star in the making. We all knew that Duke would soon wear "The U" on his helmet and play for his hometown Hurricanes.
But what many fans did not see was two equally important things:
(1) #75 the big offensive tackle for the Norland Vikings that paved the way for much of Johnson's sucess during the game and the entire season; and
(2) legendary UM offensive line coach Art Kehoe sitting in the stands with Ereck Flowers' parents.
Forunately for Hassan and I, we quickly saw both.
We watched Flowers dominate the line of scrimmage all game long as he pancaked defender after defender during the championship game. By the end of the game we shared a laugh with several Norland fans in the stands who joked that "Flowers had served up more pancakes than IHOP!"
We also had the unique and rare chance to sit and chat with Coach Kehoe for about an hour. He was of course strategically positioned in the stands right next to Flowers' parents who were there to see their son win a FHSAA State Championship. Kehoe openly marveled about Flowers' size, talent and potential as a high school player and major college D-1 prospect.
Well apparently Flowers transition from a raw high school talent into a solid college player has gone without a hitch. Not only did the true Freshman start the first game of the season on the road against Boston College he also graded out at 94% for the game.
That performance drew praise from UM head coach Al Golden and left the UM offensive coaches wondering about where to play OL Seantrel Henderson who now sits behind Flowers on the latest depth chart.
While many Miami fans may be surprised at Flowers' starting the first game as a true Freshman it did not come as any surprise to Hassan or I.
Hassan managed to stick around for day 2 of the State playoffs and luckily had the chance to briefly talk to the big offensive lineman and his parents in the stands once again that following day.
That was when Flowers lowered his head, looked Hassan in the eye, and told him that he would be a Miami Hurricane and start at right tackle in game one as a Freshman.
Obviously Ereck Flowers is a man of his word.
We like that. Yeah, we like that a lot.