Perhaps by fate, maybe by coincidence, it was later that same year that the University of Miami, behind a quarterback named Kosar and coach named Schnellenberger (seen below with QB Jim Kelly), would win their first college football National Championship by beating Nebraska in the Orange Bowl.
That game, which put the UM program on the big-time college football map, has often been referred to as the "Miracle in Miami". Sean's Taylor's birth in April of that year could also be seen as a miracle for what this young man would soon bring to his team and its fans in his home town.
Sean grew up in a tough South Dade neighborhood and later attend Gulliver High School where he would help them win the Class 2A State Title. His spectacular play would help him become the #1 ranked prep player in Miami-Dade County by the Miami Herald. Sean was so dominant at the high school level that he played multiple positions including running back, linebacker and defensive back.
After a spectacular Senior season and a hotly contested recruiting battle, Sean decided to attend the University of Miami. It would prove to be somewhat ironic that Sean would wind up being one of only four true freshmen to play in 2001 on the Hurricanes fifth National Championship team.
Even at this early stage, Sean's life had seemingly come full circle. From being born during the Miracle in Miami season of 1983 to contributing to what was arguably the best UM team ever, the Canes 2001 championship team. Sean Taylor, a hometown boy had already grown to become a hometown hero and would eventually become a true legend to Canes fans in the 305 and beyond.
As Junior at UM in 2003, after beating FSU at Doak Campbell Stadium in the pouring rain seemingly all by himself, Sean would win a slew of college football awards. After that season, Sean decided it was time to take the next step in his carrer and would opt for the NFL draft.
He would be the first of six Canes selected in the first round that year (an NFL record) when he was drafted fifth overall by the Washington Redskins.
By 2006 there was no doubt that Sean Taylor had become the dominant player at his position and was honored by being selected to the NFL Pro-bowl that year. He was nicknamed "Meast" by teammates for being part man, part beast. Taylor would become one of the most feared hitters in the NFL and gained the respect of his peers at the highest level of competition.
Entering his third year as a Redskin, Sean seemed to be at the top of his game and the NFL talent pool. By the tenth week of the NFL season he was tied for the league lead in interceptions and was considered an automatic selection for his second straight Pro-Bowl.
Then came the fateful night of November 26, 2007.Sean Taylor, while at home asleep with his wife and 18 month-old daughter, awoke to a loud noise in his home. In an effort to protect his family, Sean confronted the would-be burglars. He was shot once and would later die from the severe loss of blood as his femoral artery was torn apart by the single bullet.
That night would end the life of a real Hurricane hero.
Sean Taylor's sudden and tragic death shocked his family, friends, teammates and the Hurricane faithful. When he died the day following the shooting, we promised to never forget his contributions to the University of Miami. This blog article is our simple way of proving that we have not forgotten Sean Taylor, #26, who played at The U and was proud to wear the orange and green.
Some memories and images never fade. And even now, if you close your eyes, you can probably still see him, #26 back peddaling into open space, picking off another deep pass, splashing through the rain and the mud at the Doak, weaving down the field behind several blockers, refusing to be denied and diving into the end zone for a pick six.
That is how we will remember Sean Taylor. As a miracle of a man who at times seemed completely capable of beating the other team all by himself.