By David Villavicencio
CORAL GABLES, Fla. – The Miami Hurricanes have a long tradition of homegrown talent showcasing itself on the football field.
Canes legends like Michael Irvin, Sean Taylor, Jonathan Vilma, Santana Moss and Bennie Blades are just a handful of South Florida natives who shined while donning Miami’s orange and green.
Over the course of the 2013 football season, HurricaneSports.com will honor a Hurricane football player with South Florida ties as the Milam’s Market Homegrown Athlete of the Week. This week’s player spotlight is Hollywood, Fla., native Thurston Armbrister.
South Florida is a hotbed for football talent with colleges and universities coming from all over the country looking for the next great student-athlete to help their program.
With so many skilled players in the area, it can be easy for some players to be overlooked by schools, especially if they play for a non-traditional powerhouse high school. But sometimes it’s the under the radar players who end up making a big difference.
Miami linebacker Thurston Armbrister is a perfect example of an impact player who flew under the radar in high school.
As a senior at Hollywood Hills High School, Armbrister was a lightly recruited safety who boasted just one scholarship offer before the University of Miami watched his game film.
But the Canes coaches liked what they saw from the 6-foot-2 athlete and made him a late offer to join their program. Armbrister chose to join the Hurricanes and has developed into key member of Miami’s defense.
A tall and lanky safety when he arrived in Coral Gables in 2011, Armbrister redshirted that season as he converted to an athletic and versatile linebacker.
Armbrister got his first taste of college football in 2012, playing in all 12 games as a redshirt freshman.
His transition to linebacker went smoothly and his development led to the young talent earning four starts at outside linebacker, including the final three games of the season. While he was adjusting to linebacker, Armbrister managed to finish ninth on the team in tackles with 40.
As a sophomore, Armbrister has been unleashed on opposing offenses.
Now 6-foot-3 and 233 lbs., Armbrister has developed physically and mentally and his growth as a player is evident on the field.
Armbrister has played in all six games this season, starting three. He recorded the first sack of his career is the season opener against FAU. A week later, Armbrister recovered his career-first fumble in Miami’s win against No. 9/12 Florida.
The talented ‘backer will look to continue making a difference for the Hurricanes as they battle against Wake Forest, Florida State and the rest of their ACC foes.