When he arrived at Miami University, safety Ray Ray Armstrong was heralded as a player with the potential to be one of college football’s biggest stars. Now, after a troubled career as a Hurricane, Armstrong is set to play his senior year at Faulkner College, a NAIA program located in Alabama.
Prior to his dismissal from Miami, Armstrong was set to be one of the top ranked players in the draft at his position. Will he still be a player teams are willing to look at early in the draft, or will the latest turn in his career mean his draft stock takes a major hit as well?
Unlike many of the high profile transfers that have occured over the past several months, Armstrong’s dismissal from Miami didn’t have to do with failed drug tests or other run ins with the law. Armstrong’s problems was that far too often became involved with boosters. Following the Nevin Shapiro controversy that hung over Miami’s campus for so long, the Hurricanes’ athletic department couldn’t be too forgiving when any of their players became involved with boosters.
So in spite of the fact that Armstrong was arguably the U’s best defensive player, his third suspension for inappropriate contact with Miami donors eventually resulted in his exit from the program.
Immediately following the decision, Armstrong and his family began to weigh their legal options, including the possibility of filing an injunction against the school. They felt that the NCAA and the school hadn’t been fair in their handling of the situation and that Armstrong should have still been eligible to play for the Hurricanes.
Armstrong gave up that fight on Monday, and announced his intentions to play for Faulkner Colllege, a NAIA program. The decision to play in the NAIA instead of a FCS level program is notable because it indicates that Miami University & and NCAA ruled that Armstrong was ineligible to play at any NCAA program.
The decision to play for the Eagles is an interesting one. The Mid-South Conference member isn’t particularly close to home for Armstrong, who is a Florida native. Faulkner hasn’t been particularly successful in the past several seasons, and they finished with a 3-7 record in 2011. With that being said, their 2012 schedule features some of the top NAIA programs in the south east, so Armstrong will be able to play against some of the best competition that this level of play can provide.
Regardless of what the schedule looks like, Armstrong will have to have an exceptional season on and off the field in order to salvage his value in the eyes of NFL teams. There’s no question about his on the field talent. Now he has to prove that he has the dedication to keep his game at a high level on the field in spite of his circumstances, and that he’s able to keep a clean record off it.