Historically, the university of Miami has produced very good wide receivers. But the ‘Canes are currently waiting to see who emerges. The Hurricanes group of pass catchers look impressive on paper, many of whom were blue chip prospects in high school. While stars look attractive on the internet, there hasn’t been much production. Since the graduation of Braxton Berrios in 2017, Miami’s receivers have individually failed to amass over 600 yards in a season. Going into 2020, question marks fill Miami’s wide receivers room.
Different factors such as offensive scheme and quarterback changes have affected the play of the group. Overall, the whole the group lacks a player that can cause chaos for a defense like Ahmon Richards prior to his career ending injury.
Question Marks Fill Miami’s Wide Receivers Room
The Hurricanes have been searching for the next guy to step up and lead the charge as a playmaker. There hasn’t been much consistency but a few guys have shown promise at one point or another in their career thus far. With D’Eriq King at quarterback, the passing game should be much improved. One target that he’ll be sure to create chemistry with is junior receiver Dee Wiggins. As a sophomore last season, Wiggins caught 20 passes for 355 yards and four touchdowns. His two biggest games came against Florida State and Louisville, in back to back weeks. In those games he displayed his speed on deep passes, which helped propel Miami to big wins. He scored three of his four touchdowns on the season within those two games.
Another target that Miami will be leaning on more than they’ve had is Mike Harley, who will be the Hurricanes only senior wideout. In his career, Harley has totaled 68 catches for 816 yards and three touchdowns. Playing in a new spread offense with Rhett Lashlee calling the plays, Harley is looking to be featured much like James Proche was at SMU under Lashlee. As a slot receiver he will be targeted frequently and has the opportunity to put up big numbers.
Mark Pope should also be playing in the slot along with a more enhanced role in special teams as a returner. The first two seasons of Pope’s career have been lackluster, although he is very talented, he hasn’t played much. Miami will be depending on him to have a breakout season and play up to his potential that made him an All-American out of high school. The addition of Rob Likens as the new receiver coach should help Pope’s development. Likens has already sung the praises of him early in spring practice calling his abilities “freakish“. This will be Pope’s third receiver coach in three years but none have produced back to back first round picks like Likens has at Arizona State.
It’s highly likely, Miami will have to find production from one of the five freshman receivers. One of which Jeremiah Payton, is a redshirt freshmen who many felt should’ve played more last season. After appearing in four games, Miami made the decision to conserve his redshirt. Payton is Miami’s highest rated receiver on the team according 247 Sports Composite. Last season after enrolling at Miami as a 17 year old, he would dominate the entire spring. He was in a select group to score a touchdown every scrimmage, which is why many were shocked he did not play last season. It’s possible that Payton could be the playmaker that Miami has been missing in recent years.
True freshmen will also get an opportunity to come in and earn some playing time. Before Covid19 ended spring football, Miami was raving about early enrollee Xavier Restrepo. Coaches believe he will be able to make an impact as a true freshman and also in special teams. Dazalin Worsham also gained early praise in the spring and seemed to showcase ability to go up and catch passes over defenders. The Hurricanes got Keyshawn Smith to also enroll early and his speed caught a lot of eyes. Michael Redding who was limited in spring due to wrist surgery has fully healed since then. He comes to Miami as an Under Armor All-American from national powerhouse, IMG academy.