There may be a quarterback battle in training camp brewing, but whoever gets the job will have weapons. A position of strength for next season looks to be the wideout core, which looks to be considerably stronger.
Depth Not A Concern For Miami’s Wide Receivers
Although the Hurricanes lose the ultra production of Braxton Berrios to graduation, Miami has recruited well. In the spring, the Hurricanes were able to get Dee Wiggins and Brian Hightower enrolled early from high school. During the spring game Hightower stood out with four catches for over 100 yards and two touchdowns.
If you were to take a peek inside Miami’s wide receiver room, most would notice the sheer size of some of the wideouts. Lawrence Cager‘s career at Miami has been inconsistent, to say the least, due to injuries. At six foot-five 220 pounds he may possess the most upside out of any player on the Hurricanes roster, if he can put everything together. In the Orange Bowl against the Wisconsin Badgers, Cager looked to finally have regained full confidence in his knee which sidelined him for the 2016 season. His leaping ability coupled with his big frame gives him a catch radius that most wideouts just don’t have access to.
Darrell Langham is another big body wideout, who is most recognizable for his game winning catch against Florida State last season. That touchdown catch broke the win streak that the Seminoles had over Miami for seven seasons. Even more astounding was that on the play in which Langham scored, it was only his second play of the entire game. The following week against Georgia Tech, he would have a five catch, 100 yard performance and another clutch catch that would lead to a game winning field goal. After those games Langham was relatively quiet, only catching two more passes for the rest of the season. So the question on the mind of many is whether or not he will actually have a role for next season? He flashed his ability to use his six foot five frame but he is still somewhat inconsistent.
The Speed Freaks
One of Mark Richt‘s main priorities upon his arrival at Miami was getting faster. The overall speed at the wide receiver position was not at the level in which he believed would frighten opponents. Fast forward after two seasons and Miami has legit world class speed at the position. Jeff Thomas wears the number 4 jersey and reminds many of Devin Hester, his speed is something that coaches have raved about this spring. As a high school senior he won the “Fastest Man” competition at Nike’s ‘The Opening’.
— CanesCutUps (@canescutups) April 20, 2018
Mike Harley is another freshman with more than enough speed to burn a defender. There was supposed to be an alleged race between Harley and Thomas to determine who is faster once both enrolled last season. Not sure it actually happened, but at the conclusion of spring football Harley will be racing more. He doubles as a member of the University of Miami’s track and field team. Harley specializes in the 4×100 meter and the 4×400 meter.
Ahmon Richards is arguably Miami’s best player on the entire team. He is the headliner at wide receiver, even coming off of a sophomore season littered with injuries. Early in the season hamstring injuries limited him and a torn meniscus sidelined Richards before the ACC Championship. He is already a projected first round pick in next season’s NFL Draft and was timed at a 4.31 forty as a freshman. The standout receiver that broke Michael Irvin’s freshman receiving yards record isn’t back to that form as of yet but is getting close.
In shoes https://t.co/ZgZgggYPON
— Ahmmon Richards (@AhmmonR2) April 25, 2018
New Kids On The Block
There is still a host of young wideouts that Miami expects to come in and compete right away. The aforementioned Hightower and Wiggins are just two of the four receivers signed in the past recruiting class. Mark Pope is a highly touted signee and is another guy from Miami with real speed. He figures to find a role on special teams immediately with his return ability and elusiveness in the open field. The high school senior just wrapped up his track and field season, where he clocked a 10.53 100 meter dash time.
Marquez Ezzard is an interesting receiver from the state of Georgia. He doesn’t fit into the transformers category and isn’t exactly a speed freak either. What he does excel at is being extremely physical after the catch. Mark Richt on signing day compared his style of play to a ‘heavyweight boxer’. He also has a skill for making contested catches despite the position of the defender. Regardless if he plays this season, he figures to have a role in Miami’s offense later on in his career.
Although he has already been apart of the team for a season Evidence Njoku is still relatively new to fans. Last season Miami planned on redshirting the New Jersey native and unfortunately during practice he injured his knee. At six foot six, Njoku definitely would be considered a transformer. He could perhaps be a tight end like his older brother, David, who was a first round pick. Depending on the progress during his rehabilitation Evidence could be the matchup threat in the future, especially red zone situations.