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Spring Preview: Wide Receivers

Spring Preview: Wide Receivers

Cory Grimes
There is an obvious spotlight surrounding the quarterback competition headed into spring practice. Everyone is eager to see who will take the reins of the offense. Regardless of who is taking the snaps, he will have no shortage of options on the outside. While the graduation of Braxton Berrios, who was the team leader in yards, receptions and touchdowns last year, will leave some enormous shoes to fill, the offense is in good hands with this group of pass catchers. Ahmmon Richards looks to avenge an injury laden 2017 campaign, and Jeff Thomas seems poised for a breakout sophomore season. Lawrence Cager showed the potential to be a serious problem in the red zone at time last year, but can he do it on a weekly basis? CMR brought a wave of young receivers who will be able to provide an immediate impact in 2018. With a mix of speed, size, experience and youth, there is a lot to be excited about with this group of receivers going into the spring.

The expectations were through the roof for Ahmmon Richards a year ago after being named Freshman All-American. He showed his potential to be the next great wideout at The U. However, ankle and hamstring injuries hampered him all year, and eventually the meniscus tear that ended his season, led to a disappointing year for Richards. There is no denying Richards’s ability. As long as he is on the field, he will be the go to guy on the outside in 2018. Richards is likely to be limited during spring as he works his way back from the knee injury, which will leave more reps for the rest of the group.

With waterbug quickness and elite top end speed, sophomore Jeff Thomas proved he can blow the top off a defense at any moment as he averaged 22 yards a catch in 2017. Thomas will look to be more than just a deep threat this year. Richt will likely find creative ways to get Thomas the ball in space. Expect him to spend a lot of time on the outside as well as in the slot. Look for Thomas to improve his route running in the spring, as he could use some improvement controlling his speed in and out of his breaks. All signs point to Thomas playing a key role in the offense in 2018.
At 5’9”, fellow sophomore Mike Harley has a similar skillset and stature of Jeff Thomas. Harley caught 9 balls for 91 yards in 2017. The St. Thomas Aquinas graduate will look to make a name for himself in this talented group of receivers. The spring will be a great opportunity for Harley to show he can be a major playmaker for this offense.

Redshirt junior Lawrence Cager seemed to be unguardable at times last year, but he would also have games where he’d go virtually unnoticed. He reeled in 16 catches for 237 and 3 TD’s in 2017. With his 6’5” frame, he showed he can be a nightmare in the red zone. Cager will look to play more of a consistent role in the offense on a week to week basis and even push for a starting role on the outside in the spring.

Darrell Langham and Dayall Harris, who both caught a pair of TD’s last year, are the two seniors in this group. Harris’ career at Miami has been dicey. He looks to end it on a high note in 2018. He will provide experience and depth to the receiving core. While Darrel Langham only caught 11 balls last year, not many Hurricanes had a larger impact on the course of the season in 2017 than Langham did. His mitts saved two W’s for the Canes last year. Big numbers aren’t expected from the senior, but something says he may have saved a little magic for 2018. These two seniors can hopefully help provide much needed leadership and wisdom to the group of young receivers coming in.

Redshirt freshman Evidence Njoku seems to be a bit of a wild card among this bunch. At 6’4” about 200 pounds, it is unclear whether his future lies at tight end or receiver. In today’s game, does that really matter? Njoku is still a very raw talent with an extremely high ceiling. Keep an eye on his development in spring practice. If he can develop into anything like his brother David, the Canes will have yet another weapon on offense.

Talented early enrollees Brian Hightower, out of IMG, and Daquris Wiggins, from Southridge, will get their first taste of college football with some crucial reps this spring. Both guys will add depth to the roster. Hightower, an Army-All American, is very polished for a freshman, and he is the prototypical receiver standing at 6’3” 200 pounds. He could push for some serious playing time this fall.

Rounding out the rest of the group are incoming freshman Mark Pope and Marquez Ezzard, who will touch down on campus this summer. Both guys have serious big play ability. This group of freshman receivers will make some serious competition at practice. These guys aren’t going to be satisfied with just adding depth. Look for Pope and others to make some big time plays this fall.
 

Comments (24)

Offense will definitely have to be redesigned to strategically utilize the many skill sets we'll have at WR, TE and RB. CMR will have to use bunch set, expand route tree, more motion (WR, RB and TE), spread and pro-set spread. None of that we don't have the OL talent to do so. You had it to run what you were running or is it more a lack of OC ability to do so?
 
Langham and Harris should be designated to the Bench and only come on the field in mop up duty. Honestly not a fan of Harris, and he's got off the field problems like Irvin jr. Langham I like because of what he did last yr. But with this stable of WRs, sorry he doesn't have the talent these dawgs we're bringing in do
 
Langham and Harris should be designated to the Bench and only come on the field in mop up duty. Honestly not a fan of Harris, and he's got off the field problems like Irvin jr. Langham I like because of what he did last yr. But with this stable of WRs, sorry he doesn't have the talent these dawgs we're bringing in do


Lol Langham balled out all of last spring and fall camp and Harris can play any WR position. Having them two guys on the field only helps us as a team..

You guys have to stop falling in love with freshman because they had more stars in high school
 
Lol Langham balled out all of last spring and fall camp and Harris can play any WR position. Having them two guys on the field only helps us as a team..

You guys have to stop falling in love with freshman because they had more stars in high school
I'm greatful for langham .. but there was a lot to be desired from him this season it's not absurd to think one of the freshman coming in or someone else to take his spot
 
rolling out new guy after new guy. ha. .this one seems not bad.. good luck, Cory.. Although i would have liked a little bit more insight.. Maybe make some calls now that you are a media member, because although what you said seems a lot better than what the other new guys said- it was still all information all of us on here pretty much already knew. But whatever, it seems like you at least get it. I wish you well.
 
I'm greatful for langham .. but there was a lot to be desired from him this season it's not absurd to think one of the freshman coming in or someone else to take his spot


I agree with you.. pope/Hightower are talented enough to start IMO but with the way we play it’s gonna take more than talent to start..

You got to keep in mind that we have the best blocking WRs in the nation and to expect freshman to be on the same level as seniors in that department is asking a lot
 
I agree with you.. pope/Hightower are talented enough to start IMO but with the way we play it’s gonna take more than talent to start..

You got to keep in mind that we have the best blocking WRs in the nation and to expect freshman to be on the same level as seniors in that department is asking a lot
Yea but I mean we had good freshmen blocking this year .. Especially liked what I saw from mike Harley regardless we're in good shape this upcoming season at receiver
 
Langham and Harris should be designated to the Bench and only come on the field in mop up duty. Honestly not a fan of Harris, and he's got off the field problems like Irvin jr. Langham I like because of what he did last yr. But with this stable of WRs, sorry he doesn't have the talent these dawgs we're bringing in do
I like Langham. He needs to use his big frame and bully the DBs more. I'd like to see him move to the flex TE position. If he put on 15 lbs of good weight he could be a legit NFL TE prospect.
 
Njoku is 6'6" not 6'4". He's taller than his brother David. Dude has Inspector Gadget wing span. Should be unstoppable in the red zone and a 3rd down chain mover.
 
stop with Langham and Harris. I'm never one of the "the incoming guys are better than the guys already here" people, but, Langham happened to make 2 catches that were awesome, but, he's not that good. and Harris,? who knows, but, these guys aren't as talented as Hightower and pope etc.
 
Maybe I am missing something (interviews, articles, tweets, etc...) but Richt and Dugans have repeatedly stated that Thomas will remain on the outside. Did something change? If not, I don't see Thomas logging a lot of time in the slot. Though they will be true freshmen, it would not shock me at all if Pope and Brevin Jordan took the majority of the snaps in the slot. I can see Brevin being used in the slot similar to how we used Njoku.
 
Maybe I am missing something (interviews, articles, tweets, etc...) but Richt and Dugans have repeatedly stated that Thomas will remain on the outside. Did something change? If not, I don't see Thomas logging a lot of time in the slot. Though they will be true freshmen, it would not shock me at all if Pope and Brevin Jordan took the majority of the snaps in the slot. I can see Brevin being used in the slot similar to how we used Njoku.

Imo Thomas will play both, a formation with Richards and Cager on the outside and Thomas in the slot isnt out of the realm of possibility.
 
Imo Thomas will play both, a formation with Richards and Cager on the outside and Thomas in the slot isnt out of the realm of possibility.
This is what I think as well. I think Thomas is very good at both spots, but outside is his best. However Cager is one of our 3 best receivers, and needs to see the field. I’d have Thomas playing both, with him going to the slot when Cager is in
 
If we have a QB starting for us that has horrific ball placement and we aren't running Cager, Langham, Richards, Njoku, Ezzard, whomever with a large catch radius on posts, slants, and ins, someone needs to take away someones playcalling. Lack of Berrios and Herndon going to hurt, A LOT. Both players bailed Rosier out more than I could count throughout the year. Also, not sure who plays the dump off on bubbles going forward.
 
People who are counting out Langham and Harris are sounding a lot like people who counted out Barrios last spring.

I never under estimate a senior WR and their impact on a squad.


As for slot, I think Harley will probably get it with Thomas staying on the outside.
I also personally would like to see Dallas lined up in the slot at times too.
 
Imo Thomas will play both, a formation with Richards and Cager on the outside and Thomas in the slot isnt out of the realm of possibility.
I agree that it is not out of the realm of possibilities. I simply stated that I don't see Thomas logging a lot of time there. We should have our players in the positions that they are going to do the most damage in, and though Thomas can play the slot, he is much better on the outside.
 

2022 Commits

WR
6'2"
185
Nashville, TN
CB
6'0"
160
Lexington, MS
QB
6'4"
205
Valdosta, GA
CB
6'1"
175
Fort Myers, FL
CB
6'2"
180
Alabaster, AL
S
6'1"
170
Orlando, FL
WR
6'1"
185
Mandeville, LA
MLB
6'1"
210
Manvel, TX
OT
6'7"
275
Sandersville, GA

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