As UM football continues to slog towards Chestnut Hill, we here at the 7th Floor will breakdown each position group on the team. Today we look at the wide receivers. Miami has produced stars at this position, but that's probably not going to be the case this year— not on paper, at least.
Previous previews: quarterbacks, running backs
Miami has officially graduated a "generation" of receivers. Familiar faces— Travis Benjamin, Tommy Streeter, LaRon Byrd— are all gone. They have left a sizable void, and this group of pass catchers will really have to step up if Miami's offense is going to move the ball consistently. There are some players here who have contributed in spurts, but a lot more that haven't.
Let's look at how the pass catchers stack up.
PHILLIP DORSETT / Soph. / 5' 10", 186 / Fort Lauderdale, Fla.
2011 stats: 14 rec., 147 yds, 1 TD
Pressure is on Dorsett. The bite-size true sophomore showed glimpses of the reliable target that he will likely become, but he's now the no. 2 returning receiver at Miami. That's a big jump for a player who had the same amount of receptions but 16 less yards in 2011 than running back Eduardo Clements. Dorsett will likely work out of the slot this year, where his quickness can be utilized and his lack of size isn't much of an issue. If he stays healthy, he will potentially come close to tripling his catches and yards from 2011, but it's hard to imagine anything more than that. Whether that's enough to help power Miami's offense to where it needs to be remains to be seen.
ALLEN HURNS / Junior / 6' 3", 190 / Miami, Fla.
2011 stats: 31 rec., 415 yds, 4 TD
Hurns is Miami's top receiver now, and he looked the part at times last year. He was UM's leading receiver in its opening game vs. Maryland, and hauled in two touchdowns against Ohio State. But Miami had an abundance of playmakers last year that allowed (or, arguably, forced) Hurns to recede back into the shadows— between Sept. 17 and Nov. 12, Hurns had a total of 12 catches. That kind of inconsistency isn't going to cut it this year when there is no Lamar Miller or Tommy Streeter to hog the spotlight. Hurns has a deceptive big play ability, a knack for finding the end zone and is a very accomplished run blocker— UM will need all that and more in 2012.
DAVON JOHNSON / Senior / 6' 0", 185 / Miami, Fla.
2011 stats: n/a
Johnson, the fifth year senior, is back on offense after an interlude as a defensive back in 2011. He's a four-star recruit who has not amounted to much on the field, and it would be shocking if he contributed anywhere this year beyond kick and punt coverage.
RASHAWN SCOTT / Soph. / 6' 2", 200 / Melbourne, Fla.
2011 stats: 1 rec., 2 yds
Meet the Allen Hurns of 2012. Scott is more or less a complete unknown, a player who has found himself atop the depth chart by impressing coaches in practice but who has yet to see significant time in actual games. That's going to change this year, and there are a few definite things to get excited about. For one, Scott has the size that Miami needs on the outside opposite Hurns. Two, Scott was the team's leading receiver in its spring game, and turned in one of the day's big plays when he beat LaDarius Gunter down the sideline. Third, he may have more talent than he was given credit for out of high school— this Rivals wrap up of 2011 ACC recruiting names Scott as Miami's sleeper in the class. He'll still have to prove he can do it when the cameras are watching, but a productive Scott could truly elevate Miami's offense.
KENDAL THOMPKINS / Senior / 5' 10", 182 / Miami, Fla.
2011 stats: 3 rec., 21 yds
Thompkins has been at Miami for half a decade now without producing anything of note. If he's ever going to make a mark at UM, it will be this year, where the receiver position is as murky as it's ever been. Thompson has been tabbed as a scrimmage standout for nearly his entire career, but at this point there has to be some reason (if not a few) that explains why he hasn't been able to break into the receiver rotation under two coaching staffs. Thompkins had six catches for 45 yards in the spring game, anyone want to bet on him surpassing those numbers this season?
JONTAVIOUS CARTER / 6' 2", 200 / Cordele, Ga.
When Al Golden and his staff extended Carter a scholarship, they decided to bet on potential. Carter has a combination of size and athleticism that does not just sprout up from the ground, but he's raw as a football player and did not face top competition in Georgia. He's not listed on Miami's depth chart and is an almost certain redshirt.
D'MAURI JONES / 6' 4", 190 / Leesburg, Fla.
MALCOM LEWIS / 6' 0", 194 / Miramar, Fla.
Lewis was one of Miami's top offensive recruits in the 2012 cycle, and he'll have a chance to contribute this season. He's currently listed fourth at one receiver position, but that's likely to change as the season nears and eventually kicks into gear. If Lewis can pick up the mental and technical aspects of the position, he has as much— if not more— talent than any receiver currently on this team, and I'm not buying that the third or fourth receiver spots are going to be filled by Thompkins and/or Johnson. That leaves the door wide open for Lewis.
ROBERT LOCKHART JR. / 6' 1", 188 / Delray Beach, Fla.
HERB WATERS / 6' 1", 172 / Homestead, Fla.
Waters is similar in size to Lockhart, but was a less heralded recruit and only racked up 385 yards receiving as a high school senior. Yet, Waters is listed on Miami's depth chart, and may be the type of overlooked recruit who quietly shows in practice that he's not to be underestimated. Waters is still not being talked about much, but we'll see if that changes once the season starts.