As signing day nears, Miami looks to broaden its depth in order to finally make a run at an ACC Championship, or (if you're some sort of optimist) a national title. Unfortunately, it doesn't look like Miami will be adding a variety of receivers to the roster come Wednesday with only one 100% WR commit in Lawrence Cager. But the Canes' are lucky enough to currently have one of the deepest wide receiver units in the ACC. Below is a complete breakdown on how the position stands as it is.
- The nation's No. 1 receiver in YAC and the Canes' most lethal deep threat last year; Phillip Dorsett's absence will be felt greatly. Sure, Miami has plenty of talent that "theoretically" can replace Dorsett, but his role as a leader was just as important as his role as a player, and that's irreplaceable...right now.
With 871 yards and 10 touchdowns, Dorsett scored double the amount of touchdowns that Braxton Berrios, Herb Waters, Stacy Coley and Malcolm Lewis scored combined. Part of that comes from a strong relationship with Brad Kaaya built on trust. Not that Kaaya doesn't trust his other receivers, but veterans like Duke Johnson, Clive Walford and Phillip Dorsett were among those he felt more comfortable with all season long.
That trust is not easily duplicated, and will be something the remaining receivers will need to work on. This will be discussed more throughout the article.
- Contrary to popular belief, I expect Rashawn Scott, not Stacy Coley, to replace Dorsett as the No. 1 receiver this upcoming season, granted he stays healthy.
At 6'3" 205 lbs. with 4.5 40 speed, Scott's presence on the field will be welcomed by Kaaya, who didn't necessarily have any big, speedsters at receiver last year. If Scott can reciprocate what he did his sophomore season (35 catches-512 yards-3 TDs) but with a better QB and bigger, faster body, then their is no way to predict the amount of damage he can produce.
But that's a big "IF."
Scott's unfortunate stint with injuries hasn't allowed him to reach his full potential. However, the team is confident that Coach Swazey will get him in the right shape to succeed.
Rashawn Scott will be the #1 receiver next year. It’s a small sample size, but I’ve seen him shake every DB he sees and he GETS the ball— Alejandro Narciso (@Ale_Narciso1) December 13, 2014
- Although I anticipate Scott as the No. 1 receiver, Stacy Coley remains as the most important receiver.
Whoever anticipated that Coley's productivity would drop that low in the matter of an 8-month period is most likely a liar
What was the reason for Coley's sophomore slump?
1. It was just that...a sophomore slump.
2. His lack of confidence kept building after every tough game.
3. His on-field relationship with Kaaya was simply not good.
All three of those answers are possible. And if so, Coley must find any excuse to workout with Kaaya in the offseason as much as possible in order to carry that trust and sync to the field. If Coley is able to revert to his old ways, the defensive struggle to gameplan against him would give Miami the advantage of staying one step ahead on offense.
- Another receiver who has held back by injury a year ago, Malcolm Lewis' 2014 season was also uneventful. 25 catches is higher than what was anticipated from Lewis, but only 248 yards and 1 touchdown off those passes made his season forgetful.
The reason as to why Lewis struggled was once again, the chemistry with Brad Kaaya. Throughout training camp, most stories surrounding Lewis were about his great relationship with Jake Heaps and Kevin Olsen. He'll have to spend quality time with Kaaya this off-season to produce the numbers he was expected to produce coming out of high school.
Berrios is one of the trickiest receivers to analyze on this team. At 5'9" 183 lbs. Berrios is the same size and weight as Wes Welker. Yes, the Welker Berrios narrative is easy because they're both quick, white players, and Berrios has mentioned that he doesn't particularly love that comparison, but it actually fits...and Berrios is surprisingly faster.
With a better than expected freshman season, Berrios had 21 catches-232 yards-3 TDs. Those numbers came off of a torn ACL he suffered during the Under Armour All American Game two years ago.
But what did he do better than both Lewis and Coley this year? He developed a stronger on-and-off field chemistry with his already good high school friend Brad Kaaya.
Once Berrios' develops into his own role on the team, most likely a slot player used on screens and slants, that is where most of his productivity will come from. I expect Berrios to be near or at the top of the receptions list by the end of the 2015 season.
Below is Berrios speaking about his relationship with Kaaya:
-Before his season ending injury in Charlottesville, Waters was unexpectedly under-delivering as well. In 2013 he caught 28 passes for 406 yards and 5 touchdowns. This season, Waters only had one touchdown off a miraculous 4th down play in the monsoon that was the Duke game. He also caught almost 1/5 of his passes during that game with five.
Waters is talented enough to catch between 35-40 catches per season. He's a natural receiver with tremendous instincts; however, bouncing back from painful neck injury will be no easy task for the senior.
- Canes fans were excited with the late arrival of Darrell Langham last off-season. At 6'5" 220 lbs. Langham is already the tallest receiver on the team. He's gradually gained weight over the last few months allowing him to be in the right shape to be able to use his body as an advantage towards high-thrown balls.
Langham will likely be a dark horse heading into training camp next season, and is set to turn some heads. Langham was lucky enough to work with guys like Ryan Williams throughout the season, so it will be interesting to see how he fairs off with Kaaya.
***Miami does have a vast majority of other receivers, like Tyre Brady, but this breakdown focused more on the key players.