The University of Miami has a storied history of great wide receivers from Eddie Brown to Micheal Irvin to Andre Johnson. Phillip Dorsett is the most recent departure, and replacing yet another first round talent will be difficult, but it's something Miami is accustomed to doing. Heading into the season there is no set, proven number one wide out ready to step right in and fill those shoes. Fortunately for Canes fans there is a wealth of talent at the position, which changes the question from if they can replace Dorsett's production, to who will replace said production. To help answer that question let's take a look at each player looking to take the baton and run with it.
Scott is a player Canes fans are quite familiar with. He is a veteran of the Miami program as a redshirt senior. Scott has made minimal impact in his time at The U, but he gave us a small taste of what he can do in 2012 making 35 grabs for 512 yards and 3 touchdowns. Last season Scott was rarely seen recording only 3 catches for 38 yards and no scores. However, Miami coaches remain high on Scott and are expecting him to step up this season and reach his immense potential. If he can develop a report with quarterback Brad Kaaya he can do just that.
Stacy Coley's 2014 season can be wrapped up in two words, sophomore slump. Coley burst on, not only the local scene, but the national scene as well in his freshman season. He displayed a wide array of skills scoring touchdowns in almost every way imaginable. His impact was felt not only in the receiving game, but the running and kicking games also. Coley racked up 591 yards and 7 touchdowns on 33 receptions including an 81 yard catch that went for one of his scores. His diversity and explosiveness was on display on an electric 79 yard punt return touchdown, and just to be safe he added another score on a beautiful 73 yard reverse. Last season he obviously took a step back, which many young players experience in their second season, but Cane fans still have a lot to be hopeful for when it comes to Coley's future. Look for Coley to re-establish himself as a key part of Miami's offense this season.
Berrios is Miami's " little engine that could". Fans who like to cheer for the little guy love Braxton. Standing only 5'9" and tipping the scales at 183 pounds Berrios knows how to maximize his talent. While his season statistics will not blow anyone away, 21 catches for 232 yards and 3 touchdowns, he was able to show that he can contribute to the offense in a major way. He can be a great compliment to his larger counterparts. He has a knack for getting open, and can be a monster over the middle, slowly but surely luring the defense in for other big play guys to take advantage. His soft hands and precise routes will quickly open the eyes of Brad Kaaya who should feed him the ball in a similar way Tom Brady once fed Wes Welker for the New England Patriots a few years ago.
Sadly Canes fans have not had the opportunity to see much of Malcolm Lewis. Everyone remembers the devastating leg injury Malcolm suffered a few years ago, and who could forget the image of coach Al Golden rushing the field to console Lewis. While not atop the depth chart, anyone who follows local high school football knows the ability possessed by this kid. He is not just a heart warming "Rudy" type player, he has some real skills. Let's hope he gets the opportunity this upcoming season to show fans what exactly he can do.
Waters is another veteran Hurricane looking for a bounce back season. The 6'2" 195 pound senior from Homestead has shown flashes of brilliance in his time at The U, but has lacked consistency. While only grabbing 20 balls for 277 yards and only finding the end zone once, Waters has shown the ability to be a major contributor in the passing game. The more "wide open" the passing game is, the better season Waters will have.
Cager is most likely a name not familiar with most Canes fans, but could become a house-hold one sooner rather than later. He stands 6'5" and weighs in at 200 pounds. Even with that size he, impressed scouts with his speed at a camp in Alabama earning him an offer from Coach Nick Saban at the end of the camp. Luckily for Coach Golden, Cager kept his options open, and upon meeting with Brad Kaaya on a visit to Coral Gables Cager picked Miami. With the depth at the wide receiver position fans shouldn't expect to see Cager on the field every down. Where he may make a major impact is in the red zone. With his height and a 34" vertical, he has the potential to find the end zone more than once entering his freshman season, unless the staff goes the redshirt route with him.
Others to watch:
Tyre Brady's impressive 6'3 204 pound frame and skill set could earn him targets this season as well. Brady is a bit raw, but has massive potential. It would be a surprise if he did not contribute in the passing game at some point.
D'Mauri Jones and Darrell Langham are two more taller WRs who will be fighting for snaps too. But both will likely be looking up at the aforementioned.
Brad Kaaya and offensive coordinator James Coley have a wide variety of talented guys on the outside and should be able to utilize them in multiple ways. If these receivers can step up, and reach their potential, the Miami offense may resemble Canes offenses of the past.
The key will be the health of Scott, the rediscovery of Coley, and some combination Waters, Lewis, and Berrios being productive in the slot.