Brad Kaaya is highly regarded as one of the more talented quarterbacks in college football, and rightfully so. But what about the guys he's throwing to?
Miami's wide receiver core heading into 2015 is a mix of both inexperienced and veteran players looking to lead the Hurricanes to an ACC title.
The Canes lost last year's leader in receiving yardage, Rashawn Scott, to the NFL (the Dolphins signed Scott after he went undrafted). Herb Waters also found a home in the league, as undrafted free agent with the Packers. But, Stacy Coley returns, and he was second behind Scott in yardage, with 689 yards.
Coley racked up 47 catches, four of which were touchdowns. He's a very talented player who earned second team all-conference honors last season. Now being the star, Coley will look to only improve on last year's solid numbers. During spring ball, Coley tweaked his hamstring, but it didn't look too severe.
After Coley, there's a slight drop off in veteran talent at receiver. Looking at the receiving leaders from last season, Miami's tight ends and running backs made huge contributions. Look for a lot of young talented players to make a name for themselves this year.
Incoming freshmen Dionte Mullins, Ahmmon Richards and Sam Bruce can all become impact players from the get go. All three were rated as four-star recruits, and landed on the ESPN 300 list. It seems like Bruce is hot name amongst coaches. When asked about Bruce's progression, coach Mark Richt gave a positive response to the Palm Beach Post:
"He’ll be able to catch up because he’ll have veteran receivers who will help them, quarterbacks who will help him, [receivers] coach [Ron] Dugans who’ll legally be able to sit down and talk to him, get him up to speed."
Another receiver worth noting is Junior, Braxton Berrios, a 5-foot-9 scrappy player from Raleigh, N.C. Last season, Berrios suffered some setbacks due to injury. However, during his freshman campaign Berrios had 21 receptions, 232 yards and three touchdowns. Berrios looked like a stud during the spring game, where he caught eight passes for 127 yards and a touchdown. Given his size, class standing and body of work, he'll most likely be a No. 2 option behind Coley. Berrios could be dangerous in the slot, given his size and agility. Berrios is also dangerous on the run, whether it be a jet sweep, or something similar out of a wildcat formation.
Dayall Harris, a former junior college star from Jackson, Miss., comes in and will look to compete for playing time. Standing at 6'3", and weighing 205 pounds, Harris has all the physical tools to stand out at receiver. For a while, Harris played for coach Hugh Freeze, at Ole Miss. He was suspended for "minor incidents". He's incredibly athletic. Check out some game tape here.
Lawrence Cager will look to improve from his freshman year. Another name worth mentioning is Malcolm Lewis. Last season, Lewis only caught five passes, but he has the capability to do a lot more for the Hurricanes.
As a unit, this group of receivers will be a great asset for Brad Kaaya, going into the 2016 season under a new head coach. He has some familiarity with this talented bunch, and Ron Dugans should continue to develop some of the less experienced players.