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Ahmmon Richards: 2016 season review

Despite coming in with a large amount of hype, Ahmmon Richards shattered expectations in 2016

Miami v Appalachian State Photo by Tyler Lecka/Getty Images

He was named to 7 freshman all-american teams, he led all freshman receivers in the nation in receiving yards, and he broke Michael Irvin’s Miami record for most receiving yards in a game.

Ahmmon Richards had high expectations entering 2016, but no one could have imagined he would cement himself as one of the premier wide receivers in the nation, and already garner attention from NFL draft scouts.

Richards’ freshman season was impressive to anyone who saw him play, and has solidified himself as a go-to target for the Miami Hurricanes the next two years.

His journey started on national signing day, when newly hired Mark Richt and the ‘Canes won out over Nick Saban and Alabama. Richards set records at Wellington High School, and was immediately billed as an athlete who could do the same on the next level.

Wide receivers coach Ron Dugans and the rest of Miami’s staff raved about his speed and maturity, and quickly rose in the depth chart after Lawrence Cager’s injury, Sam Bruce’s dismissal, and Dionte Mullins’ late enrollment date.

Despite several key catches in Miami’s first two games of the season, Richards broke onto the scene with a 4 catch 142 yard performance versus Appalachian State. The freshman set a Miami receiving yard record that day, and broke his own record later on in the season against Pittsburgh.

Richards put up nearly 1000 yards on 49 receptions this year, and had nearly 100 more receiving yards than Sergio Bailey II, who was second among freshmen in receiving yards.

“Ahmmon is a guy that we know can run,” Richt said after his 144 yard performance against Pittsburgh in November. “[A guy] who we know can track a ball deep, we know he can adjust to a deep ball well; he has got a wonderful skillset.”

Richard’s ability to blow the top off of a defense was a game changer for Miami throughout the year, and his playmaking ability jumpstarted a dormant Miami offense early in the ‘Canes 31-14 Russell Athletic Bowl victory.

“I knew I could have a big play to get YAC (yards after catch) because the corner, he was playing off on that play,” Richards said. “When I caught it I just thought about scoring because I felt the team needed a spark and I tried to do that.”

Richards provided a spark in that victory for Miami, but provided an even larger spark for the ‘Canes all season.

He is one of the best statistical freshman receivers in Miami history, and will look to provide stability to the ‘Canes first year starting quarterback next season. Behind Richards there is little experience returning with the exception of Braxton Berrios, and the 6’1” target will look to place himself among the nation’s elite in 2017.