Finishing strong is a cliche all too familiar with the sport of football. Few leads are safe, no job secure enough that you can't be replaced with momentum such a fickle occurrence over the course of a game. Wide receiver Braxton Berrios started his collegiate career at The U with a spark. As a 3-star prospect (247 Sports) from Raleigh, North Carolina, Berrios entered a Canes locker room that already had Phillip Dorsett, Clive Walford, Herb Waters and Stacy Coley all fighting to get touches in the passing game. That doesn't even include Duke Johnson or Joseph Yearby looking for touches from the backfield.
In his freshman season, he produced 21 receptions with 232 yards receiving and 3 touchdowns illustrating his potential on a team stacked with talent on the offense.
Trying to parlay that momentum from his freshman season into his sophomore year, Braxton's season was derailed by injury a pulled hamstring. Injuries have robbed Canes fans as well as Braxton himself of production. Consider that the 5'9 and 185 lbs. tore an MCL that kept him out of 3 games, it would help to explain why he totalled just 12 receptions for 86 yards with 0 touchdowns in 2015.
Even through injury, Berrios was determined to make an impact, contributing significantly in the return game.
Brad Kaaya's 3rd TD pass of the 2Q, this to Braxton Berrios gives #Miami the 21-7 lead over #Mountaineers #RAB https://t.co/lgx00ZwPaD— Sports Degens (@TheSportsDegens) December 29, 2016
The 2016 season was more of the same in regards to No. 8's contributions on offense as well as in the return game. Looking at the stat line, 12 receptions for 178 yards, 14.8 yards per catch and 2 TDS is modest in comparison to his teammates, finishing 7th on the team in both receptions and receiving yards. Upon further examination it would be unfair to just look at Braxton Berrios purely from a receiving standpoint since he's belongs more in the all-purpose category, touching the ball in various ways. His 433 all-purpose (special teams and offensive touches) allowed the team to find production in various ways. He finished his junior year ranked 11th in the nation with an 11.3 punt return average in a season where took back his first punt return to the house in his career.
What happens in 2017
We all know by now that three of Braxton's fellow 2014 freshman classmates on offense have declared for the NFL draft. Entering his senior year as a Cane, Berrios is the Vet among the wide receiver room. As much praise and hyperbole that was lofted when Brad Kaaya announced his intentions, a similar amount should be heaped onto Berrios. In the classification of being a straight-A student, Berrios serves as a gleaming example of what being a well-rounded student-athlete is all about.
A lot of mixed emotions sitting in the team meeting room tonight. One last year, one last chance, let's write our story. Time to go to work— Braxton Berrios (@HNYNUT_BERRIOS) January 17, 2017
2017 will hopefully be a healthy season, with Berrios (& other receivers) building a rapport with whomever will be playing QB. While seeing Berrios line up in the slot in 3-wide receiver formation would be a dream, the more concrete projection is him remaining a terror in the return game. In the final quarter of what will be his career at Miami, Braxton Berrios will look to close to his career at Miami as senior with unprecedented success.