Back like we never left! Because, in fact, we never do. State of the U reflects on the player who most improved in 2017 at the wide receiver position. The candidates are made up of a guy who came back from injury, another who returned from suspension and yet another who made his debut after living in irrelevance. The criteria that went into deciding who the winner was had to do more with which player provided UM with consistent play throughout the season, sparked the offense and made the offense better, even if they were not catching passes.
AND THE NOMINEES ARE…
The forgotten man among the receiving corps, Harris goes about his business in a similar manner. Unfortunately, getting tagged with a three-game suspension in the middle of the season did not endear him to the Miami faithful or the coaching staff. Harris had one more reception (nine) and two more receiving yards (92) than he had last season. However, this is the first season that he scored a touchdown as a Hurricane, finding the endzone twice in the season.
A year removed from a torn ACL, the 2017 season marked a return to the field for Lawrence Cager. Among one of Miami’s bigger targets in the passing game, the six-foot-five receiver appeared to be discombobulated and uncoordinated coming out of routes down the field. Dropping too many passes in the early portion of the season, Cager was out of the lineup during the middle of the season with what was described as a leg injury. Since returning from the injury, the redshirt sophomore picked up his play, providing Miami with a big target that could win the jump ball given the chance. Cager’s 16 receptions for 237 receiving yards and three touchdowns won’t light your world on fire, but his production added another facet to the passing game that the ’Canes were in dire need of.
Quelle entrée en matière des Hurricanes en 2ème mi-temps ! 2 jeux, 46 yards en :26 et boom ! Passe de 38 yards de QB Malik Rosier pour WR Lawrence Cager. TD Miami ! #OrangeBowl— TBP College Football (@thebluepennant) December 31, 2017
Miami 21, Wisconsin 24 pic.twitter.com/wy1oyhHNHm
Remember when RKO out of nowhere was setting social media feeds on fire? Well, a close facsimile would have been junior WR Darrell Langham being so clutch for the UM at different points in the season. In his first season where he got some playing time, the six-foot-four, 220 pound Langham gave the Hurricanes their first taste of what a big-bodied, tall receiver could mean for the offense. His 11 receptions for 209 receiving yards, and two touchdowns are all career-best numbers. What gets overlooked is his ability to block in the run game — that, combined with a decent effort on the perimeter by a receiver, can be the difference between a big gain and a small one. Of course, Langham will most notably be remembered for his game-winning TD catch against Florida State. Yet lets not forget his double-catch in double coverage against Georgia Tech on a fourth and 10 that put Miami in position to kick the game-winning field goal with no time remaining.
The Finalists — Lawrence Cager and Darrell Langham
AND THE WINNER IS…
Few if any expected to be talking about the performance of Langham at any point after a game in 2017, but Langham leapt into the conversation with a series of highlight-worthy plays. Cager’s improvement relates more to his first half of the season than to what he was able to do after returning from injury. Lets hope to see further improvement from each of UM’s towering receivers in 2018.
IT’S ALWAYS ABOUT THE U!