We come to the final award for the wide receiver position of the 2017 season, the most valuable player amongst the wide receiver group. The nominees are a field of candidates that many of you would have expected before the season, along with a few surprises after all was said and done. The criteria that went into naming the position MVP had more to do with consistency, coming through in the clutch, playmaking, leadership among the group and contributions in multiple facets of the offense.
AND THE NOMINEES ARE…
Miami’s most-talented player at the receiver position was unable to be available for a majority of the regular season, yet managed to be the focal point of the passing game when he was healthy enough to take to the field. His 106 yard receiving performance against Duke helped Miami secure victory in a hostile environment, and Richards was Mr. Reliable against Syracuse after hauling in a season-high six receptions for 99 receiving yards in a 27–19 UM win. Richards finished the season with 439 receiving yards, 24 receptions, 18.2 yards-per-catch and three touchdowns. However, even in an injury-plagued season, in presence alone, Richards still possess the threat to opposing defenses that forces them to slant coverage to his side of the field, providing opportunities to teammates on the other side of the field.
In his first season as a core contributor on offense since his freshman season, Berrios made the most of his senior season in Coral Gables. Working out of the slot, Berrios managed to do damage whether on shallow, intermediate or deep routes. Splitting time as the team’s punt returner, the North Carolina native did all he could, with the exception of taking snaps on defense to will Miami’s offense to some big Ws. Berrios led all Hurricanes with 679 receiving yards and nine touchdowns after 13 games. Not a bad way to leave a favorable impression on your alma mater. A couple of signature games for the WR would be his five catch, 105 yard receiving performance against Toledo. However, his eight reception, 90 receiving yards and two touchdown performance is what set up our next wide receiver candidate to shine so bright this season.
No one, absolutely no one, could have predicted Langham to enjoy a small breakout like he did this season. Finishing the season with 11 receptions for 209 receiving yards, the junior provided game-winning receptions in multiple instances. In fact, against both Florida State and then Georgia Tech, the ’Canes would not have emerged victorious if not for Langham’s clutch grabs.
While some will surely question Thomas’ appearance on the nominee list, we won’t fault you for your inquiry. The most valuable part of his game is his speed. The separation that Thomas is able to obtain on a consistent basis is remarkable. The only catch was, well, he wasn’t able to catch a majority of the passes that were aimed in his direction. Thomas finished the season with 17 receptions, 374 receiving yards and two touchdowns. Again, Thomas’ ability to beat defenders with ease on the line of scrimmage is an MVP trait, one that Miami needs to capitalize on in 2018.
The Finalists (Richards and Berrios)
Kudos to the other nominees, however Richards and Berrios’ games respectively were at a next level. Both men led the position in receiving yards and each were the focal point of the passing offense when they were on the field. We mentioned that Richards was not at 100 percent since the beginning of the season, yet he still went out and laid his body on the line blocking or selling his route. The same could be said for Berrios, who did everything and anything to try and spark the offense.
AND THE WINNER IS…
This was definitely numero ocho’s season. Leading the team in most of the major statistical categories, Berrios also holds a perfect pass complete mark (he passed once for 17 yards). Berrios was the most consistent receiver of the group by far in terms of both availability and productivity. One can always wonder what could’ve been had Berrios been a focal point of the offense in seasons past, but it was good seeing a great student, excellent player and an even better ambassador for Miami enjoy career-best marks.
IT’S ALWAYS ABOUT THE U!