Who was Dwight Clark after making the catch in the 1981 NFC Championship Game? Who was Buster Douglas after he knocked out Mike Tyson? Who was Joe Carter after he smacked a home run in the bottom of the ninth inning to win the World Series? Do great moments overshadow anything that you’ve done or will do after it has taken place?
The living embodiment of this is Miami Hurricanes’ WR Darrell Langham. One of the biggest members of the team at 6’4, 220 pounds, Langham’s calm demeanor comes as a shock to those who only know of him for his on-field accomplishments. Langham is more than just a catch here or there. He’s a person who has given the Canes’ fanbase memorable moments that will echo long after he’s walked away from the Coral Gables campus.
Before the U
Langham was a decently recruited prospect coming out of Santaluces Community High School in Palm Beach County. With an above-the-rim mentality, the Lantana, Florida, native often made climbing up the ladder for a reception look as easy as breathing. With his size advantage, Langham was an ideal red zone target, corralling jump balls tossed to the corner of the endone to take advantage of smaller DBs pressed with matching up against him. While not blessed with elite speed, Langham’s superpower is relying on his height, leaping ability and strength to box out defenders to make a catch. Those attributes helped gain interest from an array of programs entering his senior year of high school. Fielding offers from Miami, Arkansas, Mississippi State, Illinois and Florida State, Langham committed to the University of Miami in June of 2013. The big receiver would officially sign his letter of intent on National Signing Day of 2014, enrolling at the U in August.
Life as a Cane
Upon his arrival, Langham was one of the biggest receivers the Canes ever had at the position. However, his narrow frame did not have many imaging that he would be able to withstand the punishment that comes with FBS football. So Langham redshirted his first year with the team, with hopes that we would be able to earn snaps the following season. That didn’t happen, as Langham — now a redshirt freshman — spent most of his time on the practice squad, tasked with providing a good look for the Hurricanes starting defense rather than contributing to UM’s offense. Langham continued to spend most of his time working with the practice squad in 2016.
It wasn’t until the 2017 season, three years after having enrolled at UM, that Darrell Langham finally saw snaps with the offense. Now a redshirt junior, Langham impressed coaches with his performance in the off-season and through spring practices. Langham emerged as one of the better possession receivers the Hurricanes had on the roster. In the team’s first game of the 2017 season against Bethune-Cookman, Langham hauled in three receptions for 65 yards and a touchdown. In the two games following that performance, Langham didn’t register a stat. Yet, it was the next reception that would change both the receiver’s life and the Hurricanes’ fortunes for the foreseeable future.
On the verge of losing their eighth straight game to their most hated rivals, the Hurricanes were driving into Florida State territory with the game clock winding towards zeroes. After QB Malik Rosier connected with WR Braxton Berrios to give Miami a fresh set of downs, Big No. 81 lined up along the sideline against FSU’s top cornerback Tarvarus McFadden. The ball is snapped, Langham motors up the field with McFadden picking him up as soon as Langham found his stride. Rosier throws the ball to the outside shoulder of the receiver, high enough where Langham is able to snatch the ball out of midair, pirouetting across the goalline for the touchdown. For the Hurricane faithful, the play punctuated what would soon be known as ‘The Rally at Tally.’ For the receiver, it was the moment that will forever label him a hero.
“It shows for anybody that you’re never out of it [...] I think he played two snaps the entire game and never went into the tank, had a good attitude, was focused the entire time and makes one of the biggest plays in that rivalry, at least in recent history, at least for us. Having to go from everybody screaming and yelling and them chanting like the game was over to complete silence. Pretty cool thing.”
—Thomas Bown, Maimi’s co-offensive coordinator
So how do you top an epic game-winning TD against your biggest rival? Well, Hurricanes fans found out the following week. The situation was a fourth and 10 on Georgia Tech’s 43 yard line, Miami down 24-22. The Hurricanes were well out of K Michael Badlgey’s range, needing a big conversion to have any hope of extending their win streak. With the game on the line, Rosier wasted little time after the snap, throwing a rainbow in Langham’s direction. The GT cornerback is in a press technique, shadowing Langham as a he makes his way down the sideline with the ball in the air. The ball comes down into the leaping hands of Darrell Langham, but is immediately swatted out of his mitts by the GT defender. Showing tremendous concentration, Langham grabs the ball as it bounces of his facemask and into his hands, landing backwards on the grass. The catch not only extended the drive, but after a Travis Homer 12-yard run, it also led to the game-winning field goal. It was the first 100-yard receiving game for Langham, one that further cemented his status as Mr. Clutch for an appreciative fan base.
Langham went on to set career high marks with 11 receptions for 209 receiving yards and two touchdowns. However, his ability to come up large for the Hurricanes during crucial moments of the game should never be overlooked.
“A lot of people bring it up a lot, but I kind of like push it aside [...]I’ve got to worry about what’s next on my list.”
—Darrell Langham via Palm Beach Post
So what do you do for an encore? Langham continued to apply himself. He didn’t rest on what he did the previous season, but focused on the potential of what he can do in 2018. Now one of the elders in the receiving room, Langham leads the group by example. He’s already surpassed last year’s reception total with 12, and his receiving TDs in a single season was also eclipsed in 2018 with three.
We asked the question whether a person can overcome the defining moments that people attribute to them. In the case of Darrell Langham, those moments are highlights of the hard work it took for him just to make it onto the field. While he will always be remembered for making those plays, it speaks to the dedication of the player that he stuck around to be able to have that moment. It’s for that reason today we give our applause to our heroic wide receiver.
Salute to Darrell Langham!