On Wednesday, the Miami Hurricanes announced that wide receiver Jeff Thomas is leaving the program. This follows the news of fellow wide receiver Ahmmon Richards’ neck injury, which ended the junior’s career in its tracks.
Well, this was just released by Miami re: Jeff Thomas. pic.twitter.com/gizKBbToqY— Christy Chirinos (@ChristyChirinos) November 21, 2018
While the Hurricanes’ wide receiving depth was once viewed as one of the deepest groups on the team, the loss of Thomas and Richards have left the Hurricanes down their two most talented and dynamic wide receivers and severely hurts the already dwindling depth at wide receiver.
At the end of this season, the Hurricanes will have lost or be near losing all their best outside threats. Darrell Langham, now a 5-year senior, will graduate and leave the program and Lawrence Cager, who leads the team in receiving touchdowns, will enter his last season as a senior.
On the roster, the Hurricanes would likely be forced to replace the leaving trio with a combo of Mark Pope, Brian Hightower and Marquez Ezzard. While each of them have had their flashes of brightness, each of them have not been able to consistently put together the pieces.
While the Hurricanes can’t replace Langham, Richards and Thomas in one recruiting cycle, it can make it a lot easier for whoever their starting quarterback is next season by putting more resources than ever in top recruit Jadon Haselwood.
Hailing out of Ellenwood, Georgia, Hasselwood is ranked as the best wide receiver according to 247Sports. Hasselwood, who was earlier committed to Georgia before reopening his commitment, is favored to join Miami by 247Sports’ Crystal Ball Predictions.
In terms of talent, there may not be a better freak-of-nature athlete in this year’s recruiting class. Measured at 6’2”, Haselwood is a state track champion in the 110 hurdles and shows killer speed on the football field. In March of this year, Haselwood ran a timed 4.57 40-yard dash and a 4.25 shuttle time. These two combined with his strong frame projects him as an outside threat to any team, especially the Hurricanes.
With the possible desperation from the Hurricanes, Haselwood would immediately make an impact for the Hurricanes. Haselwood would likely start on the outside with Lawrence Cager and could arguably be one of the best wide receivers in the ACC if he commits to the Hurricanes. Haselwood playing would also mean the Hurricanes are not rushed into replacing the production of Ahmmon Richards with a younger player who isn’t ready.
While the Hurricanes have a commitment from wide receiver Jeremiah Payton, the play styles are vastly different. Payton doesn’t have a similar frame to Haselwood at only 6’0” and isn’t as dynamic as Haselwood. Furthermore, Payton likely projects as a slot receiver at the college level and would be a more likely replacement for the position and not necessary production of Thomas.
With a commitment date of January 5, 2019 set for Jadon Haselwood, it’s time for the Hurricanes to put together all their resources on Haselwood. While a commitment or production is not guaranteed at the next level, Haselwood is likely better than any Hurricanes receiver currently on the roster and would be the highest ranked wide receiver signing by the Hurricanes since Lance Leggett in 2004.
While there is no reversing the insurmountable damage done to the Miami Hurricanes this season, a signing of Haselwood would be a terrific way to not only replace the production and talent of Jeff Thomas and Ahmmon Richards but would also be a nice consolation prize on a bad season.