Miami’s 2017 freshman class of wide receivers was all about one thing; speed. Jeff Thomas and Mike Harley joined Ahmmon Richards to create the speediest group of playmakers in perhaps the entire ACC. However the promise of deep plays downfield was largely unrealized as Richards fought through injuries and Harley didn’t insert himself into the offense as quickly as Thomas did. In 2018, Miami’s impressive recruiting at the position hasn’t let up one bit, which isn’t a great development for sophomore Mike Harley.
Harley may have been overshadowed by fellow frosh Jeff Thomas last season but he did some solid work as a receiver and returner. He caught nine passes for 91 yards in 2017 and saw some work on the kickoff and punt return teams. This season however, he will need to carve out a larger role on special teams to make the biggest impact he can on this team. Or alternatively, he will need to fight off veterans like Darrell Langham and Lawrence Cager as well as newcomers like Brian Hightower and Mark Pope to make some noise as a rotational wide receiver. That no. 3 job, after Thomas and Richards, is still probably open to whoever can grab it. Harley seizing it would certainly add more speed to an already fast starting pair of receivers.
The former 4-star needs to continue improving his overall game in order to not fall behind in the pecking order of talented wide receivers. While he has all the speed you could ask for in a WR, Harley will need to get better at route running and making contested catches. He could assert himself as Miami’s primary slot receiver, considering his size at 5’9,” if he can successfully demonstrate more nuance as a route runner. Harley has the potential to rise above the crowd and take a big role but will need to prove himself early on to do so.