Freshman WR Brian Hightower, who caught a 32-yard touchdown pass in the 2nd half of Miami’s season opener, could be the U’s next young star. Ahmmon Richards and Jeff Thomas had highly productive first seasons, and Hightower may be on track to do the same.
Within the receiving corp, the health of Ahmmon Richards was the only concern; as the unit itself is loaded with talent. Hightower solidified this, and surprisingly got the start over Mark Pope and Marquez Ezzard, whom are both talented newcomers as well.
In the season opener however, we witnessed why Hightower was placed near the top of the depth chart.
On the play in which he scored his first touchdown as a ‘Cane, Hightower fought through contact, pinpointed the ball, and secured it. An impressive play for a true-Freshman, but that’s what’s expected at Miami in recent years.
Ron Dugans has done an excellent job of developing the Canes’ receivers, and we can assume that Dugans had a major part in Hightower’s off-season improvement. Last season, Jeff Thomas burst onto the scene, and the year before that, Ahmmon broke Michael Irvin’s Freshman receiving record.
With Richards’ health still in question, it’s safe to assume that the players behind him will be ready when their numbers are called; partly due to coaching, as well as raw talent.
The biggest obstacle with the receivers isn’t due to their own fault actually - it’s that they don’t have a quarterback who’ll consistently put the ball on the numbers. Jeff Thomas had to make multiple extraordinary grabs because of poorly thrown passes on Sunday; showing off his great athleticism, but it shouldn’t of been necessary.
The developing talent needs a quarterback who’ll deliver them the football, as their skill is being wasted on overthrown passes.
Complaints about Malik Rosier are common, rightfully so, but the receivers he has in his arsenal are outstanding. The season may be young, but Brian Hightower impressed, and we can only hope that the future holds more success for him, and the team.