Going into an uncertain and pivotal time for college sports ahead of the (currently scheduled) 2020 football season, the Canes have depth at many positions. Of these positions, our wide receivers have intrigued me. Jeremiah Payton has the potential to be THE breakout player on the Canes offense this year.
Coming out of high school, Payton was rated as a consensus four-star and a top ten player in the state of Florida in the 2019 recruiting cycle. 247 Sports ranked him as the 12th best receiver that year. He was the highest ranked player in Miami’s 2019 class.
Payton redshirted last season but saw action in four games. He had one reception for 23 yards against Bethune-Cookman.
At 6’1” and 195 lbs, Jeremiah’s main strength is his route-running as a rangy target with fine ball skills. During his prolonged offseason, Payton has focused on gaining weight.
After sitting out most of his first year at Miami, Payton has a new offense and a new receivers coach that brings a new opportunity for him heading in to his redshirt freshman season. New wide receivers coach Rob Likens has coached elite talent, including back to back first round picks in N’Keal Harry and Brandon Aiyuk, during his time at ASU.
Likens said in a Monday night Zoom session with the media that Payton is one of the most talented players he’s ever coached.
“One thing I can tell you about Jeremiah is that his talent level is as good as anybody I’ve ever coached. That’s saying a lot because I have coached a couple of first round picks. Jeremiah has that type of talent.”
Jeremiah Payton in action at Miami Hurricanes’ first practice of fall camp.— David Furones (@DavidFurones_) August 8, 2020
( Miami Athletics) pic.twitter.com/FL4JLpMPde
Last year, offensive coordinator Rhett Lashlee’s SMU offense and WR coach Rob Likens’ ASU offense each produced a wide receiver with over 1,000 yards in SMU’s James Proche and ASU’s Brandon Aiyuk respectively. KJ Osborne, Miami’s leading WR last, year only had 547 yards on the season. Of Miami's 5 leaders in receiving yards last season, only three are returning. In a new spread offense and with a dynamic QB in D’Eriq King, Miami’s passing offense should be light years ahead of last year’s. These departures coupled with a new staff and scheme open the door for any of the Canes’ top receivers to step up and put up huge numbers.
Breakout Player: Jeremiah Payton pic.twitter.com/cmmJZWTznW— Robby Espin (@CanesAccess) July 4, 2020
I could really see Payton breaking out this upcoming season. WRs coach Rob Likens says he can envision 5-6 receivers seeing regular time in games right now. I think Payton could create a role as Miami’s top red zone threat at the wide receiver position. His length as a quick pass catcher combined with his separation created as a great route runner could make him a very special player at Miami. Mike Harley, Dee Wiggins, and Mark Pope will likely see starting reps alongside Payton, but it seems that Payton could be in line for many red zone touchdown opportunities along with star TE Brevin Jordan.
Payton is in position to surprise a lot of people this upcoming season. Through the first few days of fall camp, Payton has been touted as one of Miami’s most improved players since we last saw them in spring practice.