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Miami Hurricanes 2021 Player Profile: Wide Receiver Mike Harley

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Miami’s leading receiver from 2020, Mike Harley is back for one more year.

NCAA Football: Miami at Duke Nell Redmond-USA TODAY Sports

One of the reasons for optimism surrounding the 2021 Miami Hurricanes is the fact that several key players are returning for another season, and few are more important than wide receiver Mike Harley.

Harley is coming back to Miami for his fifth season, and we’ve really seen him take his game to another level the last two years.

Coming out of St.Thomas Aquinas in Broward County as part of the 2017 recruiting class, it took Harley some time to flash his talent on the field.

In 2019 however, Harley stepped up for the Hurricanes, hauling in 38 receptions, for 485 yards and 3 touchdowns. The following season, while it took Harley a few games to get going, he ended 2020 with his best year as a Hurricane, with 57 catches, 799 receiving yards and 7 touchdowns. In the final 6 games of the 2020 season, Harley averaged at least 1 touchdown and over 100 yards receiving per game.

Coming into 2021, Harley knows that D’Eriq King and the Miami offense will rely heavily on him, and if the Hurricanes want to improve on their 8-3 record, Harley will need to deliver. In fact, Pro Football Focus listed Harley as the #1 returning slot receiver in college football for the 2021 season. That should tell you the impact that he has on the Miami passing attack.

While he has sure hands, Harley is just as deadly after the catch, racking up 368 yards after the catch, sixth in the country for slot receivers in 2020. He also averaged 14.0 yards per catch as well.

One thing that’ll hopefully help Miami’s passing offense, and take some of the pressure off of Harley, will be Charleston Rambo, who transferred to UM this off-season. Both Harley and Rambo had solid springs, and Harley finished with 4 receptions and 1 touchdown in the final scrimmage.

Still, Harley is WR1 for Miami as the season approaches, both from an on-field production level, as well as being a leader in the receiver group and locker room as a whole. Over the last year or so, Harley has been huge in setting an example to the other WR’s, especially the younger receivers, in how to put in extra work and perfect his craft.

Harley also enters the 2021 season with eyes on the record books, as he is closing in on breaking the all-time Miami record for career receptions (173) and career receiving yards (2,546 yards). Currently, Harley has 125 career receptions and 1,615 career receiving yards. If he’s able to put together a full year of consistency, we could potentially see some of those records fall.

I’ve said it before and I'll say it again, I’m a huge fan of Mike Harley. The way he’s elevated his game and taken control of the wide receiver room the last couple years, it’s been so big for the Miami offense and team in general. I think we can potentially see his numbers improve in 2021, and if they do, it’ll just give the Hurricanes an extra lift as they try to achieve their goals.