Coming from one of the most prestigious and well known high school football powerhouses, St. Thomas Aquinas (FL.), elite playmaking ability isn’t new to rising receiver Mike Harley. In Harley’s last two seasons as a Raider, he racked up 654 receiving yards with 12 touchdowns on 46 catches. During his most productive seasons in high school, he played a key role in their back to back State Championship victories as he was used in multiple spots and racked up over 1300 all purpose yards.
When it came to the recruiting process for the former 4-star, he was committed to West Virginia University for about 7 months as he waited for the coaching staff of Miami to show more interest in the local athlete. After de-committing from West Virginia, he waited about a week to announce his commitment to the University of Miami on National Signing Day. Miami’s recruiting class that year consisted of receivers (# rankings) of Jeff Thomas (#5) , Mike Harley (#41), Evidence Njoku (#76), and Marshall Few (walk on). Although none have had seasons up to their expectations, this year could change that. Especially with Mike Harley, who is primed to be the starting slot this year in a new offense and the possibility of a new quarterback.
Harley’s best game of his career was versus FIU last season, where he totaled 7 catches for 76 yards. In this game he showed his ability of tracking the ball (pictured above) and making some defenders miss in space. In this matchup vs the Panthers, he was able to showcase some potential as a slot receiver in this offense, who could be used on dump off throws and deeper routes with his ability to get open. During his career at Miami he has totaled 29 catches for 323 yards, which is an average of 11 yards a catch. When the ball is in the hands and he is responsible for some game changing. He has showcased that ability in camps and with pads on.
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What can Mike Harley bring to the Dan Enos offense ?
Going into the 2019 season, Miami fans should be really excited come game day. Coach Diaz blessed this program by bringing in an offensive guru who prides himself with his ability to get points on the board. This team features a handful of playmakers that can bring back the standard for Miami football.
The receivers are now in an offense that has motions and a combination of routes that will put the players in positions to win their matchups. Come August 24, this offense fully anticipates the trio to consist of Osborn (Sr.), Thomas (Jr.), Harley (Jr.) this season to lead the way for the talented group. Harley would be the expected slot receiver to get the ball moving and get the QB in rhythm. The talented junior has exceptional feet that can create separation from the LB/DB who is covering him. He is a smooth route runner with excellent quickness that can be a threat for 6 points.
He has spent some offseason time training with All-Pro receiver Antonio Brown, who in an Instagram post, raves about how ready Mike Harley is to step up for a bigger role. When he has the chance, Mike is always learning and executing perfection to his craft. Receivers in the slot must have quick feet to get around the traffic in the middle of the field and getting in spots to help the quarterback.
Heading into the first game of the season against Florida, it is expected that Marco Wilson and CJ Henderson will be shadowing Jeff Thomas and KJ Osborn on the boundaries. There seems to be a slight drop off in cornerback play for the Gators which can put Harley in positions to make a big play and get the offense some early momentum.
The Junior has more than enough talent to make an impact by extending drives and catching contested throws. The Hurricanes have yet another Braxton Berrios in their lineup, who can even be a fan favorite with his production on and off the field. Hopefully it is his Junior year where we see Harley makes strides.
Season Prediction : 43 catches, 540 yards, 4 touchdowns
This is assuming Harley is making his expected leap in the system, and is in a more prominent role. He has yet to get in the end zone in his career, but that is fully expected to change come this season. Mike Harley is a local standout who embodied “Making the Crib Great Again”. Canes fans should look out for Harley this year as he carries on the STA to UM legacy!