Miami Hurricanes Preview: Wide Receivers

The Miami Hurricanes, through the ups and downs of the last decade, have always had a stable of wide receivers.  Names you’ve known or learned very quickly in their time in Coral Gables.  2012 is going to be a little different.

The Canes have many great wide receivers over the past three decades.  Men that struck fear into the hearts of defensive coordinators every Saturday.  Heck, to make matters worse, gone are Tommy Streeter, Aldarius Johnson, LaRon Byrd, and Travis Benjamin.  What made matters worse than just those losses, is the Canes had just a few guys trying to catch the ball in the spring because of injuries and early departures, when most teams have 10 or more receivers.  So who will Miami throw the ball to this season?

Junior Allen Hurns is the leading returning wide-out.  At 6’3″, 190 he has ideal size and decent wheels.  He caught 31 balls for 415 yards and 4 touchdowns a year ago.  He had a shoulder injury that slowed him last year, and missed the spring because of it.  He is likely to be the top target this season.

Sophomore Phillip Dorsett (5’9″, 180)  is among the fastest players on the team (4.35-40yd) and is expected to handle the return duties and start at wide receiver.  His longest catch a year ago went for only 31 yards, but I’d look for that to change this year.  He reeled in 14-147-1 in limited playing time off the bench in 2011.

Sophomore Rashawn Scott (6’2″, 200) missed half of his freshman season with a shoulder injury, had an outstanding spring.  Perhaps the most acrobatic athlete on the outside, he was named the most improved player in the spring.  Big things are expected of him this season.

Five new wide receivers stepped on the campus this summer, and could see immediate playing time.

“Everyone here is talented,” quarterback Stephen Morris said of the newcomers that include highly touted 6’1″ 175 Robert Lockhart, out of Fork Union Military Academy via West Boca High; Malcolm Lewis (6’0″, 195) out of state-runner up Miramar High; and 6’2″, 172 Herb Waters from Homestead High. “They’re all doing extremely well.”

“Lewis is explosive, he’s quick, man.  Great hands. Lockhart can really jump, very athletic.  Herb Waters is very energetic, always in my face talking about plays and defenses,” raved Morris.

Absent, is perhaps the best incoming freshman.

Former Palm Beach Central wide receiver Angelo Jean-Louis, who signed with Miami in February, will attend Fork Union (Va.) Military Academy this fall.

“I’m not happy because I want to go in with my class and help the team,” said Jean-Louis, who did not academically qualify for UM. “But I’m not a kid anymore so I’m going to take it like a man, do what I have to do and get to Miami.”  Jean-Louis, who expects to enroll at UM in January, said he wants to be a “bigger, stronger, faster” version of himself when he gets there.
Also of note if 5th year senior Kendall Thompkins (5’10”, 180), freshman Jontavioius Carter (6’2″, 200), freshman Garrett Kidd (6’2″, 185), freshman D’Mauri Jones (6’4″, 190), junior Shawn O’Dare (5’10”, 190), junior Alex Irastorza (6’3″, 190), sophomore Chad Barnes (5’8″, 170), and freshman Stephen Sweeney (5’11”, 185).
7 of the 13 rostered WR are freshman, who of course haven’t caught a pass yet.  O’Dare, Irastorza, and Barnes have never caught a pass.  Scott had one catch his freshman season.  And Thompkins has 8 for his first 4 years at Miami.
So Hurns and Dorsett, combined 45 career receptions, are the only two players with game action aside from Thompkins.  54 career catches return for 2012.  Very unusual for Miami fans to be unsure of what to expect from their wide receivers.  Fair to say, we’ll all be learning what these kids can and can’t do together.  Those name-tags will come in handy now.