As we inch closer and closer to week one, one of the main talking points for Hurricanes fans has been the inconsistency of the wide receivers so far in fall camp.
In Miami’s most recent scrimmage, more reports came out saying that Canes’ receivers are still having problems with dropped passes.
With quarterback Tyler Van Dyke gearing up for a much anticipated second season as Miami’s starter, who is going to replace Charleston Rambo and Mike Harley? With the production of those two, Van Dyke was able to throw for nearly 3,000 yards and 25 touchdowns.
Now, Miami is going to have to replace the combined 100 catches, 1,372 receiving yards and 10 touchdowns that Rambo and Harley produced with Van Dyke at quarterback.
The obvious answers are Xavier Restrepo and Keyshawn Smith, who look to take big leaps in 2022. Restrepo is stepping into the starting slot position, while Smith is expected to become WR1 on the outside.
I’m very confident in Restrepo being a constant reliable option for Van Dyke, someone he can depend on when it’s 3rd-and-7. I expect him to produce similar numbers to what Braxton Berrios did in 2017.
And while Restrepo can be that dependable security blanket, Miami still needs to receiver who is able to take the top off a defense, and that’s hopefully where Smith comes in.
In his second season at Miami in 2021, Smith finished the year with 26 receptions, 332 yards and 3 touchdowns. We’ve seen flashes and there is plenty of potential there, but 2022 is the year that Smith has to prove he can be the go-to-guy.
Besides those two, we haven’t heard much about the progression of the other receivers through fall camp, which is frustrating.
During spring practice, Jacolby George became a major talking point, and showed people why he was such a highly touted recruit in the 2021 class. While he’s had a quiet fall camp, he’s my choice to become that next main receiver at Miami.
Another 2021 signee who I think has the potential to become a future starter and playmaker is Romello Brinson. We saw bits and pieces of Brinson during his freshman season, but an injury sidelined him for all of spring.
While those two are my picks as the future star duo at receiver, are they ready to make that leap in 2022? Even if one of them breakout, that’d be helping Van Dyke and the offense immensely.
Finally, there’s Frank Ladson Jr., who transferred over from Clemson early in the off-season. In 3 injury riddled seasons at Clemson, Ladson had 31 receptions, 428 receiving yards and 3 touchdowns.
For most of the off-season, Ladson has been my pick to replace Rambo as WR1. Hopefully, he can have a similar bounce back year like Rambo had in 2021 after transferring from Oklahoma.
However, if you’ve been reading reports out of practice, it seems that Ladson still hasn’t found that consistency quite yet, struggling with dropped passes, etc.
Now, I’m not saying that one of these receivers has to put up over 1,000 receiving yards like Rambo did last season. For me however, the lack of one to two true threats at receiver is what’s holding me back from predicting 10 wins this season.
Miami has their best quarterback they’ve had in years, solid weapons at running back and tight end, plus an improved offensive line. Someone emerging at wide receiver could be the difference in how far this team goes this season.