Miami Football: Why 2013 Receivers Could Be Best Since National Title Group

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Miami Football: Why 2013 Receivers Could Be Best Since National Title Group
Greg M. Cooper-USA TODAY Sports

The Miami Hurricanes will have a deep and talented pass-catching group in 2013, one that might be the best since the 'Canes 2001 national championship team.

While there certainly isn't an Andre Johnson-like talent on the roster, the potential of this corps, between the wide receivers and tight ends, is exceptional.

The lone senior expected to start on this year's squad is Allen Hurns, while juniors Phillip Dorsett and Rashawn Scott will both lead the battle for another top-string position.

Behind the three upperclassmen, sophomores Herb Waters and Malcolm Lewis will both provide a big challenge on the depth chart for the entire season. Waters, in fact, was listed as a starter on the post-spring practice release.

Additionally, redshirt freshmen Jontavious Carter and D'Mauri Jones capitalized on an opportunity to make an impact this spring, while Dorsett was running for the Miami track team.

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Jorge Milian of the Palm Beach Post considered Carter an honorable mention "winner" following his 113-yard performance during the 'Canes' spring game. Jones earned praise as a "blessing in disguise" from offensive coordinator James Coley, according to Manny Navarro of The Miami Herald.

When the tight end corps of Clive Walford, Asante Cleveland and JUCO transfer Beau Sandland get thrown into the group, Miami has plenty of weapons roaming the middle of the field, too.

This should be the first season in quite some time in which the experience and depth at receiver and tight end really equates to production.

The following table is a look back at the top two receivers based on yardage from each season since 2001:

Year Player REC YARDS TD
2001

Andre Johnson

Jeremy Shockey

37

40

682

519

10

7

2002

Andre Johnson

Kellen Winslow

52

57

1092

726

9

8

2003

Ryan Moore

Kellen Winslow

44

60

637

605

3

1

2004

Roscoe Parrish

Sinorice Moss

43

20

693

351

8

3

2005

Sinorice Moss

Ryan Moore

37

28

614

464

6

4

2006

Lance Leggett

Sam Shields

38

37

584

501

4

4

2007

Darnell Jenkins

Sam Shields

31

27

619

346

2

3

2008

Aldarius Johnson

Thearon Collier

31

26

332

324

3

2

2009

Leonard Hankerson

Travis Benjamin

45

29

801

501

6

4

2010

Leonard Hankerson

Travis Benjamin

72

43

1156

743

13

3

2011

Tommy Streeter

Travis Benjamin

46

41

811

609

8

3

2012

Phillip Dorsett

Rashawn Scott

58

35

842

512

4

3

Since 2002, the top two receivers for the 'Canes have combined for 1,200 yards and 10 touchdowns only three times. One of those instances, of course, was Leonard Hankerson's school-record-breaking year where he nearly accomplished the 1,200/10 feat on his own.

Each time the level has been surpassed (2009, 2010, 2011), the two leaders included both a possession receiver and a speedster, which is exactly what this year's Miami team has.

Dorsett and Scott were well on their way to becoming the next tandem to hit the mark, but Dorsett was plagued with the "dropsies," while Scott was suspended for the final three games of the season.

The underlying factors in this case, however, are that senior quarterback Stephen Morris is a fantastic distributor, and that the offensive line will be great for the 'Canes in 2013.

Steve Mitchell-USA TODAY Sports
Morris should have plenty of opportunities to launch a pass in 2013.

When Morris has good protection, he will have time to make the right decision. If Morris has ample time in the pocket, the receivers will find numerous open spaces and therefore get targets.

Dorsett, Waters and Lewis are each big-play weapons, while Hurns and Scott are possession receivers who can make plays after the catch.

Last season also marked the first time in school history that eight Miami receivers each had 200-plus yards. Six of those players return this season, and Malcolm Lewis isn't one of them.

With a great quarterback, strong offensive line and a bevy of pass-catching weapons, the 2013 Hurricanes offense could be the best at the school since a national championship-winning team.

It's that whole defense thing that may hurt the 'Canes.

But that's a different story...for another day.

 

Note: Statistics courtesy of sportsreference.com.

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