Miami secured a verbal commitment from 4-star receiver Ahmmon Richards Tuesday afternoon, locking up its seventh player and incredible fourth WR for the 2016 class.
Richards is the No. 268 overall player and No. 48 receiver in the country, per the 247Sports composite rankings. He announced his commitment with a Tweet of himself flashing "The U":
Verbally committed to the "U" 🙌✊🏈🏆 pic.twitter.com/yWKBggUWvz— Ahmmon Richards (@AhmmonR2) July 22, 2014
Richards is 6'2" and a multi-sport star who also runs track at Wellington Community High School in West Palm Beach. Despite this, though, he does not project as one of the speedier receivers in the class. According to his junior evaluation from ESPN Scouts Inc., his best attributes include football I.Q. and a willingness to make plays in traffic, whereas speed is an area of concern:
STRENGTHS: Richards is a tough receiver who uses his understanding of defensive schemes to get open. Very willing to go across the middle to make plays and is willing to make catches in traffic. ... AREAS OF IMPROVEMENT: Has good route running ability but just needs to become more consistent. Can add weight to his long frame. Lacks great speed and a second gear. ... BOTTOM LINE: Richards is an athlete who makes plays all over the field. If he can learn to become a more consistent route runner then he should see a jump in his production. Improved speed will enhance stock.
However, this might make Richards a nice complement with his classmates at the position. Sam Bruce, the nephew of former St. Louis Rams superstar Isaac Bruce, is the No. 5 receiver in the class and projects as a Tavon Austin-type slot weapon. He could use teammates such as Richards and No. 13 receiver Dionte Mullins to work as possession targets outside the numbers. No. 51 receiver Dredrick Snelson projects as more of an outside-the-numbers vertical threat.
All four receivers committed since the start of July.
|Overall Rank||WR Rank||Size||Commit Date|
|Sam Bruce||41||5||5'8", 160 lbs||7/8/14|
|Dionte Mullins||73||13||5'10.5", 179 lbs||7/4/14|
|Ahmmon Richards||268||48||6'2", 172 lbs||7/22/14|
|Dredrick Snelson||297||51||6'1", 190 lbs||7/12/14|
Source: 247Sports Composite Rankings
On the field, Richards' commitment means an excess of depth at the receiver position—even more than already existed. If the other three receivers (especially Mullins) pan out, he can also be moved to safety, which would stagger the positions in the class. According to Peter Ariz of CanesInSight.com, Miami recruited him as an "athlete":
Miami has taken Richards as an ATH #Canes— Peter Ariz (@PeterAriz) July 22, 2014
Off the field, Richards' commitment speaks to a larger resurgence in Miami's recruiting. The Hurricanes have dominated the early portion of the 2016 cycle (high school juniors), enough so that this news didn't launch them to the No. 1 spot on the 247Sports team rankings—it kept them there and extended their lead over Baylor.
With Florida State on the brink of becoming an Alabama-sized superpower but Florida a little bit down, now is an important time for Al Golden and his staff to recruit the area. His team could go in any number of directions these next couple of cycles.
Fortunately, they have fostered a strong pro-Miami sentiment among high school juniors and seniors. Even when they play for rival teams, top high school prospects talk to one another about which colleges are "hip" and "cool" and "in" and worth playing for. Miami hasn't been Miami the past few seasons, which might have put these younger kids at risk at forgetting its former greatness.
But it hasn't.
"We want to change the program," Richards said of he and his future classmates, per Anthony Chiang of the Palm Beach Post. "We want to be remembered like the other great players that played there. We want to put Miami back on the national radar."
This is one more step in the right direction.
Follow Brian Leigh on Twitter: @BLeighDAT