Miami Hurricanes 2017 Player Preview: Braxton Berrios

MIAMI GARDENS, FL - SEPTEMBER 3: Braxton Berrios /

After three years as primarily a backup and a kick returner, Miami Hurricanes wide receiver Braxton Berrios will get a chance to start this season. Berrios has already shown signs this spring and summer of being a team leader.

Berrios showed flashes as a freshman. He had 21 receptions for 232 yards and three touchdowns in 2014. His numbers regressed the last two seasons as a receiver. Berrios had 12 receptions in each of the last two seasons for a combined 264 yards and had both of his touchdowns last season.

Berrios got a chance as a punt returner since his freshman season. As a freshman and sophomore, he had a combined 15 returns for 66 yards. He had a huge jump last season.

Berrios is currently listed as the starter at the wide receiver Z position. Miami lost wide receiver Stacy Coley and tight end David Njoku from last season’s team. Njoku was more like a hybrid receiver.

Njoku, Coley and returning Sophomore Ahmmon Richards formed a formidable troika of receivers last season. Sophomore Lawrence Cager who redshirted with a torn ACL last season is listed as the third starter at the wide receiver Y position.

Berrios had a huge jump last season. His improvement was noticed and Athlon named him as the first-team punt returner on their All-ACC team. Berrios had 19 punt returns for 219 yards and a touchdown last season.

Related Story: Miami Hurricanes 2017 Player Preview: Braxton Berrios

That was good enough for fourth in the ACC and is second among returnees. Pittsburgh star Quadree Henderson leads ACC returnees at 15.8 yards per return.

Berrios and Cager will have a lot of competition for time at receiver. Sophomore Dionte Mullins was highly regarded coming out of high school but did not record a catch last season.

The freshman trio of Jeff Thomas, Mike Harley and DeeJay Dallas will also get a chance to show what they can do. Redshirt Junior College transfer Dayall Harris is listed as Cager’s backup at the WR-Y position.

Whatever happens with the Hurricanes offense this season, Berrios and the Miami receivers will have to get used to a new Quarterback. Talking to Joe Rose Show on WQAM Berrios discussed getting used to his new QB.

"“Getting used to them all, that’s the hard part. Ever since I’ve been here…we’ve had one guy, and we knew who that guy was. You get in a rhythm throughout the summer, spring even … now we’re coming into camp with three or four guys who could be the guy. It’s going to be a little different with their cadences, how they throw, how hard they throw and all the timing. That’s the main disadvantage of having so many guys who can be it.”"

Berrios seems to be taking the role of being the only Senior in the receiving core seriously. Rose asked him how the Freshmen were adapting to college.

"“They can be really special…It’s a matter of learning the playbook, which they’ve done so far…nobody’s seen these two young guys play at the collegiate level yet..(Junior Lawrence) Cager‘s finally coming back” (off a knee injury)…That’s another one to keep an eye on.”"

Berrios will be one of five Senior starters on offense to begin the season, tight end Chris Herndon IV and three Senior offensive linemen will also be playing in their final season. Whoever takes the snaps under center will be taking over as a starter for the first time.

Miami Hurricanes fans have been clamoring for true freshman N’kosi Perry. Berrios said he doesn’t care who the starter is but hopes that they are able to settle on one quarterback.

"“I want somebody to step up and be the leader and be our guy. I hope we don’t have to go through two, you know, three quarterbacks throughout the season. I want one guy, and I want him to be our ride-or-die.”"

Next: Is the Miami Hurricanes Defense Getting Disrespected?

Last season was the first time the Miami Hurricanes won a bowl game since 2006. This year’s Senior class can become the first one since that same season to win two bowl games during their Miami career. The 2006 Seniors won three bowl games during their four seasons at the U.