Miami Hurricanes Will be in Trouble at TE Without Chris Herndon


The loss of David Njoku to the NFL and Jovani Haskins’ transfer to West Virginia leaves little depth at tight end for the Miami Hurricanes. Behind Starter Chris Herndon IV is Sophomore Michael Irvin II and Freshman Brian Polendey.

The Miami Hurricanes played a lot of two tight end sets last fall with Njoku and Herndon. Njoku was a much bigger part of the passing game last season. Herndon should see an increased role this season.

In addition to the loss of Njoku, the Hurricanes also lost 2016‘s leading receiver, Stacy Coley. Coley finished the 2016 season with 63 receptions for 754 yards and nine touchdowns. He led the team in receptions and receiving touchdowns.

Sophomore wide receiver Ahmmon Richards led Miami in receiving yards with a school freshman record 934. Richards is likely to lead Miami in touchdowns, receptions and receiving yards this season.

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  • Njoku had 43 receptions for 698 yards and eight touchdowns. He finished second on the Miami Hurricanes in touchdown receptions and third in catches and receiving yards last season.

    Herndon was fourth across the board in receiving for the Miami Hurricanes last season.

    He finished 2016 with 28 receptions for 234 yards and two touchdowns. Those numbers should all rise in 2017.

    Miami Hurricanes Head Coach Mark Richt discussed the lack of depth at tight end and Herndon’s importance to the team at ACC Kickoff Media Days on Friday.

    "“Chris Herndon, I’ve got a lot of faith in. I think he’s one of the better tight ends I’ve been around. Very physical at the point of attack, good route runner, good ball skills, probably runs a 4.6, at 255 pounds.”"

    Herndon’s skills have been praised often through the offseason. He doesn’t have the freakish athleticism that Njoku has. He will get a far greater chance to show he’s a stellar receiving tight end this season.

    Richt discussed the responsibilities that the tight end has in his offense.

    "“He’s very smart, and he of all of our players has to adjust more than anybody we have. We’ll call certain plays and formations, and he’s got to know — he’s the guy that moves the most and has to understand where to be because if we want to go at the temp that we want to go at, we don`t want to have to tell him exactly where to line up.He’s got to understand the play. When he hears the play, he’s got to know where to go after he hears the play, and we put a lot of burden on the tight end position to do that, and he does it extremely well.”"

    Irvin is entering his Sophomore season without playing much as a Freshman in 2016. He got into five games last season primarily on special teams.

    Polendey is three-star tight end from Denton, Texas. He is the 21st ranked tight end in the class of 2017 and the 69th ranked player in the state of Texas per 247 Sports.

    Polendey is much further along as a blocker at this point in his development. He caught only eight passes for 85 yards as a Senior in high school last season.

    Whoever wins the quarterback job is likely to lean on Herndon heavily as an outlet receiver. Richt discussed the tight end situation behind Herndon.

    "“Behind him, we’re young. We’re inexperienced, and I don’t know if we’re ready to play championship football. There’s some time between now and then, where Michael Irvin, Jr. can get there and Polendey is a young freshman coming in. But I’d be very concerned if something happened to Chris, I can tell you that.”"

    Next: ACC Kickoff: Mark Richt Discusses Coaching at Miami

    Keeping Herndon healthy will be one of most critical elements to Miami’s season. Polendey should be able to give the Hurricanes a good second blocker. Irvin’s growth is yet to be determined.