Miami Hurricanes WR Ahmmon Richards cleared to return to practice

MIAMI GARDENS, FL - NOVEMBER 18: Ahmmon Richards
MIAMI GARDENS, FL - NOVEMBER 18: Ahmmon Richards /

Miami Hurricanes wide receiver Ahmmon Richards who dealt with hamstring and knee injuries that caused him to miss six games last season has been cleared to return to the practice field.

Richards was not able to match his spectacular Freshman season when he set a Miami Hurricanes receiving yardage record in 2016 with 934 yards. That broke Michael Irvin’s 31-year-old record.

His Sophomore season was plagued by a torn hamstring that had been reported as strained throughout the 2017 season and a torn MCL during the week of practice before the ACC Championship game that sidelined him that week and for the Orange Bowl.

Without Richards, running back Mark Walton and tight end Chris Herndon IV for the final two games the Miami offense struggled. With Richards healthy for 2018, the maturation of the other receivers and some reinforcements at the skill positions on offense the Miami Hurricanes are expected to improve on that side of the ball this season.

Miami quarterback Malik Rosier had to play two games without the offense’s top player at wide receiver, tight end and running back entering the season. Miami played only one full game last season with all three players healthy.

Richards missed the first two games of the season. He returned for the Hurricanes third game of the season against Toledo. In their next game against Florida State, Walton was lost for the season with an ankle injury.

Richards spoke to the Sun Sentinel what it meant to him to be able to get back on the field with his teammates.

"“It feels like an elephant’s off my back…I can feel like I can go work out and just do the extra stuff to get better. I don’t have to worry about injuries and stuff like that. It feels great to be back normal.”"

Richards was able to get back on the field. He helped Miami Hurricanes Head Coach Mark Richt and some teammates conduct a satellite camp in West Palm Beach on Friday.

Last year was a trying season for Richards. He was limited to 24 receptions for 439 yards and three touchdowns. The receptions and yards were less than half of what he had during his record-setting Freshman year. He was able to match his touchdowns from 2016.

"“I don’t think I’ve been hurt that much in my entire life…It was hard, just mentally trying to go to rehab every day, try to get better and play at a high level. It was hard, but I had to fight through it. … To know what I went through last year, all the injuries and being hurt almost every day, I think it made me tougher. I don’t think there’s an injury I can’t deal with it. I’ve been through it all.”"

Wide receiver is Miami’s strongest position group heading into the season. There are a lot of question marks throughout the receiving core.

Can Richards stay healthy, are sophomore Jeff Thomas and Mike Harley ready to step into bigger roles, can upperclassmen Lawrence Cager and Darrell Langham be more consistent and how good are the Freshmen?

Despite all the talent on the Miami roster at wide receiver and the question marks about Richards’ health, Richt still believes that he will be the number one receiver.

"“If Ahmmon can stay healthy, and that’s true of everybody, I can’t imagine him doing anything less than he did his freshman year, which was phenomenal…I can easily see him get over 1,000 [yards] and who knows how many touchdowns.But the thing about Ahmmon is he’s a gifted blocker, he’s a great teammate in regard to that and he could probably be the best blocker we’ve got at the wide receiver position, too. He’s a leader. He knows it and this is a big year for him and our program.”"

Richards won’t have time to ease into the season like he would of during his first two years with the Hurricanes. The season opener against LSU in Arlington, Texas means he has to be ready from day one.

Miami then hosts Savannah State in the home opener the following week. Their final two non-conference games are at Toledo and back home against FIU.

Next: Loss of wide receiver Dayall Harris not a big one for Miami football

Richards presence will greatly help Rosier and he can be a great mentor to Harley, Thomas and the talented Freshmen wide receivers on the roster. If he can stay healthy and post the kind of season Richt mentioned he should be a sleeper to earn a spot on the All-America team. Richards was a Freshmen All-American in 2016.