Miami Hurricanes should prepare for rest of 2018 without WR Richards

DURHAM, NC - SEPTEMBER 29: Ahmmon Richards
DURHAM, NC - SEPTEMBER 29: Ahmmon Richards /

Miami Hurricanes wide receiver Ahmmon Richards could miss most of the rest of the 2018 season. UM has to prepare as if the Junior star won’t play this season.

A lot was being expected of Richards this season for the Miami Hurricanes. He was coming off of an injury-riddled 2017 season after setting the Miami Freshman receiving yardage record in 2016.

Richards led the Hurricanes with 934 yards receiving in 2016. That broke Michael Irvin’s 31-year-old school record. Richards led FBS Freshmen in receiving yards and yards per catch in 2016 with 19.1.

As a Freshman Richards had 38 receptions go for first downs, 22 go for 15 yards or more and 12 for 25 or more. As a Sophomore, those numbers went down to 18 receptions for first downs and 13 catches of 15 or more yards and eight of 25 plus.

In 2018 Richards had one reception for nine yards against LSU. He has not played since the season-opening loss to the Tigers. Several Miami Hurricanes wide receivers have stepped up.

With N’Kosi Perry under center, the Hurricanes have to play as if Richards will not be back this season. The potential is he could play late in the year and still redshirt.

In his weekly news conference ahead of the Florida State game Miami Head Coach Mark Richt discussed Richards status for the remainder of the season and the possibility he could redshirt. Barry Jackson of the Miami Herald relayed the information.

"“If things don’t get better, it could happen…That’s a possibility. He’s not able this week. (versus Florida State."

The new redshirt rule allowing players to compete in four games and still maintain their redshirt season could work in Miami and Richards favor. Miami Offensive Coordinator Thomas Brown also discussed Richards injury standing.

"“Of course, but you obviously can’t rush how a body comes back and responds to stuff”"

In Richards absence, several receivers have stepped up. Braxton Berrios led Miami in receptions, receiving yards and touchdowns last season. Tight end Chris Herndon IV was second in all three categories. Perry has multiple options this season.

Sophomore Mike Harley leads Miami with 15 receptions. Most of that has come with Perry under center. Harley has been stellar since Perry essentially assumed the reigns as the first-team quarterback. Harley has nine receptions for 146 yards over the last two games. His is still waiting for his first career touchdown.

Harley’s classmate Jeff Thomas was sensational for the Miami Hurricanes in the first three games. Thomas has 13 receptions for 320 yards and two touchdowns this year. He was on pace to break the Miami records for All-Purpose yards and receiving yards in a season after the victory over Toledo.

He left the FIU game because of dehydration and did not produce much against North Carolina. Thomas had two receptions for 16 yards combined in the victories over the Panthers and the Tar Heels. He did have 84 return yards in the last two games.

Miami is going to need a playmaker like Thomas against Florida State. Thomas has been Miami’s big-play receiver this season. He has nine receptions that have gone for first downs, seven of 15 yards or more and five of 25 or more. Thomas is 14th in the country in yards per reception at 24.62 and 24th in receptions of 25 yards or more.

Lawrence Cager has been Miami’s big-play threat in the red zone. At 6’5 218 pounds he provides the Hurricanes with a big target in when they are in scoring territory. Four of his nine receptions this season have gone for a touchdown. Cager has 174 yards receiving in 2018.

Cager’s four touchdowns are 28th in the country. The nine receptions are tied with two other players for the fewest among those ranked in the top 65 nationally in touchdown receptions.

Other Miami receivers to watch with Richards out are Freshman Brian Hightower, Freshman tight end Brevin Jordan who is third on Miami with 13 receptions, Junior wide receiver Darrell Langham and Sophomore running back DeeJay Dallas out of the backfield.

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As it has been thus far through the first five games the Miami Hurricanes will likely to continue to use a receiver by committee. When they need a big play Thomas and Cager will be the players to watch.