Miami Hurricanes veteran WRs continue dominating playing time

Nov 9, 2019; Mandatory Credit: Steve Mitchell-USA TODAY Sports
Nov 9, 2019; Mandatory Credit: Steve Mitchell-USA TODAY Sports /

Two games after listing all nine scholarship wide receivers equally on the depth chart, senior Mike Harley and juniors Mark Pope and Dee Wiggins are continuing to get the majority of the snaps for the Miami Hurricanes.

Through the five games of the 2020 Miami Hurricanes season, the wide receiver corps had performed below average. Prior to the last two games, all nine Miami scholarship WRs were listed as starters on the depth chart. Senior Mike Harley and juniors Mark Pope and Dee Wiggins continue to receive the majority of snaps at WR.

In the 44-41 Miami Hurricanes victory over North Carolina State last Friday, Wiggins played 83 snaps, Harley 74 and Pope 70 according to Barry Jackson of the Miami Herald. With tight end Brevin Jordan missing the last three games, Harley has emerged as the go-to WR for Miami quarterback D’Eriq King.

Harley has 18 receptions for 322 yards and three TDs in Miami wins over the Wolfpack and 19-14 victory over Virginia three weeks ago. The track meet in Raleigh allowed Pope, Wiggins and second-team TE Will Mallory to all contribute big numbers. Pope had six receptions for 97 yards and a TD and Wiggins 7-77 and a TD.

Mallory added 6-77 and a TD as King threw for 430 yards, five TDs and ran for 105 yards. Redshirt freshman Jeremiah Payton added on reception for 12 yards playing 14 snaps. Freshman Michael Redding III and Keyshawn Smith have had their moments this season. Redding has two receptions for 13 yards and a TD, Smith 2-58.

Payton has contributed three receptions for 30 yards in 2020 with four for 53 in two seasons with Miami. A practice legend, Payton has not been able to earn consistent playing time. Freshmen Xavier Restrepo and Daz Worsham have not contributed on offense. Restrepo has become the first team punt returner.

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With the Miami coaching staff stressing security first, Restrepo has two punt returns for eight yards. Saturday Miami will face a Virginia Tech defense that is 11th in the ACC allowing 257.9 passing yards per game. Miami is third in the ACC in passing averaging 270.9 yards per game.