Miami football wants their 12 WRs for depth and tempo

Dec 5, 2020; Durham, North Carolina, USA;. Mandatory Credit: Nell Redmond-USA TODAY Sports
Dec 5, 2020; Durham, North Carolina, USA;. Mandatory Credit: Nell Redmond-USA TODAY Sports /

The switch to the up-tempo spread run by offensive coordinator Rhett Lashlee beginning in the 2020 season made the importance of depth for the Miami football team essential. During his press conference on Wednesday discussing National Signing Day, head coach Manny Diaz said Miami can play with 12 wide receivers.

Senior Mike Harley and juniors Mark Pope and Dee Wiggins lead the Miami returnees at WR. The addition of WR Charleston Rambo from Oklahoma gives the Hurricanes a needed vertical threat in the passing game. Behind those four is a group of talented WRs waiting to challenge for playing time in 2021.

Harley had a career year in 2020 with 57 receptions for 799 yards and seven touchdowns. Pope and Wiggins each had 30 receptions but problems with drops especially in the 37-34 Cheez-it Bowl loss to Oklahoma State. Harley and Rambo are two of the expected starters for Miami in their two WR set.

Pope and Wiggins who started all but one game for Miami combined in 2020 will likely compete to be the other starter. Diaz stated the WR depth Miami has entering the 2021 season will help the competition at the position during spring practice. The Hurricanes signed three freshmen in the Class of 2021 ready to compete.

Romello Brinson


Jacolby George


Breshard Smith

bring different skill sets to the Miami football program. Brinson is the 25th ranked WR in the Class of 2021, George 29th and Smith 36th. Smith is a versatile player who is likely to be lined up all over the field and been compared to K.C.Chiefs WR

Tyreek Hill


"“You can play with 12 at wide receiver…That’s what we want. For us to go at the tempo we want to play at, we want to have guys we can roll in. We want to get in different personnel groups, with four wideouts in the game, five wideouts in the game.For us to put our foot on the gas and push the tempo the way we really want to, we don’t want to play with three or four. We want to have some depth. It’s very difficult for freshmen to break into the team…There’s competition.I would rather pull back and say the whole football team should think right now we are in great competition this spring because we have so much depth back.The last thing we would want is to say we have all this experience back, you guys put your feet up all offseason and we’ll kind of get the young guys ready for the following year. That’s crazy. The whole idea is we don’t want anyone in the program feeling comfortable. We want everyone to raise their level.Whether you’ve caught all the balls Mike Harley did or you’re one of the new talented receivers we have coming in, it’s all there to play for. Of the first two or three weeks of the offseason, the team has that mentality, that we’ve really earned nothing.”"

Diaz was quoted by Miami Herald columnist Barry Jackson. Behind Harley, Pope, Rambo and Wiggins the Miami football team does not have much experience at WR. The remaining WRs returning for Miami in 2021 had 13 receptions for 136 yards and one TD in 2020. Miami needs more production from its WRs in 2021.

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The return of quarterback D’Eriq King in the second year in the Lashlee offense with the top three running backs also back should help the Miami WRs. With 19 starters returning including 10 on offense, spring practice will be one of the most interesting for Miami in a few years. The experience should help younger players learn.