Miami Hurricanes WR Keyshawn Smith pushing to become starter

TALLAHASSEE, FL - NOVEMBER 2: (Photo by Don Juan Moore/Getty Images)
TALLAHASSEE, FL - NOVEMBER 2: (Photo by Don Juan Moore/Getty Images) /

Miami Hurricanes wide receiver Keyshawn Smith started with the first-team offense in the spring game and is pushing to earn a starting role next to Mike Harley and Charleston Rambo in 2021. Inconsistency from Mark Pope and Dee Wiggins at WR hindered the Miami offense in 2020. Depth should be better at WR in 2021.

Smith shined in the spring game with three receptions for 63 yards and two touchdowns. On the first TD, Smith showed good moves after the catch to evade the defender on his way to the end one. The second TD came on a deep ball from fourth team quarterback Ryan Rizk. Starting QB D’Eriq King made the play calls on both TDs.

King was calling offensive plays in the fourth quarter in part to keep him involved in the Spring Game while he sat out continuing to rehab from ACL surgery. Smith played only 106 offensive snaps in 2020 but graded out higher than Pope and Wiggins. In eight games in 2020, Smith had two receptions for 58 yards.

With Harley slated for the slot, Smith would lineup wide with Rambo opposite him. Smith lined up in the slot only twice in 2020 with 93 snaps outside. After originally signing a National Letter of Intent with Washington State in December 2019, Smith was released when Cougars head coach Mike Leach left for Mississippi State.

Smith then signed with the Miami Hurricanes in January 2020. Miami head coach Manny Diaz mentioned last month they believe that Smith has a big future with the Hurricanes. At 6’1 188 pounds, Smith provides Miami with a lanky receiver who has the speed to beat defensive backs downfield. Smith needs to get stronger.

Next. Diaz expects more consistency from WRs or lose their jobs. dark

Improving as a blocker will help Smith add to his repertoire of ability to make big plays in the passing game. With Smith and other WRs on the Miami roster pushing Pope and Wiggins, the competition for the Hurricanes should be more intense in 2021. That should help Miami get better play from their WRs this fall.