National CFB analyst intrigued with Miami Hurricanes WR battle

Sep 25, 2021; Miami Gardens, Florida, USA; Hard Rock Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Jasen Vinlove-USA TODAY Sports
Sep 25, 2021; Miami Gardens, Florida, USA; Hard Rock Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Jasen Vinlove-USA TODAY Sports /

Chip Patterson of CBS Sports wrote about the competition to be the first-team Miami Hurricanes wide receivers in his article“College football position battles to watch going forward as 2022 spring practices conclude”. Keyshawn Smith is the only returning starter for Miami at WR and Xavier Restrepo is a projected starter.

Jacolby George, Restrepo and Smith have received most of the first-team snaps this spring. The returning production after Restrepo and Smith takes a precipitous drop. Restrepo had 24 receptions for 373 yards and two touchdowns in 2021. Smith had 33 for 405 and three TDs.

George led the Miami Hurricanes averaging 26.3 yards per reception on seven catches for 183 yards and a TD last season. Breshard Smith will backup Restrepo in the slot. Smith had 14 receptions for 199 yards and two TDs. Expect Smith to be lined up throughout the former by hew offensive coordinator Josh Gattis.

Romello Brinson and Clemson transfer Frank Ladson should challenge for playing time and are WRs to watch in the Spring Game on Saturday. Isaiah Horton who is a 2022 signee does not arrive until this summer. Gattis has a lot of talent for quarterback Tyler Van Dyke to throw to. Which WRs will emerge in the Spring Game?

"Miami: Wide receiverSpring Game: April 16Names to know: Xavier Restrepo, Key’Shawn Smith, Brashard Smith, Jacolby George, Romello Brinson, Frank Ladson Jr.“Much of the excitement around Miami’s offense in 2022 starts with reigning ACC Offensive Rookie of the Year Tyler Van Dyke at quarterback and 2022 Broyles Award winner Josh Gattis as offensive coordinator.But with Charleston Rambo, Mike Harley Jr. and a handful of other veterans gone from last year’s squad, a key piece of business this spring is sorting out the wide receiver room under new leadership at head coach and coordinator.Restrepo, who played from the slot last year, is the leading returning receiver, but Gattis has shown in previous stops the tendency to spread the ball around and utilize different skill sets. There’s a lot of speed and potential with this group but not much proven production, making it a key to Miami’s hopes of contending for an ACC title.”"

The offense is expected to look different under Gattis than Lashlee. Lashlee uses an uptempo spread offensive system that frequently pushed the ball upfield. Expect the Miami Hurricanes to strive for a more balanced and physical offense under Gattis. Mario Cristobal wants Miami to be more physical on the line of scrimmage.

The WRs will be required to be effective blockers. Most of the key receivers return for Miami other than Harley and Rambo. Leading returning receiver, tight end Will Mallory and his primary backup Elijah Arroyo return and Miami adds 2022 signee Jaleel Skinner at TE. Expect the Miami TEs to often be split out wide.

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Restrepo and Smith have reportedly taken the leadership roles in the WR corps entering their third season in the Miami Hurricanes program. Gattis is also the WRs coach. That could help the unit get better acclimated to the Gattis offense. Saturday will provide what to expect into the offseason and August training camp.