Leggett & Jones Valuable to WR Unit

The University of Miami wide receivers have been the most talked about group since the regular season finale in November. There has been a lot of discussion about who won't be back, but 2004 signees Lance Leggett and Khalil Jones will be back.

The 2006 spring wide receiver roster appears to be depleted more and more each day.

Senior Sinorice Moss leads the receivers with 35 catches and 604 yards with six touchdowns.

Moss is expected to surprise some people in the NFL Draft next spring and could be a first round pick.

Speaking of the NFL Draft, junior Ryan Moore will re-evaluate his decision after the Peach Bowl, but stated at this time he will be returning for his senior season.

Akieem Jolla has decided to transfer. New Mexico State is his likely destination.

Terrell Walden suffered a sprained MCL last week and could miss the spring.

Tanard Davis will be graduating and Devin Hester who will be playing some receiver in 2006 if he decides to return.

That leaves Darnell Jenkins who will be a senior in the spring along with Lance Leggett and Khalil Jones as definite returnees.

Leggett and Jones came in together in the fall of 2004. The two have developed a strong bond including rooming together on the road.

Leggett, a 6-foot-3, 185-pound sophomore, has 31 catches for 551 yards and six touchdowns in his career.

"Lance has a tremendous amount of talent and good receiver's skills," said wide receivers coach Curtis Johnson. "He was coached very well in high school who is very fast and is progressing after a rough year this year."

Leggett was bothered by injuries this season including a foot injury prior to fall practices.

"I think it has become an injury factor with him more than anything," Johnson said.

Leggett has his mindset on one personal goal for the Peach Bowl as he tries to end his season on a good note.

"I just want to score a touchdown," Leggett said.

Jones, a 6-foot-2, 210-pound redshirt freshman, has caught two passes for 30 yards this season.

He has been improving daily since his arrival at UM, but wants to take his game to another level.

"I am just working on consistency," Jones said. "I have been running routes, catching balls, and I have gotten better as a receiver. I just want to make the next step. My confidence has gotten a lot better."

Coach C.J. compares to Jones to Andre Johnson when he first arrived at UM.

"He reminds me of Andre Johnson," Johnson said. "He came in with a tremendous amount of talent, but didn't have the receiver skills as Andre didn't. He is starting to catch the ball and work extremely hard. He is an extremely gifted and talented young man that we expect a lot out of in the future."

At the annual awards banquet Jones was the winner of the Mariutto Scholar Athlete (Academic Excellence) award given to the player with the highest GPA in the semester.

"I definitely didn't expect it," Jones said. "I was always told that my work in the classroom attributes to the football field."

Both Legget and Jones are looking forward to spring practices to get much-needed reps. Players in their second spring develop the most as an individual.

"I really think they are going to step up," Johnson said. "I really like how they work with a good strong positive attitude."

Until then, Leggett and Jones will be preparing to contribute in the Peach Bowl on Dec. 30.

"This is a game that we have got to win," said Jones.

Christopher Stock is a Senior Editor with CanesTime and can be contacted by emailing him at stock@canestime.com


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