Fall Preview: Wide Receivers

Talented but inexperienced. That's probably the best way to describe the group of wide receivers for the Hurricanes this season. Sure, both starters are seniors but both still have a lot to prove.

The Hurricanes bring back five wide receivers who caught passes in 2006. Two of them are seniors and the others are plenty talented.

Still, there remain some question marks at the position heading into fall camp.

If the Hurricanes are to be as successful as people hope on the offensive side of the ball, it's time for seniors Lance Leggett and Darnell Jenkins to have breakout seasons.

Both players have been up and down throughout their UM careers. Leggett has two years worth of starting experience and started showing flashes of being a big play guy last season. He'll try to improve on his 38-catch, 584-yard, and four-touchdown performance from a season ago.

Jenkins, who was on the verge of the best season of his Hurricane career before a knee injury ended it early last season, has 62 career receptions but only four touchdowns. The talented senior, who was once named the Offensive MVP of Dade County (while a senior at Miami Central High), missed most of spring while tending to a family issue. It's showtime for Jenkins now.

Sophomore Sam Shields emerged as a quality receiver last season as a freshman. He was one of three major bright spots offensively last season among freshmen, joining running back Javarris James and offensive tackle Jason Fox.

Shields finished last season with 37 catches for 501 yards and four touchdowns. He hopes to improve on those numbers this season.

Sophomore Ryan Hill (8 catches for 77) yards, a converted cornerback, joins junior Khalil Jones (five career catches for 51 yards) and redshirt freshman George Robinson (torn ACL ended his true freshman season early) as younger players the Hurricanes are hoping to count on for quality play this season.

Of the four incoming players, Junior College transfer Kayne Farquharson appears to be the most likely to contribute right away. Farquharson is a little older and has experience at the college level. Look for him to factor into the rotation while incoming freshmen Jermaine McKenzie, Leonard Hankerson, and Daniel Adderley look to help.

McKenzie was involved in the same car accident that has Robert Marve sidelined and is expected to redshirt this fall as he rehabs his injuries.

Hankerson will probably earn some playing time since his game is a little more advanced than most incoming freshman receivers. His position coach at St. Thomas was future NFL Hall of Fame receiver Cris Carter.

Is there an Andre Johnson or Reggie Wayne in this group? Probably not. However, there is more than enough talent on the roster for this position to emerge as one of the strengths of this year's team. If the Hurricanes are to make big strides on offense this season, the receivers will have to step up.


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