With productivity low, the Hurricanes made their bid to improve the position. Not only in recruiting but by hiring a new wide receiver in Aubrey Hill. Hill is a former player at the University of Florida and resident of Miami-Dade County. He comes to Coral Gables via the University of Pittsburgh with an impressive resume coaching talents such as Derek Kinder and Greg Lee while at Pittsburgh. Prior to his time with the Panthers he was a receivers coach at Duke and had stints in the NFL with Washington and Miami. Impressive resume aside, the Hurricanes are expecting a lot from Hill, and with that comes an improvement from a unit depleted by a lack of recruiting at the position and premier talent that Cane fans saw with the Andre Johnson's and Reggie Wayne's of the world recently.
The team will focus on youth this spring, as it brings in the highly touted Aldarius Johnson (6-foot-2, 210 pounds) and will see the return of Jermaine McKenzie (6-foot-1, 180 pounds) who dazzled fans last season with an impressive fall workout before a car accident sidelined up. Johnson and McKenzie will be two players to watch as they are as talented as anyone on the roster at the position. They will be joined by fellow second year player Leonard Hankerson (6-foot-3, 200 pounds) who will be asked to step up as he did at the end of last season with his big catch ability. The group of young receivers will be asked to play significant numbers early and this spring is the time for them to gain that momentum into fall practice.
The young players will push, and I mean hard, a group of upperclassmen at receivers that have yet to step up. Sam Shields and Ryan Hill were in Randy Shannon's dog house for much of the year before seeing time late in the season. If they are to make strides, they must get their class work and work ethic in order. After rumors of Hill being moved to corner, he will look to move into a position at wide receiver with the voids left by seniors Darnell Jenkins or Lance Leggett.
Kayne Farquharson came into his junior season with much praise. The JUCO transfer was expected to make big contributions early in his Hurricane career. However, nagging injuries slowed his progress, but the big plays will be expected in his final go around with his boyhood team. He has put a lot of work into the offseason developing and wants to make his final go around a great and memorable one.
Khalil Jones started at the beginning of the season for the Hurricanes but was quickly supplanted and wasn't really heard from again. Redshirt Freshman Daniel Adderley will be asked to step up and into the lineup as a possession receiver using his long 6-foot-6 frame to create mismatches against defensive backs.
The tight end position will see the same faces. Dajleon Farr transferred from the University, so it will leave the Canes with three scholarship tight ends on the roster. Dedrick Epps is the favorite to win the job going into practice, as he impressed coaches throughout the latter half of the season. Chris Zellner will be asked to continue his role on the team as the steady tight end that doesn't make mistakes. The highly touted Richard Gordon will be asked to gain momentum as year three will prove vital to his development.