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Why the return of Ahmmon Richards matters so much to Miami

The return of Ahmmon Richards to Miami’s offense will be a serious boon for the Hurricanes.

On Friday night, Miami invades Durham for a Coastal Division showdown with Duke; when the Hurricanes take the field, the team expects to have star sophomore wide receiver Ahmmon Richards — who has yet to play this season.

No one should be happier for that development than quarterback Malik Rosier, although he isn’t alone. Here’s why.

 

Stats and Facts

Ahmmon Richards set the single season record for receiving yards by a freshman at Miami in 2016 — a record that had stood for 31 years.

In total, Richards was targeted 75 times (18.1 percent of Miami’s attempts), according to Football Study Hall. He hauled in 49 of those targets, which translates to a catch rate of 65.3 percent. Richards, however, didn’t rack up an efficient catch rate on an infinite supply of bubble screens.

For only a sophomore, Richards is so polished as a route runner. The 6-foot-1 wideout can take the top off a defense with a double move to set up a deep ball. However, he’s most slick when running after the catch, especially after vertical route.

Richards has an incredible ability to run a quick hitch route, and leave a cornerback tackling air as he spins up the sideline. Per Football Study Hall, Richards averaged over 12 yards per target.

Additionally: Richards, who had 22 receptions of 15-plus yards, was one of only nine FBS players to record at least 40 receptions and averaged over 19 yards per catch. He had 10 receptions of 30-plus yards, which ranked third in the ACC.

 

The Duke game

Assuming Ahmmon Richards plays on Friday against the Blue Devils, it will help Miami’s offense in a variety of ways. Duke’s defense has absolutely dominated against run; this is why Richards can be Mark Walton’s best friend, too.

Braxton Berrios is off to a great start in 2017 — eight catches (11 targets), 140 yards and two touchdowns — but Richards is this team’s most talented receiver. His presence on the field could drag an extra defender away from the box, which is big for Walton.

One fewer player around the line of scrimmage could be the difference between a moderate gain and a touchdown for the ACC’s top running back.

 

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