BOCA RATON — University of Miami coach Mark Richt said he expects receiver Ahmmon Richards to be fully fit by the fall following an injury-shortened sophomore season.
“He’s going to be 100 percent healthy and ready to go by the time the fall rolls around and we hope and expect big things from him,” Richt said Wednesday morning at the YMCA of South Palm Beach County’s 16th annual Inspiration Breakfast at the Office Depot Global Headquarters.
Richards set a school freshman record with 934 receiving yards but was limited to 439 yards last year because of hamstring, ankle, Achilles and knee injuries.
“He was battling injuries all year last year, even when he was in there,” Richt said. “He just never seemed to be 100 percent. He gave us all he could and we were as patient as we could be.”
Richt expects a huge contribution from Richards in 2018.
“If he just plays normal for him, he’ll be one of the best receivers in America,” Richt said. “He’s that talented.”
He showed that contested catches are not a problem, as he outwrestled 6-1 defensive back Ryan Mayes for a 4-yard TD pass from Cade Weldon. Langham also made a nice adjustment, diving for a 6-yard touchdown reception from Jack Allison.
“Langham, he’s a bully on the field, honestly,” Richards said. “Any 50-50 ball, he’s going to come down with it. He made a huge jump and he’ll be no surprise to everyone this year.”
Langham: “This spring I had to really push myself do better and actually just explode this year. Had to do more.”
Step 1, coaches were saying, was just look in the mirror and realize how much of a weapon size can be.
“I’m told every day I have to use my body to to get between the ball and the corner or the safety,” Langham said. “I push myself to do that every day but I have to do that more.”
There are words to describe Ahmmon Richards’ freshman season at the University of Miami.
Record-setting, for example. Eye-catching. Promising.
Then there’s the way Richards himself describes his opening act.
OK? Yes, OK is the way Richards painted a season in which he broke Michael Irvin’s record for receiving yards by a UM freshman.
Let Richards explain:
“I feel like last year was OK,” he said. “I mean, it wasn’t a season like I wanted to have. It was a good season but it just wasn’t what I wanted it to be.”
Good luck to the rest of the ACC if Richards has a sophomore season like he pictures in his dreams. For the record, Richards put up 49 receptions for 934 yards. He averaged 19.1 yards per catch, which is what happens when you make 13 catches of 20 or more yards. When he talks about improvement, perhaps the one area that wouldn’t leave you scratching your head is in touchdown receptions, because Richards had just three.
At any rate, Richards, from Wellington High, piled up honors, including making Freshman All-America and third-team All-ACC as selected by the coaches.
Richards said his outlook this spring is to “not be mediocre every day, to try to come out and work and be better than last year.”
Soon to turn 19, he said, “I feel like I have to lead more and that’s something I’m not used to, so I’m just trying to learn how to lead.”
That’s how he can make teammates better. How he can make himself a better player: “Finishing routes. Staying up and not letting one guy tackle me.”
Richards seemed to do that last season, when he wiped out Irvin’s record of 840 yards on 46 catches in 1985.
SPRING FOOTBALL 2017
Position-by-position previews and projected depth charts: