Allen Hurns seemed puzzled this week when asked if he was on the watch list for the Biletnikoff Trophy that goes to the nation’s top receiver.
The response: silence, before he was asked again.
“Yeah,” he said reticently. “I didn’t think too much of it because it’s just a watch list. I’d rather win a championship than an award.”
The next starting University of Miami quarterback will be happy with some players who can catch a football.
“No one would be satisfied with our wide receiver situation in the spring,” Golden said in April. “There have got to be some guys that come in and help us out. It was a huge task asking three or four wideouts to carry the load for a position group that should have 10 in it.”
Finally, after dealing with injuries and rehab and the loss of his top two receivers to the NFL Draft, Golden has a deck to shuffle. Five new receivers arrived this summer, Hurns is finally healed after offseason surgery and sophomores Rashawn Scott and Phillip Dorsett should be poised for substantial contributions.
“Everyone here is talented,” quarterback Stephen Morris said of the newcomers that include highly touted 6-1, 176-pound Robert Lockhart, out of Fork Union Military Academy via West Boca High; 6-0, 194-pound Malcolm Lewis, out of state-runner up Miramar High; and 6-2, 172-pound Herb Waters from Homestead High. “They’re all doing extremely well.
“Lewis is explosive — he’s quick, man. Great hands. Lockhart can really jump — very athletic. Herb Waters is very energetic, always in my face talking about plays and defenses.”
Last year’s receiving corps lost Tommy Streeter, who finished with 811 yards and eight touchdowns on 46 catches — a 17.6-yard-per-catch average. Travis Benjamin added 609 yards and three touchdowns.
Hurns, a junior, played with a shoulder injury but still caught 31 passes for 415 yards and four touchdowns for a Miami passing offense ranked 62nd nationally.
“No pressure at all,” Hurns said. “I’ve been playing football all my life. I’m going to be one of the playmakers, but we’ve got other guys.”
Hurns wouldn’t guess which of the youngsters will play early. “It depends on how they pick up the playbook,” he said. “If you’re athletic, it only takes you so far.”
Case in point: Scott, a strong but graceful 6-2, 198-pounder who broke out during the spring and earned Most Improved Player, said it took him all season to truly understand the intricacies of the offense. After missing half of 2011 with a shoulder injury that required surgery, Scott finally was able to publicly display his talent.
He had 115 yards and two touchdowns on five catches in the first spring scrimmage, 75 yards and a touchdown on six catches in the next one, then four catches for 74 yards in the spring game — though the latter performance was offset by a pass that zipped through his hands and into the arms of former safety Ray-Ray Armstrong.
Fellow sophomore Dorsett, the fastest Hurricane who ran a 4.35 40-yard dash coming off spring, expects to have a bigger role this season after catching 14 passes for 147 yards and a touchdown in 2011. He also goes into fall as the starting punt and kick returner.
“I can do a little bit of everything,” Dorsett, 5-10 and 185 pounds, said.
Also hoping to contribute is the granddaddy of them all: fifth-year senior Kendal Thompkins, still waiting to make his mark after coming to UM in 2008 with former quarterback Jacory Harris and his Miami Northwestern crew.
“We miss Street, we miss Trav and we miss LaRon [Byrd],” Golden said. “... But there’s an infusion of young guys there that are helping to push us. I think some of those guys are going to step up big.”