Allen Hurns has had a stellar senior season.
He ranks 14th nationally with 19.78 yards a catch and is closing in on only the fourth 1,000-yard receiving season in Hurricanes history.
Of his 37 catches, 25 have produced a first down, including 10 on third down.
But of all his accomplishments, Hurns said what he’s most proud of is being healthy enough to start every game this year.
Sign Up and Save
Get six months of free digital access to the Miami Herald
“I broke my thumb last year and had a concussion that held me out for two games,” Hurns said. “The [torn labrum surgery] kept me out of spring football right after my sophomore season.
“What I’m most proud of really is I haven’t been restricted in any games this year. I’ve played in all of them. Even though I had a hip pointer [against. Florida State] I was able to fight through it. Being here everyday for your teammates is important.”
Coach Al Golden is grateful to have Hurns around. With Duke Johnson lost for the season and 2012 leading receiver Phillip Dorsett out since the North Carolina game, UM (7-2, 3-2 Atlantic Coast Conference) has been minus two of its most potent weapons during arguably its most critical stretch of the season. Hurns, meanwhile, has been what offensive coordinator James Coley called “the steady workhorse.”
Hurns earned ACC co-Receiver of the Week honors earlier this week and scored three of Miami’s five touchdowns in the back-to-back losses to Florida State and Virginia Tech.
Saturday afternoon at Duke (7-2, 3-2 ACC), Hurns will continue to be counted on to provide leadership to a younger group of receivers who have dropped a combined 11 passes the past two weeks. When sophomore Herb Waters dropped his first two passes of the season last Saturday against the Hokies (including one that could have gone for a touchdown), Hurns was there to provide a “next-play mentality” and “keep it positive,” Waters said. Freshman Stacy Coley said “the whole receiving corps just looks up to Allen.”
Truth is, it might actually be more than that just the receivers.
“He’s really a guy that is showing everybody on the team — not just the younger guys — showing everybody on the team the value of hard work,” Golden said.
Hurns, a former quarterback in high school, also has played a huge role in providing on-field feedback for coordinator James Coley during games. Hurns’ career-long 84-yard touchdown catch versus the Hokies, Coley said, was the result of something Hurns saw in coverage and told him about.
“He’s one of those guys that really plays the game with the mind-set that he’s not just a receiver,” Coley said. “As soon as he comes off, he’ll come to me and say ‘Coach, you know this is there.’ And I don’t even doubt it. You get a lot of players who will tell you ’Coach I’m open,’ and they’re really not. If Hurns tells you, it’s because its there.”
This semester Hurns is serving as an intern in UM’s Marketing Department, according to his mother Erica Wilson, and he will graduate Dec. 19 with a degree in sports administration. Hurns said his life long plan is to eventually become a coach.
But the NFL will definitely come calling first. Draft analyst Tony Pauline of DraftInsider.net said he expected big things from Hurns when he was a sophomore before injuries derailed him. But Pauline thinks Hurns, based on his senior season, has proved he’s reliable and he could sneak into the third round.
“I see him as a third receiver, a slot-type guy [in the NFL],” an NFC scout said of Hurns.
Wilson, who will graduate in May from Broward College with a degree in sports management, said she went back to school so she could know “the do’s and don’ts once Allen moves up to the next level in life.’’ She said she’s hoping to become his manager. “Every time I call him, he tells me he’s studying film,” said Wilson.
“I know he loves football, but my main focus has always been Dec. 19 — graduation day. That’s the day I’ve really been waiting for.”