Miami Hurricanes slot receiver Mike Harley planned on heading home this week for some home cooking before the game against North Carolina.
“Sometimes I go home to get a home-cooked meal if I don’t feel like eating the dining hall food,’’ Harley, a Fort Lauderdale St. Thomas Aquinas High alum, told UM broadcaster Joe Zagacki on Tuesday during Hurricane Hotline. “She’s probably listening right now. I mean, my mom can cook—chicken Alfredo, pasta and probably some fried chicken, rice, corn bread, macaroni and cheese.
“I hope she’s listening.’’
Chances are Harley got that meal, not that he needs any more energy than he already exudes on and off the football field.
Last week against FIU, starter Jeff Thomas was sidelined for most of the game because of dehydration, and Harley came in and caught nearly as many passes in one game as he had for his career before that. His FIU numbers: a game-leading seven catches for 76 yards.
He has 13 catches for 103 yards this season, already better than last years total of nine catches for 91 yards.
Because of his work ethic, production and leadership, Harley was named a captain for the North Carolina home game at 8 p.m. Thursday, when the Hurricanes will be dressed in all black uniforms.
“I’m very proud,’’ Harley said Tuesday. “It’s a dream come true. I’m just trying to be a captain for the rest of the season, really.’’
Richt said coaches ‘’love’’ Harley, and that the Tuesday practice before the FIU game, the 5-9, 175-pound speedster gathered his sluggish teammates during an even hotter day than usual, and “held his team accountable’’ for being a bit sloppy and not giving full effort.
“We’re not getting it boys,’’ Harley said, according to Richt. “...We’re not doing the job like we should do it. We gotta tighten up.’’
Said Richt on Hurricane Hotline: “He has earned the right to stand up and say, ‘Hey, this isn’t good enough.’ Everybody responded well to that. For that reason, and the fact that he came in [against FIU] and put his money where his mouth was as far as performance not only catching balls but blocking his tail off like he always does, we named him offensive captain.’’
The other UM captains for the UNC matchup: cornerback Trajan Bandy and defensive ends Jonathan Garvin and Demetrius Jackson.
“I love the dude,’’ offensive coordinator Thomas Brown said of Harley, a former Army All-American four-star prospect who helped lead St. Thomas to a Class 7A state championship his senior year. “He’s got a phenomenal attitude, a phenomenal mentality. You can tell he loves the game the way he prepares himself. He comes to every single meeting, has juice. Some guys, because we’re a morning team, at times it takes a while to get up and get going.
“He has juice all the time.”
Harley, who said in August that he ran a 4.38-second 40-yard dash earlier this summer, said he learned about being captain for UNC from Richt during a team meeting.
“I was kind of happy,’’ Harley said. “Ran home and told my mom.
“She was like, ‘Wow! God is working. So, all the hard work is paying off. Just keep working, stay humble.’’’
Hopefully, mom whipped up some chicken Alfredo and all the fixings— and the desserts courtesy of his sisters.
“Sweet potato pie,’’ he said. “My sisters make the best desserts.’’