The Miami Hurricanes enrolled two wide receivers from the Class of 2018 with hopes that getting a jump start in spring football might help them get onto the field early and improve overall depth in 2018.
Brian Hightower and Daquris Wiggins have both had several weeks to begin acclimating to the speed of the college game now, and both are living up to the coaching staff’s expectations, albeit in different ways.
Hightower has been physical and dependable in traffic. That might not guarantee him a role, but at nearly 6-foot-3 and over 200 pounds he was always going to be further along physically than the 6-foot-3, 175-pound Wiggins.
And that’s exactly where Wiggins is struggling this spring.
“Wiggins, he’ll flash when he plays, but then he’ll have issues because he’s too skinny right now. He’s not strong enough yet,” Richt said this weekend according to Christopher Stock of InsideTheU.com. “He’s not strong enough sometimes running routes. We’re putting hands on the receivers about every snap.
“No one is getting free-access routes like you might have got in high school. You’ve got to get off a jam almost every time so between that and trying to block stronger, more physical guys, he’s struggling. But like I told him (Saturday), you’ve got the skill set, but you’ve got to get bigger, stronger, and more physical in route-running and blocking.”
The good news for Wiggins is that the coaching staff understands where he’s at developmentally. He should be a high school senior right now and getting to campus early is giving him a chance to get a head start on building strength.
Perhaps he can pack on the pounds effectively over the summer and arrive on campus as a different kind of player in the fall. Maybe he’ll still need a redshirt year, but he should still arrive at the staff’s target weight ahead of time having enrolled early.
So even as he struggles this spring, it should all be for the best long term.