Over the last ten years, your fantasy teams have been littered with wide receivers from the University of Miami. Guys like Andre Johnson, Reggie Wayne, and Santana Moss were all top guys for years. Johnson, Wayne, and Moss are now retired, and Miami hasn’t been the same program for many years. Currently, Travis Benjamin, Philip Dorsett, and Allen Hurns represent “The U” in the league. Though they’re not terrible pieces, they’re also not guys that are going to win you your fantasy championship. We may now have a savior in Ahmmon Richards.
Ahmmon Richards just completed his impressive true freshman season at the University of Miami. During his freshman season, Richards set a University freshman record with 934 receiving yards bettering Michael Irvin’s previous record. Richard’s yardage total also lead the country for all freshman pass catchers. Hailing from Wellington, Florida Richards ranked just outside of the top 100 recruits and the 13th overall receiver by 247.com in the class of 2016.
Richards season started off slow, with a combined 5 receptions for 61 yards and a touchdown through his first two games. Then came along Appalachian State, ripping off his first of four 100+ yard games during the season. In this game, Richards had 4 receptions for 142 and a whopping 35.5 yards per reception. Richards often show his physical skills after the catch. Richards is a major handful once he gets the ball in his hand. After his first eight games of the season, Richards had 23 receptions for 488 yards and a touchdown.
The last five games of his freshman campaign Richards was on fire. This stretch of the season started with 3 straight 100+ yards games including two games over 8+ catches. Ahmmon tallied 26 receptions for 446 yards and two touchdowns over the last five games. Making him the top freshman receiver in terms of yardage and only second behind N’Keal Harry with his 49 receptions on the season.
Ahmmon accounted for just over 26% of his teams passing yards last year. Richards had to battle senior wide out Stacey Cooley as well as one of the hottest names currently in the draft world in redshirt sophomore tight end David Njoku for receptions. Richards finished off the season catching 49 out of 75 targets for a 65.3% catch rate. His 75 targets accounted for just over 17% of the targets in the offense. It’s hard to imagine his targets not climbing this coming season.
Listed at 6’1” 192 Richards plays more physical than his size would lead you to believe. Once Richards has the ball in his hands, he refuses to be tackled by defenders. On numerous plays last season, Richards showcased his ability to gain additional yardage due to his physical nature after the catch. Early in the Russell Athletic Bowl game against West Virginia, Ahmmon is able to turn a simple hitch route into a 51-yard touchdown after shedding defenders attempted arm tackles.
Another key to his success is his ability to track the ball in the air and adjust to throws. In this play against Pittsburgh, he tracks the ball in the air, makes an adjustment for the over the shoulder catch. This ability is on display in many of his big plays throughout his freshman season.
Ahmmon at this point doesn’t have any glaring weaknesses. He could use some weight added to his frame. But that should come with another couple of years in a college strength and conditioning program. Ahmmon doesn’t have blazing speed like a John Ross but he has more than enough speed to be a difference-maker. Like many other younger wide receivers he needs to refine his route running skills as well. Sharpening his route running and adding muscle to his frame should allow Richard’s to be one of the top wideouts in college.
Looking forward to the 2017 season Ahmmon Richards is in a position to be the dominant target in the Miami offense. With the departures of Cooley and Njoku, his target share in the offense should see a rise in 2017. The down side for 2017 is the loss of junior quarterback Brad Kaaya to the NFL Draft. With a change in quarterback, it’s hard to tell how the Miami offense will be affected in 2017. Richards will be able to develop as a prospect and player but could see a statistical decline due to the unknown at the quarterback position right now.
With his breakout performance as a true freshman, Richards appears to be one of the top prospects at the wide receiver position for the class of 2019. He will be in a tight competition with N’Keal Harry and D.K. Metcalf for the top spot. If Ahmmon continues to develop as a player he will most likely be a top 5 pick in 2019 rookie drafts.
In a recent Dynasty Football Factory Devy Mock, Richards went off the board in the middle of the second round. This mock draft included all Devy prospects regardless of class. He was the fourth player off of the board in the 2019 class behind D.K. Metcalf, N’Keal Harry, and Elijah Holyfield. Physical play and a desire to not be tackled, paired with the ability to track and adjust to balls in the air, Ahmmon Richards has the potential to hold the mantle previously held by Miami receivers in the NFL.