I have been attending Miami Hurricanes home games since I first went with my father back in the very early 1980s. Since then, I have been privileged to witness some great players line up at the wide receiver position.
However, there are five former Hurricanes who all had outstanding careers with the Canes and even went on to the NFL. They definitely stand out as the best of the best, in my mind.
Great UM Wide Receiver #1: Leonard Hankerson, 2007 to 2010
Leonard Hankerson played four years with the Hurricanes, and in his last season he showed what he was all about, gaining 1,156 receiving yards and scoring 13 touchdowns. When Hankerson was playing and the Canes were down, it was almost always just a matter of time before his hands found the ball, often for a Hurricanes victory. He was a joy to watch while at the University of Miami and is now playing in the NFL on the Washington Redskins.
Great UM Wide Receiver #2: Andre Johnson, 2000 to 2002
Of all the Hurricanes wide receivers I've seen over the years, Andre Johnson is one of the purest. With the Canes, he had speed and agility and could out-jump almost anyone when it came to going up and getting the ball. In his last season with the Hurricanes, he breached the 1,000-yard mark in receiving yards at 1,092 and caught nine touchdown passes for good measure. It's no wonder the Houston Texans made him the No. 3 overall pick in the 2003 NFL Draft.
Great UM Wide Receiver #3: Reggie Wayne, 1998 to 2000
Reggie Wayne was part of a Hurricanes team that had plenty of talent at wide receiver. Still, he managed to stand out as one of the best on the team and was one of my favorite Canes to watch of that era. Wayne left Miami with 1,870 receiving yards to go with 18 touchdowns and was drafted by the Indianapolis Colts in the first round of the 2001 NFL Draft. He is still making magic there today and could be a future Hall of Fame player.
Great UM Wide Receiver #4: Santana Moss, 1998 to 2000
Santana Moss played right alongside of Reggie Wayne, and like Wayne he too was a first-round draft pick in the 2001 NFL Draft, going to the New York Jets. He still plays in the NFL for the Washington Redskins, but it is his play at Miami that I will always remember. Despite being undersized at the position at 5 feet 10 inches, he gained 2,278 receiving yards for the Canes, but made his most exciting plays when returning kicks. In just three seasons with the Hurricanes, he gained 1,196 return yards and scored six touchdowns. He was like watching lightening in a bottle.
Great UM Wide Receiver #5: Michael Irvin, 1985 to 1987
I was a preteen when Michael Irvin started playing at the University of Miami, but the memories he created for me are lasting. His speed and athleticism are still unmatched, in my mind, which he proved by gaining a total of 2,626 receiving yards while playing with the Canes. He went on to be a superstar in the NFL with the Dallas Cowboys and was elected to the Pro Football Hall of Fame in 2007. He can still be seen roaming the sidelines of many Canes home games, and, to me, he is the original great Canes wide receiver who helped forge a path of greatness for the school's football program.
Jimmy Collins has been a loyal fan of "The U" since he was a child attending games at the original Orange Bowl. Still a resident of South Florida, he attends numerous Miami Hurricanes games each season and enjoys writing about NCAA Football and the Miami Hurricanes in particular.
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