After three consecutive seasons with increased receptions and yards, Miami Hurricanes wide receiver Mike Harley is bound to become one of the main offensive weapons in 2020.
Coming out of St. Thomas Aquinas High School (Fort Lauderdale, FL.), Harley was a consensus four-star prospect in the 2017 class. Harley’s senior campaign was arguably his greatest, leading the Raiders to a 12-2 record and a 7A state title, recording three touchdowns in the championship game. In his last two seasons at St. Thomas Aquinas, Harley garnered over 650 receiving yards and 12 touchdowns on 46 receptions.
His elite playmaking earned him Miami Herald first-team All-Broward honors, along with recognition as a top 50 wide receiver in his class by ESPN, 247Sports and Rivals.
Bottom Of The Food Chain
As a true freshman, the Fort Lauderdale, FL native showed glimpses of potential in limited playing time, totaling nine receptions for 91 yards in only seven games played. Harley was last on the depth chart, sitting behind receivers Braxton Berrios, Ahmmon Richards, Jeff Thomas, Lawrence Cager and Darrel Langham.
In a Week 1 contest vs. Bethune-Cookman, Harley caught the ball once for 18 yards. While he didn’t receive multiple targets, the South Florida speedster got his first glimpse of college football. The following game vs. Toledo, Harley had a season-high three catches for 34 yards, including a 19-yard reception.
The rest of Harley’s freshmen campaign was outshined by Miami’s senior slot receiver, Braxton Berrios. Once Harley was given the opportunity to shine, he took advantage of it.
With injuries to Ahmon Richards and Jeff Thomas, and an open spot following Berrios’ graduation, Harley got his chance to get more snaps in 2018. Despite disappointing numbers in his first three games, collecting 6 catches for 27 yards, Harley quickly picked up his early jitters, totaling nine receptions for 146 yards in his next two games.
Harley nearly tripled his receiving yards in eight games, notching 21 receptions for 240 yards.
As the season went on, the Hurricanes suffered a devastating four-game losing streak in which the offense was stagnant. Harley only played three of the last seven regular-season games, totaling just six receptions for 67 yards. Despite the fact that Harley’s sophomore stats weren’t elite, he showed tremendous upside and was primed to have more touches in 2019.
In his third year at UM, Harley played all 12 games of the regular season, amassing 38 receptions for 485 yards and 3 touchdowns, ultimately making it his best season in his collegiate career. Harley also collected some milestones, including his first touchdown off a screen pass in a Week 3 meeting vs. Bethune-Cookman.
Although the 2019 season was another lackluster act from the Hurricanes’ offense, a Louisville match up was one game where the offense was firing on all cylinders. This was Harley’s career-best game, harvesting six receptions for 116 yards and two touchdowns in a 52-27 victory.
After three years of waiting, Mike Harley will excel as a wide receiver entering the 2020 season. And through the likes of new wide receivers coach, Rob Likens, Harley’s abilities could translate to the next level.
Likens’ resume at generating such players has been stirring for the past two seasons as the offensive coordinator at Arizona State.
At the receiving end, the Sun Devils have had consecutive seasons with a WR selected in the first-round, N’Keal Harry going No. 32 to the New England Patriots in 2019 and Brandon Aiyuk No. 25 to the San Francisco 49ers.
Likens led his 2018 offense to 3,000 yards passing, 1,500 yards rushing, and 1,000 yards receiving. In 2019, Likens was best known for putting the trust on 19-year-old freshman quarterback Jayden Daniels as the leader of the offensive core. Daniels did a phenomenal job as the starter, totaling over 2,940 yards passing, 17 touchdowns, and two interceptions, leading Arizona State to an 8-4 record, including an upset victory to No. 6 ranked Oregon.
The most exciting part of Harley’s game, however, is the leadership quality that he brings to the young receiving core alongside his speedy play style in the newly adjusted offensive system.
“[I] love Mike Harley,” Likens said. “[I] love his leadership when he walks into the room. He kind of was the leader when I first got in there. He was the kind of guy I first went to and talked to and things like that, so I like that out of him. He has some experience, he’s courageous across the middle.”