Sims: Miami needs Colbie Young to deliver what he’s capable of

Junior Colbie Young runs through Texas A&M defenders before running out of bounds during the 48-33 win. Photo credit: Charisma Jones

Very few players are 6’5”, 215 pounds, and gain forty yards on a screen pass while breaking tackles and juking out defenders for a touchdown. A play like that can set the tone for the rest of the game.

Miami Hurricanes wide receiver Colbie Young can make those types of plays.

The junior from Binghamton, New York, flashed what he could bring to the Canes offense last season, came out in week one, and did not miss a beat. Young scored four receptions, 79 yards, and a score against Miami (OH). The following week, on a bigger stage against a ranked Texas A&M team, Young was able to deliver again. He had six receptions, 75 yards, and another touchdown.

Without Young on the field, which the ‘Canes experienced after he took a big hit, they could only muster two field goals and struggled to move the ball through the air. Quarterback Tyler Van Dyke also threw his only game interception while Young was on the sideline.

The ‘Canes do not have a receiver like Young. The New York native has a unique combination of size and speed that gives defensive coordinators nightmares.

Xavier Restrepo is an excellent receiver, and Restrepo has shown chemistry with Van Dyke, but he’s not the dominant physical threat that Young is. Jacolby George overcame some mistakes, scored a whopping three touchdowns against A&M, and was a tremendous performer, but time will tell if he can keep it up. Freshman Ray Ray Joseph is heralded to be a playmaker, but in the first game, he only recorded one reception. Hopefully, Joseph will get more opportunities to showcase his game in future games.

Young’s presence should free up other receivers running routes, like George and Restrepo. We saw that on Saturday afternoon against the Aggies. Young allows the ‘Canes to keep defenses on their toes. The Junior demands attention, and safeties will shade to the side of the field that he is on. If defenses think Young can be tied down by just a single cornerback in man coverage, they should think again.

The thing about Young’s game is that, while he can be a dominant force, he lacks consistency. Last season, Young had back-to-back weeks where he put up at least six receptions, over 100 yards, and a score. If the former JUCO standout would have been able to keep that level of production up, Young would have been among the best receivers in the nation.

However, last season he did not. After racking up four touchdowns in the first three weeks, Young had just one in the next five weeks. While Young had 127 yards against Duke, the third week of his hot stretch, he had 96 yards total in the games that followed. Young’s inconsistency is perplexing because of how dominant he can be when he’s playing well.

Young has to figure out how to keep his torrid pace up through this season because the Miami offense needs him. Young brings the receiver room something it lacks, making everything easier for his teammates. Offensive coordinator Shannon Dawson is putting Young in good positions, and making Young a focal point of the offense should pay dividends for the ‘Canes offense all year long.

The opening games were a good start for Young. The Junior showed off the potential he has in store. He’ll need to deliver on it if the ‘Canes offense is to reach new heights this season.