2011 Countdown: #8 Junior Hemingway

2011 Countdown: #8 Junior Hemingway


August 23, 2011
Junior Hemingway (#21) runs away from Mississippi State’s Disgusting Shin Man

Name: Junior Hemingway
Height: 6’1″
Weight: 222 lbs.
High school: Conway High School in Conway, SC
Position: Wide receiver
Class: Redshirt senior
Jersey number: #21
Last year: I ranked Hemingway #26 and said he would make 25 receptions for 300 yards and 4 touchdowns.  He caught 32 passes for 593 yards and 4 touchdowns.

Well, I was close to being right on the number of receptions, and I was exactly correct about the touchdowns.  Where I missed big-time was on the yardage.  Michigan’s Denard Robinson’s running game opened up some deep throws for the Wolverines in 2010, and Hemingway took advantage whenever Robinson threw the ball in his vicinity.  Hemingway caught a slant against Indiana and rambled to the endzone (he’s not blessed with great speed), and he also outjumped a Hoosiers defensive back for a 42-yard reception at the end of the game, which set up the game-winning play.  Perhaps his biggest highlight was the 45-yard catch and run against Illinois, in which he shimmied and shook on the sideline until the Illini defensive backs flailed miserably as he slipped past them down the sideline.  Things were about as exciting as they could get for a receiver who had less than 600 yards and only four scores.

Hemingway is poised to expand on that production here in 2011.  Michigan will still run plenty of plays from spread formations, but when the Wolverines get into the I-formation or split backs, Hemingway should see plenty of throws coming his way.  Whereas the other wideout, Roy Roundtree, might be hampered by his lack of size as he moves out of the slot, Hemingway is more familiar with playing outside and will still be bigger and stronger than the cornerbacks covering him.  His ability to go up for jump balls and shield defenders from passes should serve him well.  Hemingway might not be the next great receiver in the mold of Braylon Edwards, David Terrell, etc., but he should be a very solid target for Denard Robinson.

Prediction: 70 receptions, 1000 yards, 7 touchdowns

Poll results: Kevin Koger got 40% of the vote while Patrick Omameh got 27% and Hemingway finished third with 21%.

18 comments

  1. Comments: 21636
    Anonymous
    Aug 23, 2011 at 12:18 PM

    For a guy who supposedly doesn't have much speed, Hemmingway seems like a big play machine.

  2. Comments: 21636
    Aug 23, 2011 at 12:37 PM

    @ Anonymous 8:18 a.m.

    Well, he legitimately doesn't have much speed…but somehow he gets it done.

  3. Comments: 21636
    Nick.
    Aug 23, 2011 at 12:44 PM

    You can compensate for not being the fastest guy by getting off the ball good at the beginning and running good routes. He isn't the slowest guy so if he does those other things well he can make up for not being a 4.4 40 yd runner. If Denard can keep his arm strong and accurate while sitting in the pocket Junior could have a huge year. Denard has to wait and let the play develop…….but will his line give him the time to do it?

  4. Comments: 21636
    Aug 23, 2011 at 1:15 PM

    I was most astounded at the fact that he had so many elusive moves after the catch last year. Those were most amazing to me, and it happened multiple times.

  5. Comments: 21636
    Aug 23, 2011 at 1:25 PM

    @ Josh Johnson 9:15 a.m.

    That was his M.O. coming out of high school. Hemingway was originally a 4-star on Rivals, but they downgraded him to a 3-star because he was good after the catch, but didn't have blazing speed to make the big play. For the most part (other than the 45-yard TD vs. Illinois last year) that has proven to be true.

  6. Comments: 21636
    Aug 23, 2011 at 1:45 PM

    MOOG DANCE.

    He's got the orbit step down to a science as well.

    @Nick:

    The O-line should be the strongest unit of the team this year. I'm not really worried at all that Denard will have time to pass.

  7. Comments: 21636
    Anonymous
    Aug 23, 2011 at 1:56 PM

    I always thought of Hemingway as a slower Anquan Boldin, a poor mans Boldin if you will.

    He has that same thick frame (actually I think they're almost exactly the same size), same type of ability after the catch, same type of ability to go up and make the spectacular catch. Same weird ability to get behind defenders consistantly despite not being very fast.

    The difference of course is that Boldin can run away from people at times, while I'd be shocked if Hemingway runs below a 4.6.

    Still, I think he's poised for a pretty big year, if he can stay healthy, which has been his biggest problem.

  8. Comments: 21636
    Aug 23, 2011 at 2:07 PM

    @ Anonymous 9:56 a.m.

    Mario Manningham ran a 4.6. I'm guessing Hemingway probably runs a 4.75 or so.

  9. Comments: 21636
    Aug 23, 2011 at 2:13 PM

    @ Anonymous 9:56 am

    Watch Austin Collie in action. Granted, he can break 4.6 at times, but he still manages to torch guys who should be quicker and faster. The key is precise route-running with little wasted effort.

  10. Comments: 21636
    Anonymous
    Aug 23, 2011 at 2:43 PM

    @ Magnus

    We all know 40 times can be affected by technique. Manningham had the worst technique I've ever seen at the combine. You know as well as I do that Manningham doesn't have 4.6 speed. He ran a 4.42 and 4.38 at Michigan's pro day that year.

    That said, I said I'd be shocked if he ran BELOW a 4.6. Not intended to mean he's a 4.6 guy. I'd agree that he's probably in the 4.7-4.8 range.

  11. Comments: 21636
    Aug 23, 2011 at 3:11 PM

    I also predicted Hemingway to have the biggest year for the receivers. However, to disagree with TTB about Roundtree, I think we can still stick Roundtree in the slot. We have plenty of depth at WR who COULD produce better than Roundtree at the outside WR spot. Jackson, Robinson, possibly stokes to name a few.

  12. Comments: 21636
    Aug 23, 2011 at 3:30 PM

    @ Anonymous 10:43 a.m.

    re: Hemingway's speed
    Gotcha. I thought you meant that you thought Hemingway would be a 4.6 but no faster. Sorry about the confusion.

  13. Comments: 21636
    Aug 23, 2011 at 3:32 PM

    @ lalondtm 11:11 a.m.

    I'm not too high on Jackson and Stokes. I agree that they can and will play, but I'm not sure if Roundtree will go in the slot when they enter. In four-receiver sets, I would guess that it will be Hemingway and Roundtree on the outside with some combination of Grady/Gallon/Dileo in the slot and then Odoms/Robinson/Jackson/Stokes rotating in when people get tired.

  14. Comments: 21636
    Anonymous
    Aug 23, 2011 at 3:59 PM

    We're going to ram Kevin Koger down your throat whether you like it or not.

    Good call on Stokes, BTW.

  15. Comments: 21636
    Aug 23, 2011 at 4:01 PM

    @ Anonymous 11:59 a.m.

    lol Thanks. I swear I didn't know that Stokes was going to transfer when I made that comment.

  16. Comments: 21636
    Anonymous
    Aug 23, 2011 at 6:20 PM

    I know he is short, but why doesn't anyone give Odoms more possibility on the outside? I haven't graded out any tape on him, but he always seems tough as nails, can lay a big block, and will fight for the ball and come down with it when you think there is no way he can…

  17. Comments: 21636
    Anonymous
    Aug 24, 2011 at 3:58 PM

    @ Anonymous 2:20 p.m.

    I agree. In fact I thought he played outside last year before he was hurt.

    –BluCheese

  18. Comments: 21636
    Aug 25, 2011 at 12:01 AM

    Is there a difference in skills needed for outside WR vs slot? Or does it just boil down to slot being easier – allowing a player with a deficiency like hands (Breaton), height(Gallon), or top end speed (Roundtree) to be covered up?

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