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Top 60 Countdown: No. 6, WR LaRon Byrd

The University of Miami will probably have a tough time getting another first round draft pick streak started at the end of this season (barring an Allen Bailey breakthrough). But the one after this could be loaded with big timers. None bigger in my opinion than No. 6 on our countdown of The Top 60 players at The U: LaBig Byrd, sophomore LaRon Byrd. Last year, his numbers weren't flashy. But the highlight reel he put together was. It should get even bigger soon.

Laron Byrd > What we heard about him on Signing Day '08: Considered the second best receiver in Louisiana out of high school, scouts weren't big believers in big Byrd. Rivals.com had him as the 60th best receiver in the country and Scout had him 69th. As a senior at Hahnville High, Byrd caught 50 passes for 630 yards and 13 touchdowns. He also played some safety, picking off three passes while leading his team to a 10-3 record. A standout basketball player, he averaged more than 20 pointes per games as a junior.

> What he's done as a Cane: Who could forget the amazing catch he made in the back of the end zone at the end of regulation in UM's come-from-behind win at Virginia? He finished sixth on the team overall with 21 catches for 228 yards and three scores, but was the only UM player with a catch in at least 12 games. This spring, he got bigger and faster and now stands 6-4, 215 pounds and improved his 40 time a full tenth of a second to 4.43. His 3.98 shuttle time was the quickest on the team. He has a 36.5 inch vertical. Strength-wise his squat went from 250 pounds last year to 320, his bench went from 225 to 260 and his power clean improved from 132 pounds to 230.

> What Eye On The U expects from him in '09: LaBig Byrd has all the intangibles to be another Canes great. His size, speed and hands are unmatched on the team and he's just a sophomore. This summer, he worked hand-in-hand with former Canes greats Ed Reed and Reggie Wayne (fellow Louisiana natives) to learn the game even more. If Randy Shannon stays true to his word about a smaller rotation at receiver, Byrd could be primed for a huge season -- especially around the end zone where he should be able to use his big body to haul in plenty of touchdown passes. If he ends up being as special as his coaches thinks he will, the Canes will have to retire the No. 47 twice. Once for Michael Irvin and once for Byrd.

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