There’s supposed to be no single person more beloved on a football team than the quarterback. There are missteps, flubs and humility to be endured, but the quarterback is a player who shoulders too much praise and blame for any given game. However, that does little to summarize the tenure of Miami QB Malik Rosier, who will leave as the most polarizing figuring in the last decade not named Al Golden.
Regardless of the opinion, Rosier was a Miami Hurricane who led the team to victory in some of the most memorable contests in the illustrious history of the program. That’s why today, we continue our Senior Profile Series by reflecting on the career of QB Malik Rosier.
Before the U
The recruitment of Malik Rosier was an odd one, to give it to you straight. A two-sport star in the football hotbed of Mobile, Alabama, Rosier split his time between the football field and baseball diamonds growing up. Although he was searching for a football scholarship, Rosier explored the possibility of playing both sports upon enrolling at the school of his choice. In his junior and senior year at Faith, Rosier passed for 4,126 yards, 35 touchdowns to 12 interceptions, and rushed for 1,000 yards each season. So it was easy to understand why most recruiting services labeled the 6’2”, 210 pound QB a dual-threat passer.
Being in Alabama — home to two of the biggest programs in the country — Rosier, a three-star prospect, was unable to secure an offer from either Alabama or Auburn. The QB worked out for Nick Saban, and made his intentions known that he would like to have a shot with the two powerbrokers of the state... but that offer to play for either institution never did come to fruition. That didn’t mean that there weren’t other programs interested in the services of the young QB who had good escapability out of the pocket, and could sail the ball towards an open receiver with ease. Rosier received offers from Arkansas State, Louisiana, Southern Miss and, of course, Miami.
An offer at that time was a bit peculiar, though. The Hurricanes had already secured a QB commit in Chaminade High School QB Brad Kaaya. However, Miami had a couple of soon-to-be seniors at QB in Ryan Williams and Jake Heaps, yet had nothing behind them aside from the freshmen who wanted to jump on board. And that is what Rosier did. He hopped into the Hurricanes’ 2014 recruiting class, committing to Miami in June of 2013 before signing his letter of intent with the program on 2014’s National Signing Day.
Life as a Cane
After redshirting in 2014, Rosier was ready to take the field for the Hurricanes. The only catch was that fellow 2014 recruiting class QB, Brad Kaaya, had taken the reigns as the team’s starting QB. Kaaya was the undisputed QB for the Hurricanes, leaving Rosier contending to be the primary backup — a role that Rosier would grow into as the season unfolded. After seeing some action in the first two games of the season, the sophomore wouldn’t see the field again until Miami’s seventh game of the season. In the historic 58-0 loss to Clemson that cost Al Golden his job, Rosier came in to relieve QB Brad Kaaya after the starter was taken out of the game with a concussion. With Kaaya still on the mend from the concussion, Rosier was given his first career start on the road against Duke.
Some would qualify Rosier’s performance that game as the best in his career. Finishing with a stat line of 20 completions coming on 29 pass attempts for 272 passing yards, throwing two TDs and one interception, Rosier was the driving factor to Miami having a chance to win after battling through the turmoil of a regime change. After getting sandwiched by a trio of Duke defenders,Rosier was able to find his rhythm, zipping the ball towards his intended receiver, it was the most accurate version of the QB that anyone had seen to date. Of course, the eight laterals that the Canes legally executed to win the game 30-27 is the highlight that people will remember. Yet, Rosier’s ability to have the offense be productive in relief of the starter appeared to be an omen towards his future. As Miami’s signal caller. Rosier would not see the football field for the remainder of the season, yet he was able to pay his debt on another field.
The former catcher in high school took to the diamond for the Hurricanes’ baseball team. Wearing No. 28, Rosier manned the outfield for Canes’ baseball. Rosier played 14 games that season, batting .294 with three RBIs. To say that that 2015-16 was a decent first year for the QB would be an understatement.
After a 2016 season where Rosier continued to be the backup to Brad Kaaya, Rosier saw minimal action in games against Florida A&M, Appalachian State and Duke, Rosier set his focus on winning the starter job in 2017 after Kaaya made his declaration to forgo his senior season and enter the 2017 NFL Draft. Rosier was all-in on making the push to be the Hurricanes’ starting QB, so much so that he left the baseball team to focus on improving his mechanics before the regular season.
Let’s not sugarcoat Rosier as a junior QB when he wasn’t. Rosier may have not been blessed with the strongest arm, Peyton Manning’s accuracy or Cam Newton’s toughness. What No.12 did have was the confidence of the coaching staff and some sort of game experience. With his competition in the off-season made up of a pair of freshmen and an unproven junior QB, while fans were mixed about who should win the job, the only opinions that mattered were Mark Richt and QB coach Jon Richt.
Rosier did enough to convince those men that he was the guy who could lead the Hurricanes’ offense to start the ‘17 season. That’s exactly what he did. Through 10 games, the Hurricanes were unbeaten. Not every game was picturesque as any Miami fan can attest, but Rosier did enough to put Miami in position to win games and keep on the good side of the coaching staff.
Through those first 10 games, Rosier passed for 2,620 passing yards, 23 touchdowns and nine interceptions. His 468 rushing yards placed him behind RB Travis Homer for the team lead. His 31 total touchdowns, both passing and rushing, are the most by a single player in program history.
Moments such as Rally at Tally, the last-minute win against GT and winning 10 straight games were not just personal highlights for the player. Those moments will live on after Rosier has walked off campus. Yet, with those highs come the lows of the season, such as: Losing to Pitt, where he would be benched for a couple plays, and getting steamrolled by a Clemson team that looked miles ahead of where the Hurricanes were, following the ACC Championship. Of course, getting blown out by Wisconsin at Hard Rock Stadium did little to quash the groans for someone, anyone, to usurp Rosier from the position.
It didn’t happen in 2018. Rosier fended off challengers once again to be named the team’s starting QB moving forward. With a season’s worth of game experience behind him, the optimist could take the viewpoint that Rosier would be able to fix the areas that plagued him down the final stretch of the previous season. Instead, the Hurricanes got much more of the same player they’ve come to know. For the praise that Rosier is given for making adjustments at the line of scrimmage, setting his protection and being able to get the offense in a good play, the senior QB has been unable to capitalize on those opportunities more often than not. Rosier enters what possibly may be the final game of his career with 1,007 passing yards, six TDs to five INTs, and 53% completion percentage. Those numbers are a far cry from what fans expect out of the most critical position on the field.
Outside of Mark Richt, there isn’t a more polarizing individual associated with the Hurricanes than Malik Rosier. Rosier has been vilified for everything from his play to his comments. The criticism of the Mobile, Alabama, native have centered around what he’s not. Yet, Rosier has been good in spurts throughout his tenure as a Cane. Despite the animosity against him, No. 12 has helped the Hurricanes reach goals that few teams in the last decade could. Winning the Coastal division, playing in the ACC Championship game and being ranked in the CFB Playoff field, were all accomplishments made possible in a time where Rosier was the Commander-in-Chief of the offense.
In time, maybe the criticism will damper down for a player who has tried to do the right thing in the face of adversity. Unlike any other Hurricane who takes the field for senior day this year, it has to be especially emotional given the path Malik Rosier has taken to arrive at this day. So it’s our duty to pay respect to a man that wore the uniform and did his best to live up to the standards at the U!
Salute to you, Malik!