When Mark Richt got the job as the Miami Hurricanes’ head coach, the choice for his QB coach was an easy one. To do that job, he brought in his son Jon Richt to help recruit and instruct the most important position on the field.
The younger Richt learned the finer points of QB play from his father over a lifetime, but he’s also put in the work to get to this position. After a nice HSFB career, Jon Richt played collegiately at Mars Hill college. You may remember the name of that school: that’s where Miami got FB Marquez Williams as a grad transfer before the 2016 season.
Following his playing days, Jon moved directly into coaching. He was a quality control coach at Georgia in 2014, a season in which the Bulldogs scored a program-record 41.3 points per game. After that, he moved to the NFL level, where he was an offensive assistant with the Buffalo Bills in 2015.
Following those years of experience, the older Richt brought in the younger Richt as part of his staff here at Miami. Obviously, needing to pay particular attention to the QB position, CMR felt best about bringing in someone who knew the technique and the way he wanted it taught.
In his first 2 years at Miami, Jon Richt’s QBs have had good success and performance on the field. Here’s a quick look at the numbers:
Canes QB stats 2016-17
Backup players had negligible stats at best, so they’ve been left off the stat chart.
You’ll notice that some of the raw stats — yards, TDs — are very comparable between Kaaya in 2016 and Rosier in 2017. You’ll also notice that the efficiency — comp %, yards/att, rating, yards/game — are noticeably different.
The big key to that, obviously, is the fact that Rosier is a better running option than was Kaaya. By including Rosier’s rushing stats — 468 yards and 5 TDs — the overall statistical performance between these players is more on the level.
In getting players of such disparate skillsets to perform at nearly an equal level (looking at certain stats) and getting the most juice from the orange (when looking at others), Jon Richt has done a good job coaching up the QBs over his 2 years here in Miami.
No, neither he nor his QBs have been perfect, but there’s plenty to like to go along with some to hate (which I’m sure you know all too well).
Quiet as it’s been kept, Jon Richt is one of the best recruiters on the staff. Sure, the sample size is small, but the results have been stellar to this point.
Over the last 2 years, Jon Richt has gone after a handful of players on the recruiting trail. Each of his primary targets has committed, and a 100% success rate works for me. You want names, right? I got your names right here:
2017 - N’Kosi Perry and Cade Weldon
2018 - Artur Sitkowski (ended up dropping), Jarren Williams
Now, I know you’re thinking “That’s 3 players on the roster, 1 who I like, and a kid who Miami dropped and ended up going to Rutgers”...and you’re right. Yet and still, that’s 3 4-star players (Perry, Sitkowski was 4-star when Miami got him to commit, and Williams), and a high 3-star son of a former college standout who played in the NFL (Weldon).
Yeah, Miami and Richt kicked the tires on a couple other QB prospects in the last 2 classes, but when CJR sets his sights on a QB prospect in recruiting, he invariably gets that player to commit. 4/4 (yes, including Sitkowski) proves that point.
In 2019, Miami is singularly focused on Eugene (OR) Sheldon 4-star Michael Johnson Jr. in terms of QB recruiting. It will be interesting to see if Jon Richt can keep his perfect recruiting streak going by getting this talented Under Armour All-American to commit to Miami.
In general, Miami is in a good spot with Jon Richt as the QB coach. He works hand in hand with his dad to coach and develop the QBs, and has quietly been one of the best QB recruiters in the country over the last 2 years. Yeah, you might want Miami to get one (or more) higher rated recruits at the position, but having 2 4-stars and a better-than-his-ranking 3-star join the program in a 2 year span is pretty good, if you ask me.
The key, for me, will be what happens on the field this year and next. Malik Rosier will probably start — much to my personal chagrin — and he will need to improve his performance and the consistency of that performance for Miami to be the caliber of team that they potentially could be.
Past that, what happens in 2019 when Rosier isn’t on the roster? Does N’Kosi Perry finally realize his immense potential to be the superstar he was recruited to be? Does Jarren Williams continue his rapid ascension and seize the throne? Does Weldon or Johnson Jr. or (other) step in and win the job? How things play out in 2019 will be the biggest indicator of Jon Richt’s success, or failure, as QB coach. Because Miami’s going to go to a younger QB by default, and it’s his job to have that player ready.
Jon Richt has done a good job of doing that so far. But, he’ll need to continue to do that for the Canes to keep the forward momentum of the program going into the future.