Miami hasn’t exactly been QB U in the past ten years. As the standard of coaching slipped and the dark cloud of the Nevin Shapiro scandal cast its pall over Coral Gables, the fabled tradition of quarterback play at The U has suffered; much like many other positions. However, there have still been some solid signal callers for Miami over the past ten years and one in particular who should be counted among the great Hurricanes’ QBs who did not win a national championship. Here are the seven QBs who have started for Miami over the past ten seasons, from 2007 to 2017.
7. Kirby Freeman (2004-2007)
Freeman was a 4-star from the Class of 2004 but didn’t see much action in his career, throwing a total of 197 passes in three years before transferring to Baylor in 2008. Freeman started three games in 2007, including a win against Marshall and loss against NC State. He was a sub 50% passer and had more INTs (6) than TDs (3). In that loss to NC State, Freeman was a miserable 1-14 passing although on the bright side, his one completion was an 84-yard touchdown.
6. Robert Marve (2007-08)
He may have been a 4-star recruit but Marve’s time in Coral Gables didn’t last very long. He was the 8th ranked Pro Style QB in 2007 and figured to take over for Kyle Wright. After breaking his arm as a true freshman, Marve got the chance to play over fellow 4-star Jacory Harris as a redshirt freshman, starting 11 of 13 games while rotating with Harris. Although the musical chairs at QB likely hurt his development, Marve was awful in his short time at Miami. Marve threw just nine TDs to 13 INTs and completed only 54.5% of his passes. After 2008, Marve left for Purdue, where he would struggle to make an impact until his final season in 2012, where he led the Boilermakers to a bowl berth while throwing 15 TDs against five interceptions.
5. Kyle Wright (2003-2007)
Wright came to Miami as one of the best QBs in the nation, a 5-star recruit and the best Pro Style QB in the United States. His time at Miami however, couldn’t have been more disappointing. After a redshirt and nine total passes as a RS freshman, Wright had a promising year as a sophomore, throwing for more than 2,400 yards and 18 TDs. Unfortunately, 2005 proved to be his peak, as his numbers would taper off in 2006 and 2007, and Wright struggled to regain confidence after 2006 started off ugly. He would be benched by Coach Randy Shannon in favor of Freeman in 2007 and finished his Hurricanes’ career by throwing for 5,835 yards, 38 TDs and 31 INTs.
4. Jacory Harris (2008-2011)
Harris was also highly-recruited, the 12th ranked Pro Style QB in 2008, but still took a backseat to Marve as a true freshman. In the end, Harris had the last laugh, securing a starting job for the Canes from 2009-2011. The Jacory Harris era was unfortunately right in the middle of the Shapiro scandal and it can be argued that the distraction of the NCAA investigation hurt Harris as much as it hurt the rest of the program
Harris had his moments of brilliance, like leading Miami to a last-second victory over FSU in 2009. He had flashes of pinpoint accurate passing and an ability to create on the move. However, much like the entirety of the Miami football organization during that time, he couldn’t make plays when they mattered most. Against OSU in 2010 Harris tossed 4 INTs in an embarrassing loss for no. 12 Miami against no. 2 Ohio State. Perhaps if Harris came to The U in a time of less uncertainty, the overall results would’ve been better.
3. Malik Rosier (2015-2018)
Rosier still has time to rise on these power rankings if he can improve on his 2017 performance. However, his up and down season and inability to play with consistency has him right in the middle of the pack. Forget game to game, Rosier has struggled to show consistency on a drive to drive basis. On the positive side, the senior has proven himself capable of producing in the biggest moments, rising to a clutch level to win close games. And while losing your top RB, TE and WR in a season will obviously stifle an offense, it doesn’t excuse Rosier’s 54% completion percentage and 14 INTs. Rosier deserves credit for helping Miami get to a 10 win season, ACC Championship and Orange Bowl but needs to show more to be considered anything oother than an average passer.
2. Stephen Morris (2010-2013)
Morris’ unvarnished arm talent was a thing of beauty in his time with the Hurricanes. A 3-star Dual Threat QB from Miami Shores, Morris had to play sooner than expected when Jacory Harris was injured late in the season. Morris had seen some time earlier in relief of Harris but with the starter sidelined with a concussion, Morris filled in admirably despite his true freshman status. He led Miami to two victories in the three games he was needed to start. After sitting behind Harris for 2011, besides a Week 1 start after Harris was suspended, Morris returned to be the starter in 2012 and 2013.
Morris, like most of these QBs, struggled with consistency. But he was one of the better caretakers of the football that Miami had seen, throwing 19 interceptions in two full years. Morris had a rocket arm, good feet to move the pocket and toughness to play through injury, which effected his play in 2013. When he was on, there was no stopping him- like when he went for 566 yards and five TDs in a 44-37 victory over NC State in 2012. Miami may have struggled around Morris in those years but his big-play ability gave them a chance in most games.
1. Brad Kaaya (2014-2016)
Kaaya was one of the more celebrated recruiting victories in the Al Golden era. Stealing the 4-star Pro Style passer away from teams in his backyard like UCLA and USC proved huge when he was named the starter as a true freshman. Kaaya took his lumps behind a bad o-line and a mediocre set of passing game weapons but the new QB showed his growth potential for the future.
The Chaminade product continued to get better and better despite being blasted behind a shoddy offensive line that hurt his confidence over time. Still, his interception count decreased following his first year while his yardage totals went up and up. Introducing Mark Richt to Kaaya made him an even better QB in 2016, easily having the best season of his career on his way to an impressive bowl win, his first and Miami’s first since 2006.
Kaaya left early following his Junior year, wound up getting drafted in the 6th round and may have ultimately hurt his pro career by leaving the college game too early. Although Kaaya’s stiffness in the pocket and failures against pressure hurt his overall game, a Cane fan can’t help but wonder how he would’ve handled the 2017 team and if Miami’s fate may have been brighter than last year’s ultimately disappointing three game losing streak. Even with the worst year and a half of the Golden era accounting for his time, Kaaya proved himself as the best Miami QB of the last ten years.