15 months ago, the competition to become the starting quarterback for the 2017 season was shaping up to be a battle. Brad Kaaya had long since made the decision to forgo his senior season to enter the NFL Draft, and the Detroit Lions selected him in the sixth round.
Malik Rosier— who was recruited in the same class as Kaaya— would redshirt in 2014 and become the primary backup in ‘15 and ‘16. The Mobile, Alabama native went 31-61 for 371 yards, 2 TD and 3 INT through his nine game appearances before last year— including one start at Duke.
However, the former 3-star recruit was anything but promised the starting job— even in Kaaya’s absence. Even as it became clear that Rosier was going to be the most experienced QB in the room, he was going to have to beat out his own teammates before having any chance at beating out any other teams.
Less than a month after the win over West Virginia in the 2016 Russell Athletic Bowl, fellow 3-star recruit Cade Weldon arrived on campus to battle Rosier. The pro-style QB out of Tampa’s Jefferson High School went 293-466 for 5,244 yards, 39 TD and 20 INT during his career at Jefferson and Berkeley Prep, including his junior season that he missed most of due to injury.
Immediately after graduating in the Spring of 2017 from Vanguard High, N’Kosi Perry made his entrance in Coral Gables. The 4-star, #7 dual-threat QB in the nation according to 247, was supposed to be the one to give Rosier a real push for the starting job right away, but didn’t do so leading into his true freshman season. And despite the wishes of many fans, the Ocala native to doesn’t appear to have been able to loosen the grip of the incumbent’s job yet.
Rosier is the apparent, decisive starting quarterback, but after more than a year of battling, who is second?
Perry took a redshirt in 2017 and will look to make his Hurricane debut in 2018. Without any game action yet, it’s tough to judge the development he has achieved since his enrollment. Despite not playing since high school— where he went 313-531 for 5330 yards, 65 Pass TD, 20 Rush TD, and 14 INT— don’t expect him to be rusty.
Mark Richt on N’Kosi Perry: “He’s dynamic in his ability to throw and run. I think when N’Kosi finally gets to play, there’ll be a learning curve, but sooner or later, he’s going to be fun to watch. You might have a guy super efficient but not fun to watch. He’s gonna be fun.”— Hidden Agenda Generator (@DavidHaleESPN) July 18, 2018
What held back, and may still be holding N’Kosi back now, is the “learning curve.”
“He needs to learn to be confident in the plays that he’s making.” Quarterbacks Coach Jon Richt said in spring practice, “Right now, he’s thinking a lot.”
However, this player could be a special talent we’re talking about. Perry has the athleticism to compete right behind Rosier— and perhaps in front of him too eventually.
Just over two weeks after the loss in the Capital One Orange Bowl, Jarren Williams arrived on campus after going 533-941 with 7,283 yards, 68 Pass TD, 22 Rush TD, and 18 INT over three years at Central Gwinnett High School.
The 4-star product out of Lawrenceville, GA is almost certain to see playing time this year due to the new rule that allows players to take a redshirt if they see action in as many as four games in a season.
Like N’Kosi did, Williams is using his first year to get his feet wet. “He’s not quite sure who to throw to half the time,” Richt told the Sen Sentinel after spring practice, “but when he throws it at something, he tends to hit it, so that’s a good sign.”
It wasn’t too long ago when fans were starting to write off Cade Weldon. Weldon— whose father, Casey, played at FSU under Richt when he was their offensive coordinator— has been overlooked by many fans who take more notice of N’Kosi in the underclassman QB battle.
But Weldon is not to be counted out. If his career at Miami exceeds exceptions, the 2018 offseason will be looked at as his turning point.
“Weldon’s really had a great camp,” Richt told reporters after Saturday’s scrimmage, saying he’s had the highest completion percentage of all the QBs throughout fall camp.
As Richt enters his third season and more of his players are truly his own players that he recruited, depth at all positions continues to get better. Quarterback is not an exception, so in any event that Rosier is unable to go for any reason, three other guys will be ready.
Who is the 2nd string QB for the Miami Hurricanes
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