For 2 years, I (and others) have been clamoring for QB N’Kosi Perry to be the starter for the Miami Hurricanes. As a recruit, the Ocala-native Perry broke career passing, total yardage and touchdown records at Vanguard HS set previously by former All-Pro QB Daunte Culpepper. On top of that, I with the help of fellow SOTU contributor Justin Dottavio favorably compared Perry to former Oregon QB Marcus Mariota.
So yeah, I’ve been high on Perry’s talent for a while.
As a true freshman, Perry struggled to combine his prodigious physical talents with game-ready knowledge and skills, was unable to supplant Malik Rosier, and took a redshirt. Through the offseason prior to 2018, Rosier was able to keep the starting QB job, but Perry finally got some reps with the first team.
After being suspended for the opener against LSU and seeing limited action in 2 games after that, Perry finally got his chance to show his skills against an FBS team on Saturday afternoon. And he did. And it was glorious.
Back in February, I wrote that Miami needed to move on from Malik Rosier as starting QB in order to take the next step. On Saturday, Perry showed that HE has taken the next step and moved from backup player with talent who wasn’t ready for primetime to starting caliber player with Miami caliber talent, something that’s been missing from the Canes’ offense during Rosier’s tenure at QB.
And that’s why the Miami Hurricanes should start N’Kosi Perry.
The narrative elements for why Perry should start are everywhere. The offense looked better, it played with higher energy, and the execution was crisper with #5 in the game. The run game looked different bc the threat of Perry running is great than Rosier (who himself is a good runner, by the way). The wrinkles in the gameplan — like running outside zone from pistol instead of offset shotgun — worked like a charm. The ball thrown by Perry, who has a MUCH stronger arm than Rosier, were crisper, faster, and, most importantly, more accurate.
Whether he was stepping out of sacks to extend plays and finding receivers for TDs, or running for first downs, or fitting a slant in a window so small Malik Rosier would never have thought to throw that ball for lack of arm strength, Perry showed the entire range of his immense skills on Saturday.
Now, if narrative arguments for Perry to supplant Rosier don’t work for you, there are quantitative (i.e. numbers based) arguments to be made, as well. Some stats for you
- Perry hit his first 10 passes.
- Perry went 17-25 passing for 68% completions. Malik Rosier had this level of passing success exactly once in his career.
- Perry’s TDs to Lawrence Cager, a laser on a slant between 3 defenders and a floated beauty after stepping out of 2 sack attempts, were both plays that Malik Rosier doesn’t have the physical ability to make.
- Miami’s offense gained 35 yards on 2 drives with Rosier in the game. Miami’s offense promptly gained 155 yards and scored 2 TDs in Perry’s first 2 drives.
- Perry has already thrown for 6 TDs in 2 games (the 8 snaps against Toledo last week don’t count as “game action” IMO). That’s well ahead of Rosier’s pace from 2017.
Whether it’s based on the narrative or the numerical, the decision for Miami is clear: Start Perry.
From the time that Brad Kaaya left early for the NFL, Malik Rosier should only have been a 1 year stopgap at QB until Perry, BY FAR the most talented player at that position, was ready to take over the show. Rosier got his 1 year and 3 games on top of that. But we’ve seen what Perry can do. We’ve seen the arm. We’ve seen the way the offense, which already had elements of explosive playmaking with Rosier at the helm, went from simply doing the speed limit to pushing the sound barrier with Perry at the controls.
I say all that to say that now that we’ve seen what this offense can be with a Miami caliber player at QB, Miami can’t go back to Malik Rosier. They just simply can’t do it. Rosier simply isn’t the athlete that Perry is, and it was so starkly evident as soon as Perry got the chance to play. Rosier went to the bench with 9:18 left in the first quarter, and should not return to game action unless Miami is winning by 40 points.
To my eye, the choice is clear and the future is now.
Start N’Kosi Perry at QB.