Coming into the 2018 season, the Canes offense was expected to be one of the most explosive in the nation, mostly due to the abundance of talent at running back and wide receiver. Still, wideouts need someone to get them the ball, and the Canes had multiple ‘viable’ options. Redshirt senior Malik Rosier brought the experience of a 10-win season in 2017, along with a school-record 31 combined touchdowns. While he was named the starter coming into the season, the Miami fanbase was still unconvinced that Rosier was the quarterback to lead the Canes back to the promised land due to his struggles with accuracy, lack of arm strength and propensity for turnovers. Many fans felt that redshirt freshman N’Kosi Perry was the answer going forward. In addition, Miami was able to bring in 4-star recruit Jarren Williams in their Class of 2018, and redshirt freshman Cade Weldon also showed promise during spring football.
Mark Richt based his decision to start Rosier week 1 against LSU on the QB’s experience, which is a reasoning CMR would return to throughout the season. Rosier’s experience would not serve him well in 2018, however, beginning with a 33-17 drubbing that was much worse than the score indicated. In that game, Rosier went 15/35 for 259 yards and 2 picks to only 1 touchdown. As a result, CMR reopened the QB competition during the season, rotating through multiple QBs over the next 3 games before officially naming Perry as the starter ahead of the ACC opener against North Carolina, N’Kosi appeared to be the QB the Canes had been looking for after a nearly flawless performance against UNC, and again the next week after leading the Canes to a 20-point comeback over the hated Seminoles.
The happy feelings would quickly subside, as the following week Perry would struggle before CMR decided to yank him for Rosier, who didn’t fare much better in the interim. Still, Richt’s comfortability with Rosier led CMR to rely on the elder signal-caller for the next month, which resulted in a 4-game losing streak. After falling to 5-5, the coaching staff flip-flopped again, going back to Perry during the second half of the 11/10 matchup against Georgia Tech. The Canes would go on a 2-game win streak to close the season with N’Kosi back at the helm, although a subpar performance in the finale against Pittsburgh brought back doubts by the coaching staff, as Perry only completed 6 of 24 passes for 52 yards. That left the door open for one last QB change back to Rosier for the Canes’ bowl game. Once again, the QB position was a huge liability, as Rosier threw 3 interceptions in a 5/12 45 yard performance.
Neither quarterback was able to find any footing in the offense due to the constant shuffling. Rosier finished with 1053 yards, 6 touchdowns, 8 interceptions, a 52% completion rate along with 300 rushing yards and 6 rushing touchdowns. Perry led the team with 1091 yards, 13 touchdowns and 5 interceptions, albeit with a 50% completion rate. Not only was the on-field performance lacking, but the QB room was filled with negative performances off the field as well. Perry, Weldon and Williams were all suspended at some point during the season, with Perry committing multiple lapses of character involving social media. Following the season, Jarren Williams announced his intention to transfer out of the program, although the coaching staff was able to talk him into reconsidering.
Looking forward to 2019, the QB room is still full of competition with Perry, Williams and Weldon hoping to find their way onto the first team. It’s really anyone’s game at this point, as Malik Rosier’s exit (due to exhausted eligibility) was accompanied by the exit of Mark Richt. Manny Diaz is now in charge, and he was able to bring in Alabama’s quarterbacks coach Dan Enos to run the offense, meaning things will look much different on the offensive side of the ball in 2019. Add to that the arrival of Ohio State transfer Tate Martell, who may be eligible to play in 2019, and the hope is that Miami will get much more out of their most important position next season.