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Marsh’s Mailbag: Jarren Williams Hype, Jeremiah Payton Impressing, My Thoughts When Manny Diaz Was Hired.

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Is it surprising how well Jarren Williams is doing this spring? Can Jeremiah Payton play as a freshman? And thoughts on Amari Carter playing some cornerback.

University of Miami Introduces Manny Diaz Photo by Michael Reaves/Getty Images

Are you surprised or not at the hype that Jarren Williams is getting so far in the spring?

I’m definitely not surprised that Jarren is doing well so far, that’s why we recruited him, because we thought that he could be that guy. People think that I’m not a Jarren fan just because I talk about N’Kosi Perry a lot, but I’ll talk about any quarterback who gives Miami the best chance at winning. Williams has put in a ton of work so far in the off-season, and it seems the confidence that he was lacking in 2018 is clearly there now.

Thoughts on freshman receiver Jeremiah Payton impressing coaches?

It doesn’t come as a shock in the slightest that Payton is having a good spring. I’ve been very high on Jeremiah for awhile now, and I was very excited to see him enroll early at Miami.

Any chance Payton could play as a freshman?

Yes, absolutely, just like I said with Williams, this is why we recruited him. Miami coaches didn’t go after Payton so he could redshirt as a freshman, they went after him because they saw him as a receiver who could produce immediately. If guys like Mark Pope or Dee Wiggins aren’t stepping up, why not put Payton out there?

Does it worry you that OC Dan Enos is saying that Miami’s quarterbacks aren’t championship level yet?

It doesn’t necessarily worry me, because I know that coach Enos is aware of what a championship level quarterback looks like, due to the fact he was with Tua Tagovailoa and Jalen Hurts last season. I’m glad that Enos is giving an honest assessment, and that next to all the praise that some of the QB’s have been receiving so far from other sources, Enos is there bringing down to ground level, if that makes sense. Our quarterbacks will get there, it’s just going to take some time. What makes me mad is the obvious lack of developing that was going on with Jon Richt.

What’s your opinion on Malik Rosier and his career at UM?

Great question. I like to think that I was a little less harsh on Rosier than a lot of the Canes fans. I’ll always be grateful for him helping end the streak against FSU, and also leading Miami to heights that the program hadn’t experienced in more than a decade during the 2017 season. Though, I believe N’Kosi was the man for the job last year, and it was frustrating to see that QB situation handled so poorly.

Does Miami need to recruit more kids on the west coast?

I think the Hurricanes need to recruit wherever there is talent, and that’s all over America. Obviously Miami needs to put a ton of focus on the Dade/Broward/Palm Beach areas, but that doesn’t mean they can’t go after players in California or even the east coast. Legendary Miami players hailed from outside of Florida. D.J. Williams came from California and Greg Olsen came from New Jersey. Even now, the Canes have Brevin Jordan, Tate Martell and Bubba Bolden, who are all from Las Vegas. There’s obvious talent out on the west coast, especially California, so going after a player in those areas is what we should already be doing.

What were your thoughts when Mark Richt retired/when Manny Diaz hired?

I’ve always been a fan of Mark Richt, but like almost everyone, I knew that a change needed to be made. So when I heard the news that he was retiring, I was relieved that it happened when it did, so that we didn't have a repeat year like in 2018. I didn’t really think Miami had a shot with Manny Diaz, just because he had taken the Temple job weeks prior. I honestly thought that the Hurricanes were going to go after someone like Mario Cristobal, or even I had heard of Rex Ryan. But when I saw that Manny was leaving Temple for UM I was ecstatic.

What’s your favorite memory of Sean Taylor?

If it’s a single play from Taylor’s career, then I have to go with his punt-return for a touchdown against Pitt. This clip was on a VHS that I had growing up on Miami’s 2002 Fiesta Bowl team, and I think I watched this play a million times. What also makes it great is Joe Zagacki’s call on the play.

Do you tailgate for Canes games or show up right before the game starts?

This question is almost insulting. My dad took me to Canes games starting when I was eight years old, and tailgating was always part of the experience. In fact, in those dark 2006 and 2007 years, the tailgate was almost better than the actual game. Though it won’t ever touch the old days at the OB, I've been to several tailgates at Hard Rock Stadium, and they're pretty fun, especially against FSU last season.

Who’s one player that Canes fans need to pay more attention to, or who is flying under the radar?

I think before the spring I would’ve said Cam’Ron Harris (formerly Davis) but he’s getting so much praise at the moment that everyone is aware of him. For now, I think Will Mallory is flying low on people’s radars, just because Brevin Jordan gets most of the hype. Though with Enos’ double tight-end packages, I'm excited to see Mallory get the ball more. Fellow writer Justin Dottavio wrote a great piece on that.

Defensively, I think Romeo Finley goes unnoticed some of the time, mainly because his overlooked striker position gets lost in the success’ of the linebackers or safeties. In 2018, Finley won team’s most improved award, and his combination of speed and size fits perfectly into Miami’s defense. Expect a lot from the senior in 2019.

Thoughts on Amari Carter playing slot corner in nickel back situations?

If it means that Carter, Gurvan Hall and Bubba Bolden could all be on the field at the same time, I’m all for it. We’ve seen over the past two years Carter rushed from the side in several occasions, and defensive coordinator Blake Baker credited his underneath coverage as well in practice on Monday.

What’s the scoop on Brandon Jennings? (sophomore Bradley Jennings Jr. little brother)

Brandon, out of Sandalwood High School in Jacksonville, is a linebacker, and 247Sports has him as the fourth-best OLB in the state of Florida. He’s only a junior right now and he’s already landed over 12 offers, some of the schools are Ohio State and Stanford. Though it looks as if FSU and Miami are the top two schools that he’s interested in. He did attend Junior Day at FSU, though not at UM.