The obvious big news this off-season was the acquisition of transfer quarterback D’Eriq King. King no doubt has the inside track and fast lane to become the Miami Hurricane starter in the fall of 2020. Also along the lines of shiny new toys, Miami will install a brand new offense with spread-tempo architect extraordinaire Rhett Lashlee.
This move to upgrade the position via the portal was necessary considering the uneven play by the quarterbacks last season. Jarren Williams transferred out of the program and this decision was a microcosm of the quarterback play in itself in 2019. One second you are in and setting the single season touchdown record vs. Lousiville, the next second you are out and throwing three interceptions vs. FIU.
Regardless of the individual accolades that Williams amassed last season with multiple ACC Offensive Rookie of the Week awards, the fact remains a 6-7 season came with a cost. It mandated a change and once again it involved the most important room on campus, the quarterback room.
- N’Kosi Perry is now a red shirt junior who saw action in eight games last year including three starts. Perry amassed 1045 passing yards to include eight touchdowns vs. three interceptions. Still hampered by accuracy concerns, Perry was a 53.5% passer in ‘19 which was a slight improvement from his 50.8% in ‘18. Perry has had ample opportunity to win and remain the starter during his tenure at the University of Miami. Unfortunately this often embattled gunslinger has not been able to retain the reigns of QB1 . The good news is with a new uptempo spread offense on deck, stylistically this is the best fit for Perry out of the three systems he has operated under.
- Tate Martell is a red shirt junior who saw action in five games last year. 14 yards. Split it down the middle and Martell added seven as a passer and seven as a rusher. Used sparingly as a wide receiver early on in the season, Martell didn’t live up to the hype that his social media following provided. Admittedly Martell had issues last year coming under center with Enos and such emphasis under center will now dissipate moving forward. Can Martell find new life and shine in a new system or could a permanent position change be in his future?
- Peyton Matocha is a red shirt freshman who did not see any action last year for the Hurricanes. Matocha was a former 38th ranked 247 composite dual threat quarterback out of high school who broke his school records for passing and touchdowns with 3692 and 35 respectively. With the addition of a highly touted transfer QB, a blue chip 2020 quarterback and the fact two red shirt juniors are in the QB room, it seems to be an uphill battle for meaningful playing time once again for Matocha.
- D’Eriq King is garnishing all the off-season attention and has the collegiate numbers to back it up. King finished his Houston career with 78 total touchdowns including 50 passing and 28 rushing. In 2018, King set the Athletic Conference record with 50 total touchdowns and remarkably missed 2.5 games that season with an injury. This Ferrari with feet has kept opposing defensive coordinators up at night and even garnered high praise from opposing head coaches like Oklahoma’s Lincoln Riley. King looks to invigorate Hurricane fans while becoming the conductor of a high octane pace and space offense. King was also a Maxwell award semi-finalist in 2018.
- Tyler Van Dyke will be a true freshman this season and came in as a consensus four star prospect. The ninth highest rated pro style quarterback via the 247 composite and 2nd highest rated player from Connecticut a year ago, TVD enrolled early and will be available to compete this spring. Coming in with a prototypical size (6’4” 216) the arm and enough athleticism to keep teams honest as a runner, TVD has all the makings of a future starter.
The King and his court. The spotlight will no doubt follow King this spring and he is essentially being called upon to salvage Manny Diaz’s career. I fully anticipate come week one that there will ceremoniously and triumphantly be a Miami monarch on the throne. Simply because King brings a special skill set that the other quarterbacks do not possess. He is a dynamic run threat who has backed it up at the collegiate level against some very good programs and competition.
It cannot be understated however that Lashlee’s offensive style will benefit every quarterback on the roster. Miami needed to infuse this style of offense a decade ago if we are being honest. In heap two, I see Perry and Van Dyke as individuals who are able to make plays in this system and keep King honest. Martell and Matocha comprise the rest of the field and have some ground to gain if they wish to have any meaningful snaps at the quarterback position in 2020. #GoCanes