Miami has 1 goal every year, and that is to win a National Championship in football. Yes, there are other small goals along the way, including beating FSU, winning the Coastal, getting to and winning the ACC title, but the ultimate goal is to put Championship trophy #6 in the trophy case. Unfortunately, outside of 2005 and 2017, the Canes haven’t been in the discussion past the month of September in most years. The question has always come up, whether it was coaching, QB play, or the overall talent on the field.
This will be part 1 of a 10 part series where I ask the question, do the Canes have enough to contend for the College Football Playoffs?
Miami once was known as QBU, as names like Kelly, Kosar, Testaverde, Erickson, Walsh, Torretta and Dorsey starred on the field. The play at that position has significantly dropped off, and the last Miami QB to take a regular season NFL snap was Brock Berlin, who graduated in 2004. That’s telling when the Canes have trouble getting players even drafted from the QB spot, and must change if the Canes are going to be among the nation’s elite once again.
Does Miami have enough at Quarterback to make the college football playoffs? Let’s examine.
D’Eriq King - Holy cow, Miami has “that guy” finally, in the right type of offense, with the right type of weapons around him. I haven’t been this excited about a QB since Brad Kaaya, who had a good not great Miami career. King’s 2018 season has been well documented on this site, accounting for 50 TD’s through the air and ground. King gives Miami something that they have never had, a QB who is pinpoint accurate and can make chunk plays with his feet when things go wrong in the pocket. King’s emergence should make the offensive line batter, and should open up holes for the running backs to get through. There’s a reason that King is on a lot of preseason Heisman short lists, he’s that good. Miami has a national title caliber QB for the 1st time since 2002, and the 1st guy in 2 decades who can put the team on his back to win a game.
N’Kosi Perry - In a perfect 2020 season, Perry would get some mop up snaps, and that’s about it. N’Kosi has been solid in his career, but far from spectacular where he has twice won, then lost the starting job to Malik Rosier and then Jarren Williams. Perry’s best fit may be now in Rhett Lashlee’s uptempo spread where he can use his enormous arm talent to throw the ball all over the yard. The biggest issue though for Perry is he has always been streaky, and mostly inaccurate. When he is hot, Perry can carry Miami, but when he’s off, he can be down right abysmal. Perry is good enough to start for most programs in the country, but for this year he is in a perfect spot as a very good backup.
Tate Martell - What exactly are we getting in Tate Martell? The high school phenom, who was highly recruited by everyone, and had his own film crew, or are we getting the kid who took very limited snaps last season when Miami desperately needed a QB to step forward. Martell, if nothing else, fits this offense much better than Dan Enos’ old, antiquated, square peg, round hole offense from 2019. I think Lashlee will find ways to get Martell on the field in some gadget scenarios, but I don’t look for him to take many meaningful QB snaps at Miami this year.
Peyton Matocha - Matocha arrived at Miami a year ago as a 3 star recruit, and took a redshirt season in 2019. He is 6’4 and 204lbs at the time of enrollment, but has surely put on some weight from a season ago. He was never a factor in the 3 QB race for the starting job last year, and probably is at least one more season from contributing at Miami. Don’t expect #17 to get playing time except maybe a few 4th quarter snaps against Wagner.
Tyler Van Dyke - Van Dyke arrives at Miami ranked #105 nationally by ESPN 300 and the #9 pro style QB by 247 composite. Tyler looks like the future of the position for the Canes, but will all most certainly take a redshirt in 2020. The good thing is Coach Lashlee and Coach Diaz can use the 4 game buffer to potentially give him some snaps during the year without burning the shirt. Watching highlights from Van Dyke, he is more than capable of making every throw, and has sneaky speed with his feet. Van Dyke looks the part of a future star, but before I put that label on him, let’s see how he adjusts to the college game.
If you think, and look back over the past 16 years, Miami hasn’t had star power and depth at QB like this. D’Eriq King gives Miami a true superstar at the position, and if you’re worried about his transition to the ACC, just pop in his games against Power 5 competition, and you will see how special he is. Perry, Martell, Van Dyke and Matocha give the Canes very capable reserves who bring a vast array of talent, and in Perry’s case an ability to win ACC games against quality opponents.
Miami does have the talent at QB to compete for the College Football Playoffs.
Next up will be running back.