For the 2020 season, the Miami Hurricanes appear to have assured promise at the QB1 position after they were able to land former Houston quarterback, D’Eriq King, through the NCAA transfer portal. Regardless, depth at any position is always important, especially at signal caller, and it is never too early to start penciling in the prospective rosters for future seasons.
Looking at the QB depth chart, there are a number of alluring candidates competing for the backup job for the Canes. Moreover, the prospect of who could start in 2021 appears even more uncertain.
There is junior N’Kosi Perry, who is the most seasoned Cane passer, playing in 20 games during his first two seasons. There is former Ohio State quarterback, Tate Martell, who transferred after the 2018 season. There is freshman pocket passer prospect, Tyler Van Dyke, who offers immense potential as he came out of high school as the 105th top prospect on ESPN’s top 300. There are also a number of high school QBs the Canes are targeting, including high profile prospect, Jake Garcia, who is committed to USC but has been linked to Miami by a number of sources as a recruiting flip is not out of the question. Hey, there are also a bound to be several players who will consider Miami in the King or Martell route through the transfer portal.
And then there is the least familiar of them all. Enter the dark horse: Peyton Matocha. The sophomore had some of the most eye-popping numbers in high school after playing under the Friday night lights across Texas. However, Matocha was far from a highly touted prospect and has thus far carved out a spot as a scout team staple. Now that uncertainty looms for the 2020 backup job, as well as the QB1 spot post-King, it could be Matocha’s time to shine.
How He Got To Miami
Matocha, a Dan Enos recruit, completed 253 of 440 passes (57.5% completions) for 3697 yards, 35 TDs and 13 INTs, while adding 146 carries for 787 yards and 14 TDs rushing as a senior. Matocha was named Houston’s co-offensive player of the year alongside Arizona QB Grant Gunnell.
Even though the accolades appear like they would speak for themselves, the Texas product’s offer list was largely underwhelming, including the likes of Wyoming, Army, UMass, and Tulane. Coming out of high school, Matocha was a three-star prospect, the 34th ranked Dual Threat QB nationally in his class, 200th in the State of Texas, and 1527th recruit overall.
However, synergies aligned in the Miami recruitment process. Matocha initially developed a relationship with Enos when Enos was an Offensive Coordinator at Arkansas. Once Enos transitioned to Coral Gables, the Matocha-Miami match surfaced.
He’s Done Everything
So how is Matocha, who was an Enos product, going to develop himself under a different offensive scheme under new OC Rhett Lashlee? Even though he likely spent his transitional freshman year at UM trying to learn Enos’ system, Matocha likely welcomes the challenge to adjust to a spread offense. Matocha is used to changes in personnel and appears to be an eager learner. As Matocha told Manny Navarro of the Athletic, while he was at St. Thomas High School, “I had four different offensive coordinators my four years of high school. I went from a heavy pro-style running offense my freshman year to a full-scale Air Raid offense that barely ran the ball. Then, we moved to more of a West Coast theme. I’ve pretty much had to learn it all. I’ve done everything.”
In fact, beyond his play at QB, the 6’4”, 199-pounder has been a renaissance man in other athletic capacities. Matocha frequently lined up at free safety in high school and also shined in track & field, where he cleared the high jump bar at an impressive personal record of 6’8”.
Will the Potential Meet the Opportunity?
To this point, Matocha is a relative unknown and, without more information, likely sits fourth or fifth on the quarterback depth chart. He did not see any game action as a true freshman and redshirted to retain eligibility. However, he offers immense intrigue as a potential hidden gem. There is no doubt he possesses the athleticism and physical attributes to get it done at the college level and likely has the eagerness and desire to push for the starting job.
Upon his commitment, Matocha told St. Thomas High School, “If I’m not the one playing, the guy who is will get pushed hard. That’s who I am as a person and that’s the kind of leadership I hope to bring.”
In his highlight tapes, he appears to own a respectable combination of deep ball capability and nice touch on moderately deep passes. He also shows strong command in the pocket as he works through reads. The run must be respected as he has a strong ability to evade pressure, pull the ball down, and make things happen on his feet, which could draw some comparisons to Josh Allen’s style of picking up ground yards in order when needed.
To this point, Matocha has been a Greentree practice hero on the scout team. Which is probably for the best as he polishes his features under the tutelage of Lashlee’s spread system. Also, with his sinewy frame, he could afford to pack on a few pounds.
While it is very likely that Matocha will continue to play a backup role throughout 2020, strides by Matocha over the offseason could result in an outcome where he finds himself as the QB1 of Miami. This is especially true because it would not be a surprise if Martell and/or Perry end up transferring after 2020. Thus, Matocha’s biggest competition could be freshman, Van Dyke, who also offers immense potential as more of a pro-style passer (Matocha was labeled a dual-threat QB, but likely leans more towards pocket passer potential).
Luck is where hard work meets opportunity. Let’s see if Matocha, who is essentially an unknown at the college level as of now, can seize that opportunity.