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Two different 15s, Two different paths

How the journeys of former Miami Hurricanes Jarren Williams and Greg Rousseau were wildly different

NCAA Football: Florida at Miami
Miami Hurricanes quarterback Jarren Williams (15) avoids Florida Gator cornerback CJ Henderson in the 2019 season opener in late August. Williams left the Hurricanes after the season and is now enrolled at Garden City (Ks.) Community College.
Jasen Vinlove-USA TODAY Sports

Almost a year ago to the day, Jarren Williams led the Miami Hurricane offense in a near upset of a top ten team in rival Florida.

In that same game, Greg Rousseau played just 14 snaps off the bench for the Hurricanes as Scott Patchan started in front of him.

Miami’s offensive number 15 seemed primed for a successful Hurricane career while Miami’s defensive number 15 had not yet proven he was anything more than a rotational player for Miami at this time in 2019.

Oh, how things have changed in a year.

Both Williams and Rousseau are now former Miami Hurricanes as Williams left via the transfer portal in January and Rousseau opted out of the 2020 season in early August to focus on the NFL Draft.

For Williams, the fall from Division I football in the ACC to junior college football in the Kansas Jayhawk Community College Conference didn’t happen overnight.

After winning the 2019 starting job in a 3-man competition over N’Kosi Perry and Tate Martell in training camp, Williams played admirably against Florida and gave Hurricanes fans hope for the future of the quarterback position.

But Miami’s offense sputtered thanks in some part to Williams, in some part to a bad offensive line and in some part to former offensive coordinator Dan Enos’ refusal to better scheme for his own unit’s weaknesses.

Amidst the struggles, rumors swirled about Williams’ lack of focus and poor attitude. In January, the Miami Herald reported that the Hurricanes had an issue with a culture of partying.

While that report did not specifically link Williams to that issue, sources did state that Williams had “multiple missteps with maturity” that included not showing up for practice on one occasion.

All things you don’t want from your redshirt freshman quarterback you are hoping will lead your program for the next four years.

Those issues led to Miami seeking a graduate transfer quarterback in the offseason and finding Houston’s D’Eriq King to provide a mature presence for the quarterback room for the 2020 season.

King’s impending arrival led Williams to look elsewhere as he entered his name in the transfer portal in January.

After nearly five months in the portal, Williams landed at Garden City (Ks.) Community College in hopes that one season of junior college football could push him back to a Division I program after the season this fall.

The news got worse for Williams in July when the National Junior College Athletic Association announced that football would be pushed back to the Spring 2021 semester because of the coronavirus pandemic.

That means if Williams wants to suit up for Garden City, he will need to spend two semesters in Garden City, Kansas rather than one.

If you have ever watched Netflix’s Last Chance U, you are aware that junior college football programs have nowhere near the budget that Division I programs have. The move from Coral Gables to Garden City likely won’t be a glamorous one for Williams.

As quickly as Williams spiraled down for the Hurricanes, Rousseau was climbing the ladder of success.

Rousseau became a starting defensive end for Miami when it hosted No.20 Virginia and responded with seven tackles, a sack and a forced fumble in Miami’s Friday night win.

He continued his breakout season with a four sack effort against Florida State in November.

He finished the season with 15.5 sacks despite not starting Miami’s first five games. Hurricanes head coach Manny Diaz told the media after Miami’s win over FSU that Rousseau is “relentless” as a player.

“The biggest thing I am proud of with Greg is the motor that he plays with,” Diaz said in November. “He plays so hard and is relentless. That is why he has the success he has.”

Rousseau’s monster season caught the attention of NFL scouts and pundits everywhere as most who have produced a 2021 mock draft have Rousseau being drafted somewhere in the first round.

The risk surrounding the 2020 college football season and Rousseau being pegged as a first round draft pick led the Miami native to opt out of the 2020 season to focus on preparing for the NFL Draft.

Rousseau went from a reserve defensive end to likely being the first Miami Hurricane selected in the first round of the NFL Draft since David Njoku in 2017.

Williams went from a redshirt freshman quarterback given the keys to Miami’s offense to needing to spend two semesters in Garden City, Kansas to revive his college football career.

A rise to glory and a fall from grace.

Two different 15s, two different paths.

“They say your attitude determines your latitude.”—Kanye West