There are two positional groups from 2019 that leave you wondering what could have been if Miami could have gotten anywhere close to an average performance from them. The first was the place kicking unit, which we know how that all went down. Missed and blocked chip shots and extra points cost Miami two, if not three games at least by themselves (Florida, UNC, Virginia Tech, and Georgia Tech all were affected, IIRC). That’s been remedied by the transfer of Bubba Baxa and the transfer addition of 2019 Cane killer Jose Borregales. Problem seemingly solved.
The second area was the offensive line. We knew the unit coming in was young and inexperienced, but the opener against Florida where it looked like a high school all star team was trying to block the 2000 Ravens defense fully exposed what an uphill climb Miami faced in pass protection for the season. We know how the rest of the season went. 140 QB pressures allowed (2nd worst in NCAA). 3.92 sacks allowed per game (127th FBS). Just a disaster.
Then, just as we were trying to figure out how this unit could improve, Miami landed a potential difference maker in OT Jarrid Williams from Houston.
Williams, arguably the best offensive lineman in the portal, transferred to Miami in June 2020 with one year of eligibility remaining. A grad transfer who is immediately eligible to play, Williams brings a ton of experience to a muddled offensive line of underclassmen. Moreover, he brings experience protecting his new/old signal caller and fellow Houston transfer D’Eriq King, which can only be a good thing.
A two-star recruit (per Rivals) from Cedar Hill, Texas, Williams was an afterthought in the recruiting process. He received only one scholarship offer - Houston. Big kudos to the Cougars’ staff for recognizing him and bringing him on board.
Williams started 13 games in 2018 for the Cougars, allowing just two sacks all year. He started the first four games in 2019 before going down with an ankle injury and missing the remainder of the season.
I’m no scout, but when you see him play, you see a great combination of quick footwork in pass protection and physicality in run blocking. Check out 6:56 of this video...
That flattening is what Miami’s offensive line could’ve used much more of in 2019. Oh, and check out the 4th down play by King at 7:29. That’s our QB1, y’all.
Per Barry Jackson, Williams recently said that he was told by Miami that his position will be right tackle, his position in Houston. How Miami settles on its starting five is still TBD, especially with Navaughn Donaldson redshirting this year and Issiah Walker’s waiver still awaiting a final decision (although Walker would be a long shot to start out of the gate even with a waiver, IMHO; my hope that he would have a chance this offseason has faded with coronavirus limitations and no word on the waiver). My guess is John Campbell starts the year at LT and Williams on the right side, with Jakai Clark, Corey Gaynor, and D.J. Scaife manning the inside positions left to right.
In any event, if Miami ends up with a 9 or 10-win season, Williams’ arrival could serve as a significant reason for that success.