When D’Eriq King laid in agony on the floor of the atrocity known as Camping World Stadium, all of the Miami Hurricane faithful held their breath. King, a transfer, was everything that personified the heart of a Hurricane. He was fearless, talented, and the stoic champion the position so desperately needed.
He shouldn’t have even been in that position. An unnecessary hold took a touchdown off the board and the rest was disastrous history. Irony and ineptitude shot the arrow right into the figurative heal of our Achilles. King suffered an ACL tear to his right knee.
The Hurricane captain was a Maxwell, O’Brien and Unitas award semi-finalist in 2020. Starting in all 11 games for the Hurricanes, the Ferrari with feet lived up to all of the hype. King threw for 2686 and 23 touchdowns while surgically maintaining 64.1 percent of his passes.
King set a Miami Hurricane single season record for rushing yards by a quarterback. He amassed 538 rushing yards on 130 carries and contributed four scampers for scores. His ability to keep teams honest by being so multifaceted was clearly evident.
Rhett Lashlee said QB D'Eriq King should be able to start throwing to receivers and doing 7 on 7 by this summer... May or June... if he stays on track with his rehab and has no setbacks. That's good news because he'll have a few months to work with Charleston Rambo and other WRs— Manny Navarro (@Manny_Navarro) March 12, 2021
Charleston Rambo says he's been able to do some light throwing with QB D'Eriq King, as King continues his rehab work. Obviously, he's looking forward to building more chemistry with King as the QB progresses and gets cleared to do more work.— Christy Chirinos (@ChristyChirinos) April 13, 2021
Manny Diaz on QB D'Eriq King's rehab from a torn ACL: "He's smashing every benchmark and every goal they put in front of him" https://t.co/ZvRU7Zm8jO— Andrea Adelson (@aadelsonESPN) March 12, 2021
By all admissions, King’s rehab is progressing ahead of schedule. Internal, local and national pundits are all in unison decreeing the King will return. When Miami opens the season vs. the reigning national champion Alabama Crimson Tide, the Hurricanes will have a familiar face under center.
The value of King’s leadership in that season opener cannot be undersold. Despite the quarterback room looking bright with heirs apparent Tyler Van Dyke and Jake Garcia, King has something they simply do not possess. Experience. The experience that comes with the King’s heralded journey. His road has never been the easiest.
King’s demeanor is unfathomably steadfast considering what he has gone through. The position change, the awkward redshirt year at Houston and the untimely death of his father would normally take immense tolls on the lesser. That is why this injury really didn’t stand a chance of getting in King’s way. He’s not built that way. He is built better.
(1/2) Opening odds to win the 2021 Heisman Trophy (Bovada):— Odds Shark (@OddsShark) January 6, 2021
Spencer Rattler +285
Bryce Young +375
Sam Howell +700
D'Eriq King +1100
JT Daniels +1600
Jayden Daniels +1800
Kellen Mond +1800
Kedon Slovis +1800
Matt Corral +4000
Bo Nix +4000
Spencer Sanders +4000
Tyler Shough +4000
When you consider that King is the fourth projected quarterback to win the Heisman after complete ACL surgery is remarkable. That is a testament to his backstory of perseverance. It is also a testament to his past performance. King was the ACC quarterback of the week three times last year.
The Miami Hurricanes need to take a next step. It has been stuck in a quagmire of ineptitude and been canibilized by the ACC since its inaugural season. Miami and Florida State were placed on opposite sides of the spectrum in order to bring this conference into the stratosphere. That annual rival game would decide national champions they said. They were wrong. They were dead wrong. In particular Miami has never lived up to their side of the bargain.
In order for the Miami Hurricanes to take the next step, they need to do it now with a brace on King’s right knee. You have to win a lot of games this year or the program once again relegates itself into coastal division fodder. This conference chews you up and spits you out. It is just what it does. This team will go where King wills it to go.
So the 2020 offensive MVP needs to regain his form and then some for the Hurricanes to continue to amass the talent necessary to push into the college football elites. You want to win like the ACC king Clemson? Then you need to win with the King you have and stockpile talent year over year.
My honest assessment of the matter is that you need a blue chip rich roster full of talent and a generational type QB to get on that perennial promising precipice. You stick to that formula long enough, something might finally break your way. There is no debate however when the 2021 season kicks off, King is that generational talent at QB.