Miami has named its starting quarterback for its season opener against Florida on Aug. 24, and it's not the name everybody was expecting heading into the camp. First-year coach Manny Diaz announced on Monday that redshirt freshman Jarren Williams will be the Canes starter when the 2019 season begins.
"All three guys showed tremendous improvement and development, which is a credit to their hard work and the work of Dan Enos and his offensive staff," said Diaz in a release. "We believe we can win with all three guys, however, we feel like Jarren has the greatest upside due to his passing ability, his instincts and his determination."
Odds are most people would not have predicted this would be the outcome of Miami's QB battle heading into the spring. N'Kosi Perry entered last season with some hype after redshirting in 2017, but struggled in 11 games and never sufficiently wrestled the job away from Malik Rosier. It's why nobody was all that surprised to see Miami go after Ohio State transfer Tate Martell. Martell was the No. 2 dual-threat QB in the 2017 recruiting class, and nobody thought Miami was bringing him in to be a reserve. That theory gained more traction when Martell successfully applied for a waiver that would allow him to be eligible in 2019 rather than having to sit out a season following his transfer.
But, like recruiting, depth charts are fluid.
Williams may have entered the spring and summer as the No. 3 in the minds of many, but he impressed Miami coaches with his performance in practice and camp. Williams was a four-star prospect in the 2018 recruiting class out of Georgia and was able to take a redshirt for the 2018 season since he only appeared in one game. He completed 1 of 3 passes for 17 yards against Savannah State and rushed for a touchdown in a 77-0 Miami win.
"This is something that I've always strived for growing up," said Williams. "It's been my dream since I was a kid. When I was six years old, I used to sit in front of the TV and watch Michael Vick play. That's a dream I have always had, and I've strived for it. Having the opportunity to lead this team is the opportunity of a lifetime, and I am going to take full advantage of it."
The release from Miami said it has not been decided which QB will serve as Williams' backup in the opener against Florida.