The question that has been being asked since last December – who’s going to be Miami’s next starting quarterback – finally has an answer.
University of Miami head coach Mark Richt announced Tuesday that redshirt junior Malik Rosier will be the Hurricanes starting quarterback this season.
Miami, which was ranked No. 18 in the preseason Associated Press (AP) poll, opens the 2017 season on September 2nd at home against FCS opponent Bethune Cookman.
Rosier, the only quarterback on the Canes’ roster that has ever thrown a pass in a college football game, beat out redshirt sophomore Evan Shirreffs and true freshmen N’Kosi Perry and Cade Weldon for the job.
Throughout the spring and into fall camp, it’s been Rosier getting first team reps. In almost all the permitted media viewing periods, he was the first quarterback in drills – handing the ball off to No. 1 running back Mark Walton and throwing to No. 1 tight end Christopher Herndon.
In Miami’s two fall scrimmages, Rosier has put up impressive numbers that – as it would appear – were too good for Richt to ignore. In the first scrimmage, Rosier went 8-for-14 for 181 yards and three touchdowns. He followed that up by completing 17 of 25 passes for 260 yards and a pair of touchdowns in the most recent dress rehearsal.
Rosier fits Richt’s run-pass option (RPO) offense. Unlike this past season when Brad Kaaya would feign a threat to pull the ball from the running back and run, Rosier is athletic enough to make defenses account for his ability to pick up yardage with his legs from the pocket while also being able to throw the ball downfield.
A 6-foot-1, 216-pound former three-star prep prospect out of Mobile, Alabama, Rosier started a game for the Hurricanes in 2015. With starter Brad Kaaya out with a concussion, Rosier was UM’s No. 1 quarterback against Duke on October 31 and completed 20 of his 29 passes for 272 yards with two touchdowns and an interception.
Rosier solid performance became an afterthought because of the dramatic way the game ended – Miami winning the game on a kickoff return that had eight laterals.
The fan favorite was Perry. Folks were intrigued and excited by his dual-threat abilities and potential, but asking a player to take snaps in the ACC months after he graduated from high school is a tall order.
Perry has shown flashes of what makes him so special and why he’s definitely the future for Miami, but his overall performances during scrimmages – 12-for-27 for 148 yards with a touchdown and an interception cumulative through the two sessions – didn’t resonate enough with Richt.
The “odd man out” becomes Shirreffs. Although he was considered a “co-number one” with Rosier in the spring and took some reps with the No. 1 offense this fall, Shirreffs has to fall back again. Since arriving at Miami in 2015, the 6-foot-5 three-star prospect had a redshirt year and a year on the practice squad.
Even though Shirreffs will probably be the No. 2, he may opt to go elsewhere if he feels as though his chances of receiving playing time are still slim.