This time of year, in Miami, Hurricane season is prevalent. Whether talking about the forecast or in the realm of football, both ring true. For the University of Miami, their football team has been struggling for nearly two decades, but things are on the up thanks to quarterback D’Eriq King.
Unlike most historic college football programs, they have had only one 10-win season since 2003. When comparing to other universities in Florida, they rank last behind Florida Atlantic, USF, UCF, UF, and Florida State in 10-win seasons since 2003.
A lot of their issues derive from coaching and recruiting, but the lack of good quarterback play has haunted Miami. Former Head Coaches Larry Coker, Randy Shannon, Al Golden, Mark Richt have tried to right the ship, but they have been unsuccessful in recruiting top players, specifically at the quarterback position.
New head man Manny Diaz struggled in 2019 going 6-7, in large part due to shaky offensive line play coupled with a subpar quarterback, but this year, things are looking promising. The ‘Canes have not faced a true test, but they have shown promise winning their first two games. One glaring change that Diaz has that the other coaches did not have is a star quarterback as he does now with King.
King left the third coast (Houston) to take his talents to South Beach. Since arriving on campus, he has given them a sense of hope that they have not felt since Carson Daly was hosting TRL.
In a small sample size of two games, King has displayed that he is one of the best quarterbacks in the country. His PFF grade of 83.4 is fourth among Power Five Quarterbacks and his showing on the road in Louisville should not be ignored.
In a 47-35 showdown against the Cardinals, King tallied 325 yards passing and three touchdowns, including a game-changing 75-yard to Jaylan Knighton. Although we are still in the early stages of the season, Miami fans cannot help to be excited about the rest of the season. It is safe to say that the jury is still out on the ‘Canes, but for the first time in forever, they have an NFL-caliber quarterback. In an interview, college football analyst Kirk Herbstreit likened King’s impact as a transfer to a familiar name.
“Russell Wilson comes to mind for me,” Herbstreit said. “He left N.C. State and showed up in Madison. He was there for four weeks and was voted unanimously a team captain. His temperament and his style with the way he carried himself reminds me of D’Eriq King — not what we saw of him against the Patriots the other night, but as a college player — he reminds me of D’Eriq King in a similar situation.”
With compliments like that, it shows that King is a special player, but for those who have been studying the game, this should not come as a surprise.
In 2018, King had a 91.2 PFF grade, which was only behind by then Heisman winner Kyler Murray. While King is not back to that level, he is more than capable of doing so. During that year, King also had a turnover-worthy throw percentage of 1.8%, which shows that he can take care of the ball, and area that has hurt Miami over the years.
Miami’s offensive coordinator Rhett Lashlee has a great track record with quarterbacks at previous stops and that is the perfect recipe for King’s success. His high-octane offense will give King ample opportunities to make plays through the air and on the ground.
The excitement is real and Canes fans should be happy. No, Nevin Shapiro is not leading the team out of the smoked tunnel at the OB, but the Hurricanes have the makings to be one of the top teams in the ACC.
The U may not be back to the days where they were the most feared team in college football, but thanks to King, they are back to respectability, which is a great start for their football program.