Two home games remain for the Miami Hurricanes – Pittsburgh on Saturday and Duke on Nov. 26.
Probably the last few chances to see Brad Kaaya in person, in other words, unless the junior decides he needs to do more before going out in the NFL draft.
I’m increasingly of the opinion that he does need to do more, but Kaaya’s pro style game is never going to work until Miami fixes its offensive line problems. Already he’s taken too much punishment. Already Mark Richt has run out of ideas on how to make Kaaya get the ball out faster or move out of the pocket or do anything else to get the Hurricanes offense fully ignited again.
It wasn’t supposed to turn out this way for the 6-foot-4 star, who likely will finish No. 2 all-time behind Ken Dorsey in passing yards by a Miami quarterback.
The best scenario would be for some NFL team that believes in Kaaya to draft him in the first round and set him aside for a season of training. That’s what the Los Angeles Rams did with No. 1 overall pick Jared Goff from the 2015 draft.
Goff played on a California Bears team that was 4-5 in the Pac 12 his junior year but won the Armed Forces Bowl 55-36 over Air Force. Miami could still rally to a similar finish with Kaaya, improving his overall profile along the way, but Kaaya is never going to reach Goff’s ridiculous total of 43 touchdown passes in his final college season.
As a matter of fact, it’s difficult distinguishing Kaaya’s stats from the other quarterbacks remaining on Miami’s 2016 schedule.
See if you can pick his out from the following strings while matching the others to Nathan Peterman of Pittsburgh, Kurt Benkert of Virginia, Ryan Finley of North Carolina State and Daniel Jones of Duke.
- 11 touchdowns, 9 interceptions, 128.2 rating
- 17 touchdowns, 9 interceptions, 126.5 rating
- 13 touchdowns, 6 interceptions, 144.8 rating
- 12 touchdowns, 3 interceptions, 152.3 rating
- 13 touchdowns, 6 interceptions, 138.1 rating
Kaaya is answer C, and he doesn’t really stand out by numbers alone.
The others are (A) Jones, (B) Benkert, (D) Peterman and (E) Finley.
Both Kaaya and Notre Dame’s DeShone Kizer had their moments in Saturday’s high-profile game at South Bend. NFL scouts will see the Fighting Irish quarterback as more athletic and Kaaya as more of a ready-made pro. It’s all in the eye of the beholder.
What I see right now though is a challenge for Kaaya to finish strong, beginning with Saturday’s possible shootout with a Pittsburgh team that has scored at least 36 points in seven straight games. That’s the longest active streak in the FBS category.
Pitt has three losses but all have been to teams currently ranked in the AP Top 25 – North Carolina, Virginia Tech and Oklahoma State.
Make it work in the season’s final month and Kaaya’s draft stock could rise dramatically again.