Miami QB coach on signees N’Kosi Perry, Cade Weldon, QB race

N'Kosi Perry (247)

N’Kosi Perry (247)

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If you’re on pins and needles waiting to see who will supplant Brad Kaaya, you’re not alone.

Miami quarterbacks coach Jon Richt will have five players this spring — and one more this summer — who will compete to be the next Hurricanes starting quarterback.

His focus Wednesday was on the two players Miami signed, N’Kosi Perry and Cade Weldon, the latter of whom is already on campus, having enrolled last month.

Perry (6-foot-4, 185 pounds), rated as high as the No. 3 dual-threat quarterback and No. 84 player in the country, is “a tall, more athletic, very loose guy that has a cannon for an arm,” Richt said. “At the same time he’s going to have to learn to control himself, pull himself into a position where he can consistently make the play that should be made.

“He’ll be able to make plays that sometimes shouldn’t have been made that are awesome. But he’s gotta be a guy that makes the consistent play, the play that day in and day in we  need him to make.”

Richt said Weldon (6-3, 205), rated No. 19 among pro-style quarterbacks by Rivals, is a “big, physical kid that is very accurate and will continue to grow into his body and get more athletic as he goes. But he’s going to be a kid that is going to have to be very consistent in who he becomes going forward. When you’re a freshman you’re not going to be consistent because you’re learning.”

And Weldon has a leg up in that process.

“Cade is here and he gets to be hands-on treated,” Richt said. “N’Kosi is going to have to fight for himself a little bit so [we’re] going to see how much he really wants it.”

Weldon will participate in UM’s offseason program and spring drills. Until he arrives on campus — likely in May — Perry won’t be able to build relationships with players, won’t get college-level nutrition and weight training. He also won’t have full access to the playbook; the logic there being he might learn bad habits if he tries to learn it all on his own.

Instead, the Hurricanes will tape a few “install” sessions and send them to Perry. They’ll send him plenty of film to watch. He’ll be able to talk and text and video chat with his coaches as much as possible.  “No limits,” Richt said. “He’s a Miami Hurricane.”

Becoming a presence that commands a room may be a slower process for Perry, whom Richt described as “a quieter guy that is more of an action-based leader.” He did reach out to fellow recruits, Richt said.

Another hurdle Perry must clear: he’s skinny. A nutrition plan is likely in the mail, Richt said.

Richt said Weldon — who has fully recovered from a junior year knee injury, his coaches said — is a tough runner who may be able to go in between the tackles. Perry, meanwhile, is elusive and “can probably hit a home run,” Richt said. “Where Cade might get 20 yards, N’Kosi might get 60.”

That’s a quality Mark Richt was excited about, as much as he enjoyed working with Kaaya. UM’s all-time leading passer had an accurate arm and excellent vision, but couldn’t move like Perry or Weldon. The threat they bring could help Richt’s run-pass option plays work better.

“Sometimes you have QBs who can run, but they’re a runner who can throw decent. These guys are true quarterbacks who happen to be able to run well, which is a nice dynamic to have.” Mark Richt said. “It doesn’t mean you have to have a guy that can run like a deer to be great, because it’s has been happening for years without it. But I do like the fact that they can move.”

That doesn’t mean either has the job. Incumbent backups Malik Rosier and Evan Shirreffs, along with redshirted former four-star recruit Jack Allison and even walk-on Vincent Testaverde will get a chance to prove themselves.

Rosier, who will be a redshirt junior, is the only returner with game experience. Shirreffs is “Steady Eddie, very reliable,” Richt said. Allison, a top-10 quarterback nationally in 2016, is a bit of a forgotten man but has talent.

Allison “was young and a little bit immature, a little thin, frail-type guy,” Richt said. “But this past year and this offseason so far he’s done a great job of putting on weight, getting his body right, getting his mind right.

“A lot of kids come in and redshirt and they disappear. They kind of fall off the radar. They run the scout team and that’s what they do. But Jack did a great job of staying within the offense and continuing to learn and grow throughout the year, which is very impressive. So, we’re really excited to see him.”

“The fact that we have five guys who we think can get it done is a huge testament to those guys. There’s not one guy that we’re like, ‘Oh, he’s that much better than anybody else.’ We think every single one of us can go out there and compete and win us a championship.”

But as they grow from recent signees into starter-quality, they’ll be glad Miami’s receiving corps improved.

“It helps,” Richt said. “You know what? The biggest pacifier is a guy you can throw a hitch to and he runs about 80 yards. We like those guys.”

 

 

 

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