First in a series of position-by-position looks at the Hurricanes heading into spring practice, which begins March 21.
Though he had his warts, chiefly a lack of mobility which exacerbated offensive line woes, Brad Kaaya was a darn good college quarterback. He set new Miami records for passing yards, completions and attempts. He was an accurate thrower and a tough competitor. All but a few programs nationally would have taken three years of Kaaya as the starter.
It would be ideal for Miami if a clear successor emerged, right now.
Mark Richt, who works with quarterbacks in greater detail than any other position, recently expressed his disappointment that none of Kaaya’s backups challenged for the job last fall. Someone had better show that fire this spring, because not only is the spot open, Richt’s top recruit, four-star prospect N’Kosi Perry, arrives in the summer. It is high time to make a lasting impression.
Projected spring depth chart (with fall class year listed)
12 — Malik Rosier, R-Jr.
11 — Jack Allison, R-Fr.
16 — Evan Shirreffs, R-Soph.
17 — Cade Weldon, Fr.
14 — Vincent Testaverde, R-Jr.
Expected starter: Unknown. Perhaps the most experienced (Rosier) or highly recruited (Allison) of last year’s backups, though the competition begins anew when Perry arrives. Richt won’t name a starter until midway through fall camp.
Major storyline: Who’s a legitimate contender, and who’s just another guy? Allison came along slower than anticipated last year, but he was a top-10 quarterback recruit in the 2016 class. Can he take over? Rosier is strong, but can he stop trying to be Superman? How much headway can Weldon make after enrolling in January? Will the lanky, heady Shirreffs be a factor? Can the walk-on, Testaverde, stun them all? This will be fascinating stuff, though Richt won’t allow much to be seen – practices are mostly closed to reporters and completely closed to the public. Miami won’t have a spring game, either. But make no mistake: this is the most important battle on Greentree. UM should have a hellacious front seven on defense and plenty of offensive weapons. If Richt finds a difference-making QB1, the Hurricanes could go from good to great.