The competition on Greentree Practice Fields is about to to heat up.
Ten players on scholarship — eight freshmen and two transfers — are set to arrive on campus by Monday, when the first of Miami’s two summer-school sessions begins. They will immediately join the Hurricanes’ informal offseason workouts.
Update: Monday afternoon, Miami confirmed all the players named below had enrolled.
The most prominent newcomer is quarterback N’Kosi Perry, who will vie for the starting quarterback spot vacated by Brad Kaaya, now a Detroit Lions rookie. Perry, a four-star recruit from Ocala-Vanguard High, tweeted that he will wear No. 5.
Last week, coach Mark Richt shared his initial expectations for the 6-foot-4, 180-pound freshman, who threw for 4,085 yards, 46 touchdowns and six interceptions in his final two high school seasons.
“Just learn what to do,” Richt said. “Learn what do to. He’s going to be in the huddle — and we don’t huddle every play — but he’s going to be in the huddle, or in the middle of a no-huddle drill, and he’s got to know what to do. If he can do that, the players are like ‘OK, he can handle that part.’ Then when the ball’s snapped, they’ll find out what he can do after that as well.
“If you don’t know enough to function well and communicate well and get us in the right situations, it’s going to be hard to compete, truly. I’ve always told our freshmen quarterbacks, ‘Your first competition is to learn what to do. When you learn enough to truly compete, then that’s the next phase.”
“If you know what to do, they see that as a guy they can follow. When the ball’s snapped, if you start playing well and making good decisions, then they’re like, OK, this guy can play. You earn the right to lead through your performance. If they don’t think you can win – they may think you’re the greatest guy in the world and have all the leadership qualities in the world, but if you can’t play, or if you can’t handle the pressure of the job, then it’s hard for them to follow you. You don’t have to say a word to be a leader. You’re already a leader by your position. Now it’s a matter of, can you convince everybody that you can function well and help us get in the end zone.”
Others who said they will enroll for Summer ‘A’: wide receivers Jeff Thomas and Mike Harley, cornerbacks Dee Delaney and Jhavonte Dean — transferring from The Citadel and junior college, respectively — and Trajan Bandy, as well as offensive linemen Kai-Leon Herbert, Corey Gaynor and Zalon’tae Hillery and safety Derrick Smith.
Several of those players are expected to hold prominent roles this fall. Delaney, an FCS All-American and NFL draft prospect (and, apparently, someone who enjoys fishing) is likely to win a starting job in a secondary that graduated four seniors. Dean and Bandy should see significant action. Thomas and Harley have the type of speed UM covets (and we are soon to find out who is faster). Herbert and Gaynor could immediately challenge UM’s veteran linemen for playing time.
In addition to confirming the enrollment of the above 10 players, Miami said wide receiver Marshall Few, a preferred walk-on from Ponte Vedra Beach, had joined the program.
Those players aren’t the only ones who will join the program this summer. Miami’s highest-rated recruit, defensive end D.J. Johnson, said he plans to enroll by July 3, when UM’s second summer session begins. Johnson (6-5, 240) is talented enough to play early, even though defensive end is arguably UM’s deepest position. The Hurricanes’ remaining signees — defensive tackle Jon Ford, linebacker De’Andre Wilder, receiver Evidence Njoku and punter Zach Feagles — are expected to join him.