CHARLOTTE, N.C. – The most important position on the football field isn’t even close to being decided at the University of Miami, according to Hurricanes coach Mark Richt.
In an interview with the South Florida media Friday at the Atlantic Coast Conference Football Kickoff, Richt was asked about the position vacated by new Detroit Lion Brad Kaaya, who set the UM career passing record with 9,968 yards in three seasons.
Redshirt junior Malik Rosier, redshirt sophomore Evan Shirreffs, true freshman early enrollee Cade Weldon and the recently arrived N’Kosi Perry are vying for the job.
The 6-4, 185-pound Perry, out of Ocala Vanguard High, is clearly the fan favorite. He threw for 1,778 yards and 24 touchdowns, with four interceptions his senior season.
“I just don’t want everybody to feel like it’s all about N’Kosi because it’s not,’’ Richt said. “It’s about who is going to be the guy that I have the most trust in to run this football team. And if it’s N’Kosi, awesome,’’ he added, noting that “N’Kosi has got a really good skill-set to play the position… But they all have the skill-set to get the job done.
“…Everybody is excited about N’Kosi because he’s new. We’re in a position where two true freshmen actually have a chance to win the job. Cade can win it. N’Kosi can win it. But we’ve got Evan who can win it. Malik can win it.
“Could one of those veteran guys been further along at this point in taking the lead? Maybe could have been, but [they] didn’t.’’
Other Richt notables:
▪ He said defensive tackle Gerald Willis, who has taken “a leave of absence,’’ is “not in school right now. He’s not on campus right now.’’ He did not elaborate, saying “it’s for personal reasons.’’
▪ Defensive lineman Jon Ford, out of Fort Lauderdale Dillard, is in a situation “similar to [receiver] Dionte Mullins,’’ who arrived late last year due to an academic-related issue. “We expect him to be with us before it’s over.’’
▪ Linebacker Michael Smith, who will now expand his role to fullback as well, is expected to play sparingly as a running back. Richt said his main responsibility is as a linebacker.
▪ True freshman receiver DeeJay Dallas has been practicing with the running backs “just in case,’’ the coach said. Walton sounded as if Dallas was making the transition to tailback, and that he seemed more comfortable as a runner.
▪ He said he is probably going to let the quarterbacks get hit in the scrimmages.
▪ Paradise Camp is next weekend – Friday, July 21, for ninth and 10 graders; and Saturday, July 22, for 11 and 12 graders. 21, for ninth and 10th graders; and Saturday, July 22, for 11th and 12th graders.