University of Miami reserve quarterback Vincent Testaverde, the son of University of Miami legend and Heisman Trophy winner Vinny Testaverde, has left the football program, UM announced Thursday.
“Vincent approached me this morning and indicated that he felt like he would have more opportunities for playing time at another program,” head coach Mark Richt said. “We wish him all the best in his future plans.”
Richt said on Tuesday, when he announced redshirt junior Malik Rosier as the starting quarterback, that the backups handled the competition beautifully and he’d be “shocked’’ if anyone transferred.
“Everybody has to make choices in life,’’ Richt said. “But I’d be shocked if [current No. 2] Evan [Shirreffs] did that, or any of them. I’d be shocked. They all know they’re learning, they all know they’re growing, they all know they’re getting better. They understand there’s competition everywhere you go. You can go somewhere for greener grass, well guess what? They got a bunch of dudes there too. They know the system. You’re going to be behind the 8-ball if you go somewhere else. I’d be very surprised.”
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Testaverde’s father served on the advisory committee that provided UM athletic director Blake James with input during the coaching search that ended with Richt’s hiring.
Testaverde, a native of Tampa, Fla., is listed as a 6-2, 205-pound redshirt junior and did not see any game action last year after sitting out in 2015. He transferred to Miami from Texas Tech, where he played in one game his true freshman season.
At Texas Tech, Testaverde’s only game was against Texas on Nov. 1, 2014. In that game, he completed 15 of 26 passes and threw one interception. He entered the game after freshman quarterback Patrick Mahomes was injured in the second quarter.
Testaverde at first was discussed as part of the quarterback race to replace departed UM starter Brad Kaaya, but he apparently soon fell out of the race, and hasn’t been mentioned for a long time.
The younger Testaverde, who always seemed upbeat and never complained when he was interviewed, was thrilled when his father let him take his No. 14 jersey out of retirement.
“I was of course nervous at first,’’ Testaverde said a week before last year’s season opener, when he was competing to be Kaaya’s backup and was told that he would be in the running for the opportunity. “It definitely boosted my confidence a little bit because I’ve been working hard.
“It’s special,’’ Vincent said back then of being able to wear his dad’s No. 14. “He knows it’s my favorite number, too. I’m just trying to keep everything up and hopefully get to where he got one day.’’
Vinny Testaverde won the Heisman for UM in 1986, earning the then-second-highest margin of victory in Heisman Trophy history. He threw for 2,567 yards and 26 touchdowns with only nine interceptions while leading UM to an undefeated regular season and the No. 1 ranking before the Canes fell to Penn State in the Fiesta Bowl.
The elder Testaverde in in the UM Sports Hall of Fame and was inducted into the UM Ring of Honor in 1997. He was one of four Hurricanes to have his jersey retired, along with George Mira, Jim Dooley and Ted Hendricks.
Testaverde didn’t play football until his junior season at Tampa Jesuit.
There, he led his team to the Class 5A District championship while reaching the state regional semifinals. He was 90 for 167 for 1,015 yards with nine touchdowns in 2013, his senior year.
“He just tells me, ‘Be confident,’’’ Testaverde said his father, a member of the College Football Hall of Fame, told him before he was chosen as a finalist for the backup job. ‘“Don’t be discouraged if you don’t get the spot you want. Just keep pushing away. Do what the coaches ask.’’’