N’Kosi Perry is home in Ocala, finishing high school and working out to prepare for fall football.
Cade Weldon is on campus in Coral Gables, starting college and working out to prepare for spring football.
Both newly signed Hurricanes will soon be battling to win the job that NFL-bound Brad Kaaya vacated as the No. 1 passer in University of Miami history.
Hurricanes coach Mark Richt and his son, Jon, the UM quarterbacks coach, believe Perry and/or Weldon are capable of leading the Hurricanes into the post-Kaaya era – that is, if rising redshirt junior Malik Rosier, or other fellow Canes, don’t win the job.
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On Wednesday, National Signing Day, Jon Richt said it was “a huge deal’’ for Weldon “to be able to get into the offensive system early and kind of dive in, and not only learn the plays. Because N’Kosi will have the chance to learn plays, but he won’t get the reps that Cade is going to get and he won’t be able to necessarily build relationships with some of these guys that he’s going to have to eventually lead.
“With him being here that gives him an opportunity to build a résumé not only with the coaching staff but with the rest of the players.’’
Jon Richt told CanesInSight.com that when he and his father watched tape of Perry, he reminded them of Florida State’s 1993 Heisman Trophy winner Charlie Ward, whom Mark Richt coached at FSU.
The quarterbacks coach later said Perry could “beat you with his arm and his feet.’’
On Tuesday morning, Mark Richt said during a WQAM-560 radio interview that Perry has “tremendous arm talent and leg talent.
“The guy, he’s got just so much ability. He’s a little raw in his fundamentals, but nothing that won’t get cleaned up pretty quickly. He’s very coachable, teachable. And when you watch his highlights you can see that he’ll make some plays that you don’t design. We’ll be like, ‘Oh my gosh, what did the guy just do?’’’
Perry, listed as 6-4 and 185, but more like “6-3 or 6-3 1/2 ,’’ Mark Richt said, will be graduating this spring from Ocala Vanguard High. He is a consensus four-star, dual-threat prospect who threw for 1,778 yards, 24 touchdowns and four interceptions his senior season, according to Max Preps, with another 97 yards and four touchdowns rushing.
Weldon, listed as 6-2 and 203 pounds, graduated early from Tampa Jefferson High. He is a three-star prospect who threw for 3,135 yards, 19 touchdowns and 11 interceptions his senior season, with another 368 yards and 11 touchdowns rushing.
Mark Richt described Weldon on Tuesday as a player who “really went under the radar’’ after he tore his ACL and MCL his junior season. “His 10th grade film was excellent,’’ Richt said. “And then he came back his senior year and threw for 3,000 and ran for whatever and had a big year.
“He’s a very good fundamental passer but he can move. He’s a very athletic kid.’’
Jon Richt said UM football nutritionist Kyle Bellamy and strength and conditioning coach Gus Felder are providing a plan for Perry to bulk up the right way.
“That’s the first thing he’s got to do. He’s got to get in the weight room, eat, control his body and the way he comes on campus. 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.’’
The QB coach also said instead of providing Perry with the raw playbook, coaches might provide him with that type of information in other ways.
“We can talk. We can face time. He can watch film. He can do a whole lot of different things without necessarily having the playbook in front of him. We’ll probably videotape ourselves installing the first couple of deals and then he’ll get to watch that and take notes. The thing you don’t want him to do is sit there by himself, look at something, and then learn something wrong.’’
Jon Richt described Perry, the quieter quarterback, as an “action-based leader’’ who is a “tall, more athletic, very loose guy that has a cannon for an arm. But at the same time he’s going to have to learn to control himself, put himself into a position where he can consistently make the play that should be made.’’
He described Weldon, more outgoing, as “a big, physical kid that is very accurate and will continue to grow into his body and get more athletic as he goes.’’
Said Jon Richt about their styles: “Whereas Cade is athletic to gain yards, N’Kosi can probably hit a home run. Where Cade might get 20 yards, N’Kosi might get 60.
“But at the same time, Cade is probably a more physical runner, where he can run in between the tackles, as opposed to N’Kosi. You’d rather him run outside and get in space.’’
So, what about those nationally heralded receivers that UM just signed Wednesday, not to mention freshman All-American Ahmmon Richards?
“That helps,’’ Jon 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.’’