There’s no doubt who the starting quarterback is at the University of Miami.
As for those other three gentlemen...
Backups Jarren Williams, N’Kosi Perry and Cade Weldon met the Miami media for the first time in 2018 — the strong-armed freshman Williams for the first time in his young career — on media day Monday at the school’s alumni center.
“Coach [Mark] Richt said he’s going to put me out there,’’ said Williams, 18, regarding the new NCAA rule that allows true freshmen to play up to four games while still maintaining their redshirt status. “I’ve just got to be ready and he’ll give me the chance. The hardest part for me has been mastering that playbook.
“That just comes with time. I’m learning, but I still make mistakes sometimes.’’
For now, while Williams continues to learn, it’s pretty clear that redshirt freshmen N’Kosi Perry and Cade Weldon — in that order, according to their practice rotations during media viewing— are the two quarterbacks who have the best shot at replacing Rosier should the unspeakable happen.
“In the past I’ve actually had two No. 2s— co-No. 2s,’’ Richt said Monday. “If we get in a game and it’s time to put the second-team guy in there, it might be one guy one week and the next week I put another guy in. I’m considering that because I think it’s that close of a competition and you learn more in a game than you do in practice.’’
Williams “doesn’t quite know what to do on every play,’’ the coach said of the former four-star prospect and consensus top-10 national prep quarterback who threw for more than 3,000 yards and 28 touchdowns with only four interceptions last year at Central Gwinnett High in Lawrenceville, Georgia. “He’s a typical freshman. ...But the one thing I love about him is he seems pretty fearless in the pocket. He’s not perfect by any stretch, but fundamentally he’s pretty sound and he hits his targets more times than not.’’
Williams’ teammates on Monday gushed about the 6-2, 220-pound signal caller, up 10 pounds since he arrived at UM.
“Jarren is a savage,’’ said freshman defensive end Gregory Rousseau, who has proven to be a preseason savage himself. “He’s awesome.’’
“That dude has a rocket on his arm,’’ Weldon said. “He’s still learning. I see a lot of myself in Jarren a year ago. I was making mistakes like that, but Jarren hangs in the pocket and make some really, really good plays with his arm.’’
And this from redshirt freshman receiver Evidence Njoku, who sounds just like his tight-end star older brother David and said he’s feeling great after missing last season because of major knee surgery: “Jarren has a cannon for an arm. His throwing ability is unbelievable. But all our quarterbacks are extremely talented.’’
Perry, who still looks reed thin, has bulked up to 195 pounds on his 6-4 frame. He said he wants to gain more.
“I came in at 177 pounds,’’ Perry said. “I’d like to get up to at least 205 during the season.’’
Perry was known as one of the top dual-threat prep quarterbacks when he came to UM from Ocala Vanguard High and said he has “improved a whole lot, especially mentally— knowing where to go, learning how to read the defense better.
“I’m not a run-first quarterback. I have the ability to run obviously, but I’m a pass-first guy. I want to get the ball to my receivers no matter who they are. I’ve been working on my consistency.”
Perry’s goals: “To stay ready, stay injury free, stay clean off the field— no trouble— and make sure I get all my work done in school.’’
Weldon, a sturdy 6-3, 220-pounder whose father Casey was the 1991 Heisman Trophy runner-up under none other than offensive coordinator Richt at Florida State, said at this point it’s “definitely the most comfortable I’ve felt since I’ve been here. I’m right there in the mix. I’ve given coach plenty of reasons to show my development and why he should trust me.
“You can notice it’s been turned up a notch on Greentree Field with how competitive it’s getting every day.’’
UM quarterbacks coach Jon Richt said each of the quarterbacks is improving, but that Williams, who “has great touch and very nice mechanics,’’ is like all freshmen who “are starting to swim because we’ve installed basically our whole playbook by now. He’s starting to have to function with our offense in totality.”
Williams chose UM over Auburn and Ohio State. His official visit was during the Notre Dame weekend, when UM crushed the Irish 41-8 at Hard Rock Stadium.
“It was like, ‘Wow, I want to be part of this!’ Williams said Monday. “It was electric. I just fell in love with the place.’’
Why else did he choose UM?
“I want to win a national championship,’’ he said. “And I think this is the place to do it.’’
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