University of Miami

Miami coach Manny Diaz now has one more transfer QB to ponder: Alabama’s Jalen Hurts

It’s no secret that the University of Miami quarterback situation in 2018 was one big mess.

Now, every Hurricanes fan is wondering who the starter will be for 2019.

As of Wednesday night, that quarterback could be Alabama’s Jalen Hurts, who had a 26-2 record as a starter and reportedly put his name in the NCAA’s transfer portal earlier in the day and can now be contacted by coaches from other football programs. Hurts could play immediately wherever he chooses, because he would be a graduate transfer.

Hurts was benched in last season’s national championship game and replaced by then-true freshman Tua Tagovailoa. Hurts subsequently lost the starting job this season to Heisman finalist Tagovailoa.

Listed as 6-2 and 218 pounds on Alabama’s roster, Hurts completed 51 of 70 passes (72.9 percent) for 765 yards and eight touchdowns, with two interceptions, this past season.

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Hurts is from Houston, where Major Applewhite, reportedly a candidate for Miami’s offensive coordinator job, was the head coach before he was recently fired. Applewhite recruited Hurts, as he did UM rising redshirt freshman Jarren Williams.

Hurricanes coach Manny Diaz made it clear that he intends to search for another quarterback, whether it be a graduating high school player or graduate transfer, to vie for the starting spot with the current quarterbacks. And on Wednesday, he told Joe Rose on WQAM that he will “create as much competition at that spot’’ as possible.

Another possible quarterback for UM to circulate on recruiting sites such as CaneSport and InsidetheU is John Rhys Plumlee, a 6-1, 185-pound dual-threat QB from Oak Grove High in Hattiesburg, Mississippi. Plumlee, rated three stars by Rivals and four stars by 247Sports, also is a star baseball player and already committed (but not signed) to play for Georgia. He already has spoken with Diaz, according to CaneSport, and is “considering’’ the Canes and “just waiting to see the coordinator/QB coach.’’

Plumlee was also offered by major programs such as Alabama, Auburn, Florida, Nebraska, Virginia and Ole Miss.

According to Max Preps, he threw for 2,834 yards and 33 touchdowns this past season, with three interceptions. He rushed for another 1,444 yards and 19 touchdowns.

Rose asked Diaz if he realized that if he brought in a transfer quarterback (or any quarterback for that matter), he might lose one of the younger quarterbacks on the team already.

“There’s no doubt,’’ Diaz said. “Look, we have a very simple job as a coaching staff. We have to field the best quarterback that the University of Miami can field for next year. And there is no doubt that the solution to that problem may be on our campus right now. But we have to make sure that we examine all possible solutions. And if we do create competition, whether it’s from the outside or whatever — even whoever comes from the outside, no one is guaranteed anything.

“It’s going to get back to the way it is. It’s going to get back to getting on Greentree Practice Field and winning out there, because playing college quarterback is tough.

“...You look at the great Miami Hurricanes games in the past. They weren’t just winning all those games with an OK guy at quarterback. They weren’t winning with a guy that sort of managed it. They were winning with big-time guys. This was quarterback U for a long time. So, that is really sort of the straw that stirs the drink.

“So, we have to create as much competition at that spot to have a guy not win because he was sort of the best of the sort of OK guys. We need a guy here that is going to behave and act like a big-time guy in everything he does to take us where we need to go.’’

Highly touted true freshman Williams, who no doubt was as shocked as everyone else when he didn’t get inserted into the Pinstripe Bowl by former head coach Mark Richt, will soon be a redshirt freshman vying to get the starting job that was shared last season between graduating senior Malik Rosier and soon-to-be redshirt sophomore N’Kosi Perry.

Rosier is gone, and Perry got into a heap of controversy over inappropriate social media videos, among separate situations that got him suspended for last season’s opener against LSU.

Williams, also suspended for one game for undisclosed reasons, reportedly was going to transfer, then ended up staying with the Hurricanes, saying on social media that the Canes were family and he was staying with his brothers.

Weldon, who will be a redshirt sophomore, was suspended for four games this past season for undisclosed reasons.

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Miami Herald sports writer Susan Miller Degnan has been the Miami Hurricanes football beat writer since 2000, the season before the Canes won it all. She has won several APSE national writing awards and has covered everything from Canes baseball to the College Football Playoff to major marathons to the Olympics.
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