Watch Canes offensive coordinator Dan Enos instructing Hurricanes quarterbacks
Tyler Van Dyke was there the day Mark Richt’s tenure as the coach of the Miami Hurricanes hit rock bottom and effectively came to an end. The four-star quarterback watched from the crowd in New York last year when the Wisconsin Badgers embarrassed Miami, 35-3, in the Pinstripe Bowl at Yankee Stadium.
Just a month earlier, the Hurricanes had extended an offer to the pro-style quarterback from Connecticut, although he the initial enthusiasm which came with the initial Miami offer had waned by the end of the fall.
“I was excited about it just because it was Miami at first when Coach Richt offered me,” Van Dyke said Tuesday. “After that game I did not think I was going to go there.”
Everything changed in the next month. Richt retired just a few days after the loss, and the Hurricanes quickly hired Manny Diaz as the coach’s replacement. Less than two weeks after Diaz took over, he pried offensive coordinator Dan Enos from the Alabama Crimson Tide, and in the offensive coordinator’s first week at Miami he reached back out to Van Dyke. On Monday, what once seemed unlikely became reality as Van Dyke announced his oral commitment to the Hurricanes, spurning the Syracuse Orange and about 20 other suitors.
It can all be traced to Enos, who made it clear Van Dyke was one of his priorities for the Class of 2020 early into his tenure with the Hurricanes. He re-offered Van Dyke in his first week on the job and told him he wanted to make the trip up to Suffield Academy to watch him throw in person. After his trip north, Enos got Van Dyke to come on an initial unofficial visit last month, then brought him back to Coral Gables for a secret visit Thursday. The second visit sealed Van Dyke’s thinking.
“He’s in a place where he’s really confident and comfortable with his decision,” Suffield coach Drew Gamere said Tuesday, “and feels like, without question, it’s a place that, No. 1, the team is going to be successful and, [No.] 2, that it’s a place were he can be successful.”
While Enos’ national perception rose in 2018 as position coach for All-American quarterback Tua Tagovailoa, Van Dyke is just as impressed by what he did before he arrived in Alabama and he specifically pointed to past examples. As the offensive coordinator for the Arkansas Razorbacks, Enos helped develop quarterback Brandon Allen from a three-star prospect into an NFL player. As the coach of the Central Michigan Chippewas, Enos was the only coach to offer quarterback Cooper Rush, who is now the backup for the Dallas Cowboys.
Van Dyke possesses most of the raw tools coaches look for in a quarterback — he’s 6-foot-4 and 212 pounds, with a cannon arm and enough athleticism to play three sports for the Tigers — and he wants Enos to develop his intellectual tool set.
“He’s really good with the X’s and O’s,” Van Dyke said. “I need to work on just coverages and concepts, just reading the field. I know Coach Enos will obviously help with that, but I want to try to get a head start for next year.”
Gamere, however, will vouch for the other mental parts of quarterbacking.
Suffield already had a upperclassman quarterback entrenched when Van Dyke arrived as a freshman. Gamere could tell he had a chance to be special — he already had his prototypical size and obvious arm talent — but the coach wasn’t sure he would command the respect to start right away.
By the end of the season, Van Dyke was splitting snaps evenly with the veteran. At this point, he’s far ahead of where most quarterback prospects are, with experience both out of shotgun and playing under center.
Gamere knows the perfectly placed deep balls are what everyone first takes notice of with Van Dyke, but he thinks back to a game toward the end of 2018 season for his signature Van Dyke highlight. The quarterback played the majority of the game with an ankle injury after taking a low hit against Choate Rosemary Hall School in Wallingford, Connecticut. Although the Tigers eventually lost, it wasn’t until after Van Dyke guided a comeback and put Suffield ahead on a touchdown pass while rolling to his right on one fully functional leg.
“Honestly, he was down and I thought he’d be out for the game,” Gamere said. “He came back, limping around and he had to escape some pressure on this particular play and kind of throw off one foot.
“It showed a lot of guts.”