University of Miami football coach Manny Diaz was refreshingly direct Thursday at the Atlantic Coast Conference Football Kickoff when asked, given the current national climate of players transferring, if one of UM’s three quarterbacks vying for the starting job — redshirt sophomore N’Kosi Perry, redshirt sophomore Tate Martell and redshirt freshman Jarren Williams — might transfer if not chosen.
“Yeah, I mean, it absolutely could happen,’’ Diaz said. “You saw it with Clemson a year ago, when they went to [Trevor] Lawrence and [Kelly] Bryant left midway through the season and they went through the rest of the season with two quarterbacks. So, that’s always a possibility.
“I think you have to recruit to that ideal, where you have to recruit a quarterback every year to make sure that you’re protected. I think that’s kind of the new normal.
“I think you just have to have a sense... Now I’ll say this: Part of it is you have to have a program where players don’t want to leave if they can avoid it and they want to believe that they’re going to be treated right. Ideally, it may not be better somewhere else.’’
Would the situation be a lot more dire should that happen at UM?
“Look, that’s outside of our control,’’ Diaz said. “The University of Miami demands that the best player in our locker room playing quarterback plays quarterback. And then what happens beyond that is outside of our control. But I will say this, and this goes with any position, any player: If you don’t want to be for the University of Miami, go somewhere else. This is UM. This is Miami. We don’t have to beg anyone to be a Miami Hurricane. And that’s in recruiting and that’s in anything else.
“We have to start to create value to what it means to play for the Miami Hurricanes. Because right now in my mind that has been devalued. So I’m trying to recreate value in what it means to be on our team. And I’ll be honest, and I’m not even talking about quarterbacks — for any position.
“I don’t really care. I want to find some guys that are all for the U. Guess why? Because that’s how Miami won in the past. And I don’t care what guys are ranked in recruiting. I don’t care what guys have done on our team. We’re going to win with guys that love the University of Miami. That has been proven over and over and over again.’’
If a quarterback should transfer, the Canes still have newly arrived 6-4, 204-pound freshman QB Peyton Matocha, out of Houston, Texas, on scholarship; as well as 6-4, 215-pound redshirt junior preferred walk-on Carson Proctor, a junior-college transfer who formerly played at Arkansas as a walk-on and looked very sharp in spring practice. Redshirt sophomore Augie DiBiase from Ponte Vedra is also a walk on, as well as redshirt freshman Ryan Rizk out of American Heritage in Delray Beach.
▪ Redshirt sophomore transfer Bubba Bolden, who played for USC in 2017, is “finishing a class,’’ Diaz said and will be late to spring camp, which begins a week from Friday.
▪ Redshirt sophomore transfer Jaelan Phillips, who spent his first two seasons at UCLA and is listed in the UM media guide as a linebacker, will also be late. He already was sitting out in 2019.
▪ Virginia Tech graduate transfer defensive end Trevon Hill has not officially arrived yet but is expected to play in the Aug. 24 opener against Florida. He had shoulder surgery in January, Diaz said.
▪ Freshman linebacker Avery Huff, out of St. Thomas Aquinas, is not expected to be at UM when players report next Thursday. But he is expected to be in camp and is “sort of waiting on final approval,’’ Diaz said.
▪ Veteran linebackers Waynmon Steed and Bradley Jennings will not participate at the start of fall camp because they have “long-term injuries,’’ Diaz said.
▪ Sophomore linebacker Patrick Joyner “suffered a lower-leg injury running in camp and will be limited.’’ Diaz said he wasn’t “certain’’ if Joyner would be back for the Florida game.