Barry Jackson

UM’s N’Kosi Perry improving, poised for spring QB battle

Hurricanes quarterback N'Kosi Perry performs drills during an August practice. The highly-toued freshman is redshirting this season.
Hurricanes quarterback N'Kosi Perry performs drills during an August practice. The highly-toued freshman is redshirting this season.

A six-pack of UM football nuggets as the Hurricanes returned to practice on Tuesday to prepare for the Orange Bowl against Wisconsin:

• We’re told the UM staff remains very high on freshman quarterback N’Kosi Perry, and offensive coordinator Thomas Brown said Perry has been receiving substantial second-team snaps, along with backup Evan Sherriffs.

“He’s done a great job,” Brown said. “He’s taken more second-team reps, kind of splitting those with Evan Sherriffs. He has made a step in the right direction and we’ll see what happens in the future.”

Where specifically has Perry improved since August?

“Just reps,” Brown said. “Being able to understand the offense better and know where to throw the ball and make the throws. He can do that anywhere on the field. Just being more comfortable with the offense.”

Brown said Perry will benefit from bowl practice snaps.

“Nothing like going against a Manny Diaz defense every day in practice,” Brown said. “Those reps will be good for him.”

Mark Richt has said all jobs are open in the spring, and Perry is expected to challenge Malik Rosier for the starting job, with Sherriffs and perhaps incoming Jarren Williams also being given a chance to compete. Cade Weldon remains on scholarship, too.

• Junior defensive tackle Kendrick Norton declined to say if he’s likely NFL-bound, and Mark Richt said no junior (beyond Mark Walton) has informed him he’s turning pro.

From what we’re hearing, I would be surprised if Norton and junior defensive tackle Richard McIntosh Jr. return for their senior season. Both know they have NFL futures. But I have no independent knowledge of a final decision by either.

Norton and McIntosh are roommates and close friends.

One person in contact with junior cornerback Michael Jackson said he also has been mulling whether to turn pro.

Junior safety Jaquan Johnson is expected to return for his senior season, according to a UM source.

• Brown said tight end Michael Irvin Jr. played well against Clemson.

“Replacing Chris Herndon is tough for everybody; he made our offense go run game wise, protection wise, route running,” Brown said. “Big shoes to fill. He did a really good job for the most part overall. We tried to limit his reps. He fought his butt off and played hard.”

• Richt said he has received no indication that he will lose any coach to another school. There has been speculation on social media that receivers coach Ron Dugans might join new FSU coach Willie Taggert with the Seminoles. But Dugans was at UM practice on Tuesday.

• Brown, asked to assess the seasons of freshman receivers Jeff Thomas and Mike Harley: “You never know until they get here. Those guys have progressed well. Phenomenal talents and will continue to get better for us.”

By the way, Darrell Langham - who helped save UM in the FSU game - said he has been getting fewer than a dozen snaps per game and he hopes to play more.

Langham said he has spoken to Ahmmon Richards in the wake of Richards’ knee injury before the Clemson game and Richards expects to be ready to go for the start of next season.

• More than a dozen of UM’s 20 oral commitments are expected to sign in the new three-day early signing period that starts Wednesday. Most of the UM commits were on campus last weekend.

Brown likes the new signing period.

“From Miami’s sake, I think we’re in good shape,” he said. “I like it. What I know is if you don’t have players, I can be the best coach in the world. I can stay in the office all day every day. But it doesn’t matter. We had a bunch of players on campus that will make us better in a hurry the minute they step foot on campus. I’m good with it.”

Please check back a lot over the next 36 hours for lots of UM signing day fodder.

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