A six-pack of University of Miami Hurricanes quarterback notes on the day Jarren Williams was named Miami’s starter:
▪ Among those obviously pleased by the news was Williams’ father, Anthony, who shared his reaction while on a train Monday:
“I think what Jarren was looking for is he wanted to compete; my hats off to coach [Manny] Diaz,” Anthony Williams said by phone. “He created an environment where it’s about competing; no matter what classification you’re in, the best player will play. That’s the message for all recruits.
“Jarren felt he didn’t have an opportunity to compete last year. He felt [otherwise] this year. All he wanted was an opportunity [to compete].”
Anthony Williams said he’s “very, very proud of Jarren. He’s been very diligent in the offseason, working out, training. He really took the challenge and has always been about the team. In order to get the team better, he had to make himself better.”
Williams said he was most impressed by his son’s work ethic.
“He would get up at 7 in the morning to train and come back home at 3 or 4,” Anthony Williams said, saying he not only worked on his body all offseason but specifically worked on the things that offensive coordinator Dan Enos “wanted him to work on with his lower body. He was just committed.”
Williams did that work during both the time he spent in Miami and the time he spent in the Atlanta area where his parents live.
Also credit Williams for sticking around when Tate Martell transferred here.
“He’s fine,” Williams’ father told me that January day. “He’s committed to being there. It has never been an issue with competition with Jarren. The cream always rises to the top.”
▪ Don Bailey Jr., UM’s radio analyst on WQAM-560, explained by phone Monday what he has seen from Williams in practices and the two scrimmages in the past couple of weeks:
“I never felt the guy ever got rattled,” Bailey said. “He’s comfortable in his own skin and own position. There’s a lot to be said for that.
“What I’ve seen in him is how much effort he put forth in the weight room and conditioning. He transformed his body and his physique and he certainly looks more suited to take on college football this year than last year physically.
“I don’t think anybody would ever question his arm. He’s got a very impressive arm. At the end of the day, he earned the job. He earned the trust of the coaches and the other players.
“Jarren throwing the football looked natural. He’s more athletic than people have seen. He was recruited out of high school as a dual-threat quarterback. He definitely has mobility.”
Williams had a long run, of 30-plus yards, in Saturday’s scrimmage, as well as a touchdown pass to tight end Will Mallory.
▪ Among those surprised by Monday’s news was Rivals’ national recruiting analyst, Mike Farrell.
“I am a bit surprised because I was never a huge Jarren Williams guy in our rankings meetings,” Farrell wrote. “I thought he was a bit inconsistent and I felt he had progressed well between his junior and senior year but was closer to his ceiling than [N’Kosi] Perry and [Tate] Martell.
“I was always a big believer in Martell and I’m surprised he didn’t break through and win the job. Perry was a raw prospect I liked a bit more than Williams coming out.
“If you had asked me to guess the order Manny Diaz would come up with, it would have been Martell, Perry and Williams. There could be a revolving door at quarterback this season for Miami. But they obviously see a lot in Williams and are very confident in his abilities, so we’ll see how that opener goes and take it from there.”
Credit Rivals’ Greg Lasky for identifying Williams’ upside in a recruiting piece a year and a half ago.
“He really developed into a great passer,” Lasky said before National Signing Day. “He always had size, great arm, can extend plays out of the pocket. His accuracy, decision making, deep ball just have gotten so much better in the last year and half. He could be the next star quarterback in Coral Gables. Twenty eight TDs, four interceptions [his senior year at Central Gwinnett High]. He plays against good competition. Jarren Williams going to Miami is a huge get for the Miami Hurricanes.”
▪ Gators coach Dan Mullen, preparing for UF’s Aug. 24 opener against UM in Orlando, took the news in stride.
“They said Jarren Williams; we’ll look at him,” Mullen said at a press conference Monday. “He hasn’t played a lot. None of their guys have played a lot, so it’s not like, ‘Let’s go study this guy.’ I have no idea what Manny and Dan are planning to do with the offense. He hasn’t played a lot. I think we were recruiting him at Mississippi State. I knew about him. We know him a little bit, but that’s a couple years ago.”
▪ Though a case could be made that Mark Richt should have given Williams playing time late in the season and during the bowl game, credit Richt for landing Williams in recruiting. Miami’s competition was stiff; Ohio State was Williams’ other finalist, and Alabama, Georgia and FSU were among his other offers. At one time, Williams was committed to Kentucky.
The Hurricanes have sustained painful recruiting losses to the Buckeyes, so snagging Williams could prove to be a major win against Ohio State. He was Rivals’ 114th overall player in the 2018 class.
“Coach Richt is a very genuine coach, genuine guy; he coaches players hard and has expectations,” Williams said when he was making his decision. His official visit to Coral Gables 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!’”
And what Richt said about Williams after he signed is in line with what is being said about him now. “The one thing I love about him is he seems pretty fearless in the pocket,” Richt said in spring of 2018. “He’s not perfect by any stretch, but fundamentally he’s pretty sound and he hits his targets more times than not.’’
▪ What ultimately doomed the other quarterbacks in the race were turnovers (in N’Kosi Perry’s case) and inconsistent accuracy in Tate Martell’s case. Martell was poor in Saturday’s scrimmage, including an interception to Gurvan Hall, according to someone in attendance.
Nevertheless, it would make sense for UM to have available a package (potentially near the goal line) for Martell, considering he had some success doing that for Ohio State last season. Martell and Perry had no immediate reaction to the news on social media.