State of the UM Program: Quarterback

The recruiting class for 2015 is now in the books and we're still a couple months away from the start of spring football so lets take a closer look at the overall state of the program. This piece will focus on the quarterback position.

Leaving: Ryan Williams and Jake Heaps are gone. After a solid freshman season at Memphis back in 2010, Williams was convinced by Al Golden to become a Hurricane. He spent four seasons here as a backup and attempted just 53 total passes. Despite throwing just one pass as a senior in 2014, he was named the MVP of the Medal of Honor Game back in January. Heaps, a former five-star recruit and three-year starter at Kansas and BYU, transferred to Miami back in the spring hoping to win the starting job. The coaches went with freshman Brad Kaaya instead, and Heaps served as his primary backup all season. He attempted just 12 passes all season and threw for 51 yards. While the production on the field wasn't there for these guys as Hurricanes, their leadership for Kaaya was huge and that's something that will be missed in 2015.

Coming Back: Brad Kaaya was named the starting quarterback just before the start of the season. He had an up-and-down freshman season but still finished as one of the most productive young quarterbacks in all of college football. He completed 59-percent of his passes for 3,198 yards with 26 touchdowns and just 12 interceptions. Sure, he made a lot of costly mistakes throughout the season but it was one of the best individual performances by a Hurricane in a long time. He has a very bright future here and his development under offensive coordinator James Coley will be huge over the next several months. Malik Rosier redshirted this past season but often drew praise on the scout team, such as when he emulated the Georgia Tech quarterback when Miami was preparing for him back in October.

Incoming: The Canes signed just one player in its 2015 class and it was Evan Shirreffs, a lightly-recruited player from the state of Georgia. The Canes made a late run at two of the top dual-threat prospects in South Florida but they both signed elsewhere. Shirreffs is a developmental prospect, someone who likely won't be ready to win the job right away but has some nice upside to his game.

What to expect in 2015: Kaaya did not arrive until last summer but he still beat out more experienced guys and ended up having a strong freshman season. From that standpoint, there's every reason to believe he'll be even better as a sophomore in 2015. The question marks, however, are the players surrounding him. Kaaya had the luxury of being protected by a left tackle that will be a high draft pick. His tight end should be the first player drafted at his position. His top wide receiver was the fastest player in college football in 2014. His running back was the school's all-time leading rusher. All four of those players will be replaced in 2015 so the players surrounding Kaaya won't be nearly as proven. It'll be interesting to see how well Kaaya develops under Coley over the next seven months.



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