The 2007 season resulted in a disaster for the Hurricanes at the position. The season began with Freeman as the starting quarterback, however, after going 12-for-28 for 98 yards while throwing for one touchdown and one interception in his first two games, Freeman was sit for the former incumbent, Wright, who played well in limited time versus Oklahoma, leading the Hurricanes to their only touchdown.
At the end of a rollercoaster season at the position that saw Freeman and Wright trade starts throughout the season, the Hurricanes finished 108th in the country in passing – a far cry from the days of gridiron greatness from a program that produced Heisman winners and NFL All-Pros at the position since the 1980's. With the passing of one of the worst seasons for Hurricane football fans in recent memory, a renewed sense of optimism is found in what will be one of the youngest situations at the quarterback position in the country.
The lone returning quarterback for the Hurricanes is Florida's Mr. Football 2006, Plant High School's (Tampa, FL), Robert Marve. The son of former National Football League linebacker Eugene Marve, Robert possesses a blend of mobility and grit with a quick release. The 2007 season saw Marve in a summer car accident that left his season a wash after injuring his hand in the crash. All reports indicate that Marve is ready to go and has been since the end of the season.
Marve (6-foot-1, 185 pounds) spent most of his 2007 season working with the scout team, and working extra hours after practice developing a relationship with center Tyler Horn and receivers Jermaine McKenzie, Daniel Adderley, Khalil Jones, and graduating senior Darnell Jenkins. The hard worked has paid off, as Marve is expected to enter the spring as the favorite at the position. However, he does have the task of competing against two worthy competitors.
Harris (6-foot-4, 170 pounds) was named Florida's Mr. Football in 2007 after leading Miami (Fla.) Northwestern High School to a 6A State Championship in 2007. Harris went 30-0 over his career with the Bulls while breaking county records including Marve's season touchdown mark and breaking the yardage, touchdowns, and TD:INT ratio in the county as a junior. Needless to say, Harris is well accomplished and should not be forgotten at the quarterback position. He brings to the table a dual threat skill set and accurate arm. He is known as a team leader and has been an ambassador to the University before even enrolling this spring. The homegrown product is believed to be the leading competition for Marve to open the 2008 season as the team's starting quarterback.
Smith comes in as the top prep school quarterback in 2007. His tough, gritty style at quarterback is a breath of fresh air for Hurricane fans. He was considered one of the smartest quarterbacks coming out of the prep ranks and has a long line of experience at numerous high schools being productive at each one. He is expected to provide competition, but don't be surprised if he shocks a lot of people throughout the spring with his intangibles. He could be one of the surprises during the spring. His experience playing with elite level talent while at Hargrave Military Academy (Va.) shouldn't be overlooked.
Overall, the Hurricanes bring in a wealth of inexperience at the quarterback position into the spring. However, it does not lack talent. The three scholarship quarterbacks on campus should provide one of the most entertaining position battles not only throughout the spring, but throughout the entire off-season. All bring their own unique approach to the game and have the drive to become the starter and excel at the collegiate level. Despite the praise, there are questions at the position. The learning curve for the position will be short as they will be thrown into the fire early and often and will be tested. It isn't often you see freshmen quarterbacks enter the spring as the favorite to win the position, nevermind only fielding freshmen at the position.
Breaking down the position:
Tallest - Jacory Harris…6'4".
Most Mobile - Jacory Harris and Robert Marve…both bring a blend of mobility and passing skills.
Experience No quarterback on the roster has taken a collegiate snap.
Most Accomplished - Both Harris and Marve are considered of the best quarterbacks to come out of the state of Florida. Both are highly decorated high school stars.
Don't sleep on…Cannon Smith…his experience should take him far in the competition at quarterback. While he isn't expected to pull away and win the starting job, he should push the potential back up for time and may even come away with the spot himself.