Miami’s Non-Stop Revolving Door
By Paul Myerberg // Nov 3, 2010
This story begins in the spring of 2003, when a much-ballyhooed freshman, Kyle Wright, enrolled at Miami (Fla.) a semester early in order to begin his ascension into the program’s pantheon of great quarterbacks. You know the names: Kelly, Kosar, Testaverde, Walsh, Torretta and Dorsey, among others. Wright had all the hype, he had the arm, he had all the goods — he just didn’t have the touch to be a good college quarterback. Or was coaching to blame? Whatever the reason — and each has his own hypothesis — Wright’s inability to live up to his potential was the first miss in a nearly-decade long series of missteps under center for Miami, which even in 2010 finds itself unable to locate the next sure thing at quarterback. This used to be a Miami birthright.
A simple look at each Miami roster since 2005 reveals the program’s inability to find a serviceable starter, let alone a competent set of reserves.
Kyle Wright, sophomore
Kirby Freeman, redshirt freshman
Jorge Fernandez, freshman
Trey Burklin, redshirt freshman
Matt Perrelli, freshman
Perrelli and Fernandez were not scholarship quarterbacks; the quarterback competition that fall came down to Wright and Freeman, with Wright coming out on top.
Kyle Wright, junior
Kirby Freeman, sophomore
According to the roster on the university’s Web site, we’re already seeing rampant attrition. The two true freshmen from 2005, Fernandez and Perrelli, were no longer listed on the roster. No more Burklin, who transferred to Coastal Carolina.
Kyle Wright, senior
Kirby Freeman, junior
Robert Marve, freshman
In a year when at least two quarterbacks needed to be added, the Hurricanes inked only one: Robert Marve. We know how that turned out. In Miami’s defense the 2007 in-state recruiting cycle was largely bereft of quarterbacks minus the top quartet, of which Marve was one.
Taylor Cook, freshman
Jacory Harris, freshman
Robert Marve, redshirt freshman
Cannon Smith, freshman
As part of his first full recruiting class, Randy Shannon signed three well-regarded quarterbacks. Harris was the star, as well as the point man behind Miami’s haul of prospects from Northwestern H.S., a local power. Harris and Marve would split time in 2008; Marve would transfer in 2009, citing a position battle that seemed heavily slanted in Harris’s favor.
Jacory Harris, sophomore
A.J. Highsmith, freshman
Matt Perrelli, senior
Perrelli’s back on the roster, though only for his duties as a holder. Highsmith is not a quarterback; he’s an athlete, one best suited for an offensive skill position or a spot in the defensive backfield. Taylor Cook is gone — he transferred to Rice. Smith moved to Memphis.
Jacory Harris, junior
A.J. Highsmith, sophomore
Stephen Morris, freshman
Spencer Whipple, junior
Even if we ignore how poorly Harris has played as a junior — it’s hard to ignore, but let’s try — it’s clear, once again, that Miami has badly botched its recruiting at quarterback. Highsmith is a non-factor. Whipple, a walk-on, threw as many interceptions — two — as completions to his own teammates in six attempts on Saturday.
Morris fared well in difficult circumstances against Virginia, but still completed only 9 of his 22 attempts; tossed a pair of interceptions; and was the beneficiary of some luck on his biggest play, a 60-yard touchdown pass to Travis Benjamin.
The quarterback situation at Miami is a disaster. It has been for the last six years. It seems that Shannon, despite his four years on the job — not to mention his decade of service as an assistant — has yet to discover that yes, there’s a reason quarterback is the most important position on the field.
Perhaps he can be excused for having three of his quarterback transfer in the span of only a few months. One can also say that if his quarterback recruits were better spaced out, preventing such a logjam on the depth chart, there’d be far less attrition. One can also say that Miami’s recent downturn — as evidenced by Saturday’s loss — can be attributed to continual failures at identifying, recruiting, signing and developing Miami-like players under center.
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