TAMPA — Even if former Plant High standout Robert Marve doesn't beat out Jacory Harris to win the job as Miami's starting quarterback, rest assured he will get on the field. Often.
"We feel like whichever quarterback we name, we're going to play the other one (too)," Hurricanes coach Randy Shannon said during the Florida Sports Writers Association College Football Media Days on Thursday. "We need depth at every position on the field, and that's one position that we don't feel like we've got depth at because we're young. They're good quarterbacks, but they're young."
Marve, a redshirt freshman, led Plant to the 2006 Class 4A championship as a senior and was the state's Mr. Football. He has a powerful arm and throws with pinpoint accuracy while on the run, as he showed by shattering several single-season state records set by future Heisman Trophy winner Tim Tebow of Florida.
Harris, a true freshman who enrolled in January, was Mr. Football last year and led Miami Northwestern to a Class 6A state title and the USA Today national title. He has been likened to another Heisman winner, Ohio State's former dual-threat quarterback Troy Smith. Oh yeah, with 49 touchdown passes last season, Harris surpassed Marve's record (48).
The Hurricanes also signed quarterback Cannon Smith, who spent last season at Hargrave Military Academy in Chatham, Va., and, like Harris, enrolled early and participated in the spring practice.
In the spring, Marve showed no effects of the injury to his left (nonthrowing) arm in the July 2007 car accident that caused him to redshirt last season.
"It's really a peculiar situation … Miami finds itself in with two outstanding freshmen quarterbacks," said Marve's father, Eugene, a former NFL linebacker with Buffalo, San Diego and Tampa Bay. "I have concerns about the situation and will have a careful eye on it. … Both of those guys are very, very capable, and both of them deserve the opportunity to develop, and the only way you develop is by playing. But I have confidence in Coach Shannon. That's why I encouraged Robert to go to Miami."
Shannon stressed that there won't be a "platoon" system; he's not going to lift his quarterback at a specific time of the game. The goal is to make sure Marve and Harris both gain experience.
If not and something unforeseen happens, "like it always does in football," Shannon said, then the Hurricanes would face "starting all over again playing with a freshman who hasn't gotten any reps."
That wouldn't be good for any team.
That especially wouldn't be good for a team coming off a 5-7 season.
"Each one of those quarterbacks has been in tough situations in high school; that's something I really like about them," Shannon said. "At Plant … Robert came in in the ninth grade and he had to go through a process. You talk about Jacory and he had to go through a process."
Neither, he said, would transfer if he's not the starter.
"They're competitors," Shannon said, adding that Marve and Harris seemingly have forged a unique bond. "These two guys here, when you see one, you see the other one. They go out to eat together. They're watching film together. … They know that no matter who's the guy who's … the (starting) quarterback, they know they're going to be a part of something special."
Times staff writer Eduardo A. Encina contributed to this report. Brian Landman can be reached at email@example.com or (813) 226-3347.