Advertisement
  1. Sports
  2. /
  3. Florida State Seminoles

Miami Hurricanes: Even Jarren Williams was a little surprised he earned the starting job

Teammate on the ’Canes’ new quarterback: “He can throw the ball just perfect. Just perfect.”
Miami quarterback Jarren Williams signals from the sideline during the second half of an NCAA college football game against Pittsburgh, Saturday, Nov. 24, 2018, in Miami Gardens, Fla. Miami won 24-3. (AP Photo/Lynne Sladky)
Published Aug. 13

CORAL GABLES — For most of the offseason, Jarren Williams seemed like Miami’s third-string quarterback. When USA Today examined the Hurricanes’ battle a week ago, he wasn’t even considered an option; only Tate Martell and N’Kosi Perry were.

But there Williams was with a crowd of reporters surrounding him Tuesday on media day, a day after Miami announced the redshirt freshman will make his first career start next week against Florida. Tight end Brevin Jordan walked by to serenade him with a chant of QB1 — a title that caught Williams slightly off guard.

“When they told me, it was, like, a surprise,” Williams said. “It was a very big moment for me.”

RELATED: Miami Hurricanes name Jarren Williams starting quarterback against Florida Gators

It was especially big considering what happened last year. Williams played in only one game, attempting three passes and rushing for a garbage-time touchdown against Savannah State.

He was easy to overlook on the quarterback depth chart. Martell has sky-high potential, which is why he orally committed to Washington at age 14 and signed with Ohio State before transferring to Miami in the offseason. Perry was the most experienced option after starting six games for the ’Canes last year.

But Williams was no slouch, either. He was a blue-chip recruit, a U.S. Army All-American and a big get for Mark Richt. Teammates and coaches rave about the passing ability of the 6-foot-2, 210-pound Georgia native.

“He can throw the ball just perfect,” said tight end Larry Hodges, a Jesuit High product. “Just perfect.”

Welcome to the U, and all the attention that entails, Jarren Williams. (MATT BAKER | Times)

RELATED: Jesuit’s Larry Hodges newest addition to Tight End U

“There’s throwers, and there’s passers,” offensive coordinator Dan Enos said. “Throwers throw the ball same trajectory, same speed. Jarren showed the ability to be a passer, to change speeds, arm angles, showed touch, showed arm strength when he needed, too. Jarren did it the most consistently.”

That showed up Saturday in what proved to be the turning point in the months-long competition.

Coach Manny Diaz said Williams has great arm talent, but what separated him from Martell and Perry was his feel for the game as a passer. His instincts were sharp, which is why he graded out at 88 percent in Saturday’s second scrimmage.

“Ultimately that was the deciding factor,” Diaz said.

Diaz and Enos began finalizing their choice Sunday. On Monday, they called in every quarterback individually to let them know their decision.

“I’ve got to kick it up a notch,” Williams said. “Knowing I’m the guy now, it comes with a lot of responsibility.”

It could also come with side effects given the nature of the transfer portal. A report from 247Sports said Martell wasn’t at practice Monday, but he was working with the rest of the team Tuesday. Neither Perry nor Martell were available to reporters at media day.

Does Diaz expect Perry and Martell to remain at Miami to compete for the still-undecided No. 2 job?

“I hope so,” Diaz said.

Eight months ago, there were similar questions about Williams.

He was frustrated after playing sparingly in his first year, and he, too, reportedly considered transferring in December — not that he wanted to talk about it Tuesday.

RELATED: We ranked every 2019 college football game involving Florida teams

“I don’t look back at all,” Williams said.

He doesn’t need to now, nor does he need to look over his shoulder.

The job is his.

GameDay coming

ESPN announced College GameDay will air from the Magic Kingdom before the Aug. 24 Miami-Florida game at Orlando’s Camping World Stadium. Walt Disney World will become the 85th site for the traveling show.

Contact Matt Baker at mbaker@tampabay.com. Follow @MBakerTBTimes.

ALSO IN THIS SECTION

  1. Tampa Bay Buccaneers cornerback Vernon III Hargreaves kneels in the end zone after the Seattle Seahawks defeated his team in overtime in an NFL football game, Sunday, Nov. 3, 2019, in Seattle. (AP Photo/John Froschauer) JOHN FROSCHAUER  |  AP
    Sports Day Tampa Bay podcast: It’s a mailbag episode, with answers on Jameis Winston’s future, Lavonte David’s season, Mike Evans’ plight, Kevin Cash’s third-place finish and Charlie Strong’s job...
  2. Florida State head coach Willie Taggart, right, disagrees with the referee in the first half of his final game with the Seminoles, Nov. 2 against Miami in Tallahassee. MARK WALLHEISER  |  AP
    There are reasons to think quick hooks and mid-season dismissals are the new norm.
  3. Miami quarterback Jarren Williams (15) scrambles as he is rushed by Louisville linebacker Dorian Etheridge (17) during the second half in Miami Gardens. Williams set a school record with six touchdown passes as Miami defeated Louisville 52-27. WILFREDO LEE  |  AP
    The Hurricanes quarterback has a field day in a 52-27 win over Louisville.
  4. Florida State interim head coach Odell Haggins gets a hug from linebacker Jaleel McRae after his team beat Boston College on Saturday in Boston. BILL SIKES  |  AP
    The Seminoles rally from a first-half deficit, surge ahead, watch the Eagles tie the score, then pull ahead for good in the final two minutes.
  5. In this 1987 file photo, Deion Sanders stands on the field during a game against the Florida Gators in Gainesville. ALLEN DEAN STEELE  |  Tampa Bay Times
    Roundtable: Was this just Friday afternoon internet clickbait or an idea worth Seminole consideration?
  6. Quarterback Kyle Trask threw for 257 yards and got the Gators back in the game vs. Georgia in the second half, but Florida lost 24-17. OCTAVIO JONES  |  Times
    The last three times Florida lost to Georgia, the Gators lost the next game by double digits.
  7. In this Dec. 2, 2017, file photo, Florida State interim head coach Odell Haggins watches the team warm up before a game against Louisiana Monroe in Tallahassee. Now he finds himself as the interim coach again just two seasons later. MARK WALLHEISER  |  AP
    Haggins has been at FSU through the highs of two national titles and the last three years of lows.
  8. Former Florida State football player Deion Sanders, left, joins Head Coach Willie Taggart prior to the start of the spring game action Saturday at Doak Campbell Stadium in Tallahassee in 2018. COLIN HACKLEY  |  COLIN HACKLEY
    NFL Network’s Ian Rapoport and Mike Garafolo reported the development Thursday night.
  9. Quarterback Jameis Winston and the Bucs play their first home game in 49 days at 1 p.m. Sunday against the Arizona Cardinals. Times
    Sports Day Tampa Bay podcast: Can Jameis Winston make the Bucs’ welcome-home game a success?
  10. LSU quarterback Joe Burrow (9) passes in the first half against Florida in Baton Rouge, La., on Oct. 12, 2019. BILL FEIG  |  AP
    Bill Clinton once took a nap on Nick Saban’s couch. No, really.
Advertisement
Advertisement
Advertisement