University of Miami head coach Manny Diaz spoke to reporters Friday about Dan Enos, his new hire as the Hurricanes’ offensive coordinator and quarterbacks coach.
And, naturally, the subject of UM’s current quarterbacks arose — as well as soon-to-be Alabama graduate transfer quarterback Jalen Hurts, who was coached by ‘Bama’s Enos this past season.
Hurts on Friday was set to visit Maryland, where former Alabama offensive coordinator Mike Locksley just became head coach. Then, according to CaneSport.com, Hurts will visit UM’s Coral Gables campus as early as Sunday.
Diaz was asked if he were concerned that one of the current Miami quarterbacks — rising redshirt sophomores N’Kosi Perry and Cade Weldon, and redshirt freshman Jarren Williams — might transfer if Miami brings in another signal caller.
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“No,’’ Diaz said. “I’m excited about them coming and competing. I think they all know that they have a clean slate. I think they know that they’ll be evaluated on really what they do going forward. I said all along we are looking for the solution. If the solution is in Coral Gables, then that’s fantastic. If the solution is outside Coral Gables, then that’s fantastic.
“If bringing someone from the outside spurs one of our guys to bring his level to where they can uphold the standard of being the quarterback at the University of Miami, outstanding.
“This is an equal-opportunity employer. We do not care who plays quarterback for us. But we do care that it’s played at the standard that the great ones that have come before have set.’’
This season, Hurts, a backup to Heisman Trophy runner-up Tua Tagovailoa, completed 51 of 70 passes (72.9 percent) for 765 yards and eight touchdowns, with only two interceptions. He added 167 yards and two touchdowns on 36 carries.
His career passing numbers numbers: 445 of 707 (62.9) for 5,626 yards and 48 touchdowns, with 12 interceptions. As a true freshman in 2016, he was SEC Player of the Year. In three years he gained 1,976 yards rushing and 23 touchdowns on 381 carries (5.2 yards a carry).
Hurts was a big reason Alabama played in the College Football Playoff national title game the past three seasons. In 2018, he came off the bench to lead the Crimson Tide to a comeback victory in the SEC title game after Tagovailoa injured his ankle.
The Canes’ quarterback situation in 2018 was chaotic and controversial.
Perry started six games and finished 97 of 191 (50.8) for 1,091 yards and 13 touchdowns, with six interceptions. He added 169 yards and one touchdown on 61 carries. His season was marred by social media-fueled scandals — one pertaining to a video of him flashing wads of money and the other related to a sexually explicit video.
Weldon played sparingly in four games, completing two of three passes for 14 yards. He scored one touchdown rushing.
Williams, a highly touted four-star recruit out of Central Gwinnett High in Georgia, only played in one game, completing one of three passes for 17 yards. He had two carries, one of them for a 1-yard touchdown.
The other starter, Malik Rosier, has graduated and won’t be back.
It’s safe to say that Enos had plenty of experience handling a sensitive quarterbacks competition at Alabama. Hurts was benched at halftime of last year’s national title game (2017 season) and never started again at Alabama, despite going 26-2 as a starter.
On Friday, Diaz was asked about Hurts’ interest in Miami.
“Like I mentioned before, I can’t comment on any one player specifically,’’ Diaz said. “But I told you in the press conference, we’re going to look from Miami to Maine, from Los Angeles to Seattle — and anywhere beyond— for the players that can help us play quarterback.”
As for UM’s QBs, Diaz said, “We’ve got to get those guys to maximize their potential and find out how really good they are. We’ve seen the glimpses of what they really can be. ...Everybody wants to talk about quarterback. We know we have to get that fixed.’’