The redshirt freshman Williams beat out Ohio State transfer Tate Martell and sophomore N’Kosi Perry for the job
Jarren Williams, the University of Miami quarterback with least amount of experience among the three players vying for the spot, will open the season as the Hurricanes new starter.
Coach Manny Diaz announced the decision Monday after evaluating Saturday’s scrimmage, the team’s second of camp. Miami opens the season Aug. 24 against Florida in Orlando.
"We feel like Jarren has the greatest upside due to his passing ability, his instincts and his determination," Diaz said. "As we move into preparation for the Florida game we will continue the competition to determine who will serve as the backup quarterback."
Williams, a 6-foot-2, 210-pound redshirt freshman from Lawrenceville, Ga., beat out redshirt sophomore N’Kosi Perry, who started six games a year ago, and Ohio State transfer Tate Martell, also a redshirt sophomore. Williams has played in one game and attempted three passes in his career.
"It means the world," said Williams, who reportedly looked into transferring last season because of unhappiness over his lack of playing time under then former coach Mark Richt.
"This is something that I’ve always strived for growing up. It’s been my dream since I was a kid. When I was six years old, I used to sit in front of the TV and watch Michael Vick play. That’s a dream I have always had and I’ve strived for it. Having the opportunity to lead this team is the opportunity of a lifetime and I am going to take full advantage of it."
Diaz was not complimentary toward the offense following Saturday’s scrimmage, which was closed to the media and public. His said the offense received a "butt-whooping" in the first half.
"Very disappointing in the way that you started to see the ‘far away’ look in some guys on the offense, things we’re trying to eradicate from our program," he said. "We had a feeling the disease wasn’t fully cured. "
He said the production picked up in the second half with Williams being the only quarterback he mentioned.
Williams expressed confidence on Friday that he would win the job.
"I feel like I’m a tough guy, I have passion, I feel like I have the intangibles to really be that guy," he said. "I feel like I’ve been doing a good job. Of course, I have mistakes here and there. But my main thing is learning from it, going back and watching what I did wrong and fixing mistakes so I don’t make the same mistakes next time.
"You’ve got one shot and when I get my shot, I’m going to be prepared for it," Williams said. "When I get the opportunity, I am going to make sure I do what I do."
Perry had an uneven season in 2018, completing just 50.8 percent of his passes while throwing for 1,091 yards 13 touchdowns and six interceptions.
Martell never has lived up to his billing as the No 2 ranked dual threat quarterback in the country coming out of Bishop Gorman High School in Las Vegas in 2017. Martell put his name in the transfer portal after Justin Fields transferred to Ohio State from Georgia.
Martell had difficulty getting comfortable in new coordinator Dan Enos’ offense and was not sharp for most of the practices open for media viewing. He sat out his first year at Ohio State and played in six games, throwing 28 passes last season.
Williams is a former U.S. Army All-American and consensus four-star recruit.
"I feel like I’m an elite passer," Williams said when asked what he brings to the offense. "I can make all the throws, even in tight windows. What a lot of people don’t know is that I can extend plays with my feet. I’m not a slow guy. I can tuck the ball and get 15 yards. I can make a guy miss, but I am a pass-first guy. I stand in the pocket and trust the pocket and get the ball to my receivers."
Said Diaz: "Obviously Jarren is a gifted passer. He has learned, I think, the maturity that comes with being the starting quarterback at a place like Miami. He is becoming more and more comfortable with the offense. Jarren is a better athlete than, I think, people give him credit for … all the reasons he was recruited to come here in the first place."