CORAL GABLES — Jarren Williams committed to Miami in 2017, then spent 2018 waiting for playing time that never came.
In 2019, his turn has arrived.
The Hurricanes have decided on their starting quarterback — and Williams got the nod, beating out incumbent starter N’Kosi Perry and highly touted Ohio State transfer Tate Martell for the job. Miami coach Manny Diaz made the announcement Monday, saying he still believes that the Hurricanes can win with any of those three quarterbacks.
“However, we feel like Jarren has the greatest upside due to his passing ability, his instincts and his determination,” Diaz said.
Williams appeared in just one game for Miami last season, completing one of three passes and rushing for a short touchdown. In a statement distributed by the school, Williams said “it means the world” to be Miami’s starter.
“Having the opportunity to lead this team is the opportunity of a lifetime and I am going to take full advantage of it,” Williams said.
The competition between Perry and Martell is still open for the backup spot, and Diaz said that will continue as the team prepares for its Aug. 24 season-opener against Florida. But getting a starter picked solves one of the major riddles that Diaz and new offensive coordinator Dan Enos have been facing over the past several months.
“All three guys showed tremendous improvement and development, which is a credit to their hard work and the work of Dan Enos and his offensive staff,” Diaz said.
Miami desperately needs upgraded performance in the passing game this season.
The Hurricanes finished last season with only 19 touchdown passes and 2,175 passing yards — the program’s lowest total in 11 years. Out of 130 FBS schools nationally, Miami ranked 108th in passing yards and 118th in completion percentage in 2018.
“I think I’ve progressed a lot under coach Enos,” Williams said. “Being able to go out there and get meaningful reps with the 1s and really get the speed of the game down and get chemistry together is so important. I feel like it is night and day if you watched from the spring until now. I feel like I have gotten a lot better, but my goal is perfection and I am still striving for that.”
Perry split time with now-graduated Malik Rosier at quarterback for Miami last season. Martell transferred in from Ohio State, where he completed 23 of 28 passes a year ago.