Miami Names Rosier Starting Quarterback
By David Villavicencio
CORAL GABLES, Fla. – University of Miami head football coach Mark Richt announced redshirt junior Malik Rosier as the Hurricanes’ starting quarterback on Tuesday.
“Malik has been named the starting quarterback,” Richt said. “Evan [Shirreffs] is currently number two on the depth chart. The young guys, N’Kosi Perry and Cade Weldon, will continue to learn and compete.”
After evaluating the four quarterbacks throughout fall camp, Richt felt Rosier proved himself to be the best man for the job in what was a tight competition between the redshirt junior and Shirreffs.
“Focus, discipline and accuracy. He showed up focused every day on his job,” Richt said of Rosier. “He was disciplined in his fundamentals, his footwork, his reads, his passing fundamentals. And he was hitting his target. He did a very good job.”
“He did stand out above the rest,” Richt said. “It wasn’t an unbelievable amount, but it was apparent that he was having the best camp. Evan did extremely well. I felt like there was enough of a difference to feel comfortable that Malik is the guy. The young guys…they got to know what to do and own it for a while before they can really compete at a high level at that position.”
Richt informed the quarterbacks of his decision individually prior to the start of a meeting on Tuesday morning, but the news was broken to the team following the team stretching portion at the beginning of practice.
“Coach Richt brought everybody up after stretch today when we were on the field,” running back Mark Walton said. “It was news to everybody. The offense, we feel great about it. Like I’ve said before, whoever Coach announced the starting job for, any quarterback in the room, I would have been excited for them. I think Malik did a great job in this camp. I think he’s going to lead us in the right direction as a quarterback. I’m looking forward to him starting.”
Once the decision was made public to the team, the Hurricanes quickly showed support for their newly anointed starting quarterback.
“Everybody was excited for Malik,” Walton said. “Everybody was rooting him on and saying, ‘We’ve got a new quarterback.’ We started chanting, ‘Malik, Malik, Malik!’ It was great.”
Wide receiver Braxton Berrios arrived at Miami at the same time as Rosier and two have formed a close friendship. Berrios has seen Rosier develop tremendously since his true freshman season in 2014.
“His maturity, his decision making,” Berrios said of Rosier’s improvement. “He’s always had great athleticism, but in his younger years when he flustered or got rushed he would make bad decisions. In that aspect, he has grown tremendously.”
Rosier has appeared in 13 games with one career start, which came in a 30-27 win at No. 22 Duke in 2015. Rosier completed 20-of-29 passes for 272 yards and two touchdowns against the Blue Devils. The Mobile. Ala., native has thrown for 370 career yards and two touchdowns, and rushed for 63 career yards and one score.
“He showed us that he could do it,” Berrios said of Rosier’s performance at Duke. “He hadn’t been able to up to that point and he finally had a game in which he was walking in and was going to be the starting quarterback. He took a shot in the end zone – I think it was the first series – a perfect ball. From then on, he solidified the overall feeling that he can do this. He came out and had a tremendous camp, he really did.”
An All-ACC performer a year ago, Walton knows that he and his fellow playmakers on offense can help Rosier’s transition to the starting role if they perform when he gets them the ball.
“Whenever we have the opportunity to get the ball in our hands, we have to make that play for him,” Walton said. “We can make him look good and coordinate together. If he throws a pass to Ahmmon [Richards] or Braxton or whomever and they make a big play and go 90 yards, that makes him look good, too. We work off each other and make each other look better.”
While Rosier is the player Richt selected for the starting job, he credited Shirreffs for putting together a strong performance in fall camp. The veteran head coach liked how he and the other quarterbacks battled throughout camp and hopes they will continue to compete daily in practice.
“Evan is a great competitor,” Richt said. “Anytime you don’t get what you’re fighting for, it’s tough. I thought he handled it like a champion. He practiced like a champion. That’s the thing that I tell him – you keep competing. You keep playing. Last year, trying to decide who number two was, that thing changed about three times throughout the season. Who’s number two? There were times it was [Vincent] Testaverde. There were times it was Evan…that thing changed a little bit based on what you do on a daily basis. We watch everything they do. I loved the competition. They all gave their best. They all did it like gentlemen. I think they all showed they’re capable of running the system and being the starting quarterback here.”
Miami opens the season at home on Sept. 2 against Bethune-Cookman. Kickoff is set for 12:30 p.m., ET. Click here for ticket information.