Rosier is Ready for Action
By David Villavicencio
CORAL GABLES, Fla. – Malik Rosier came to Miami to play football.
The Mobile, Ala., native chose to attend the University of Miami for a variety of reasons. Rosier was attracted to The U because it offered an outstanding education, had a rich football tradition and a picturesque campus set in paradise.
While Miami offered Rosier an array of attractive opportunities, Rosier ultimately was most excited about the chance to wear a ‘U’ on his helmet and get under center for the Hurricanes like so many great Miami quarterbacks before him.
“It’s a great history,” Rosier said. “Me and Brad [Kaaya] still communicate every day. That’s one of my best friends, him and David [Njoku]. We still talk. We talk about NFL stuff, we talk about college. He’s still helping me out. It’s different going from being a back-up behind Brad to actually starting now. He’s still helping me out. It’s huge to follow the legacy of great quarterbacks.”
On Tuesday, Rosier learned he had earned that right, as Hurricanes’ head football coach Mark Richt named him the starting quarterback.
“When he told us, we were kind of just in meetings,” Rosier said. “He said, ‘I’m doing it now for you guys first, since you guys are the guys who are competing.’ He was just like, ‘Malik, I’m naming you my starter.’ He said, ‘Evan [Shirreffs], you’re my second string.’ He told Cade [Weldon] and N’Kosi [Perry] to keep battling, keep learning and keep doing what they’ve been doing the whole camp. For me, it was a very energizing feeling to know that Coach Richt has enough trust in me to name me the starter for Week 1.”
The news still has not really sunk in for Rosier, who has been focused on practice and the start of the fall semester since learning that he will be the starter when the Hurricanes open the 2017 season at home against Bethune-Cookman on Sept. 2. The redshirt junior impressed Richt, not just with his play, but with his maturity and development.
“Coach Richt and I had a private session after our meeting,” Rosier said. “And he said, ‘I’m proud of you. When I first came here, I didn’t think you’d ever play for me.’ I took that to heart because I’d never want a coach to say that to me. And then he said, ‘After this last year, I have seen you grow and become a totally different quarterback. I have faith in you and I have trust in you.’ He told all of us, ‘It’s nothing personal. I think all of you can lead this team.’ He believes in all of these guys. I just think he has faith in me right now and that’s why he picked me to be the quarterback.”
Rosier won a tight battle with Shirreffs thanks in large part to his consistency. Offensive coordinator Thomas Brown praised Rosier for his ability to repeatedly produce the same positive result.
“I think Malik did a really good job of being consistent,” Brown said. “Kind of [beginning] Day 1 from the spring, talking about the guys competing and being the same guy every single day and put our offense in the best spot to be successful, and also take care of the football. He did a great job of that.”
Beyond his ability to run the offense, Brown sees strong leadership qualities in Rosier and that is always an important trait in a quarterback.
“I think he’s a really good leader,” Brown said. “I think the guys respond to him well. I think he has a great personality. I think he speaks up and is vocal in the huddle. Those guys respond well to him.”
Miami receiver Darrell Langham, who was in the same signing class as Rosier, has seen his teammate take command of the huddle and earn the trust and respect of his teammates.
“In the huddle, he is telling us what to do, telling us that ‘we got this’, to push,” Langham said. “Even when things are going bad, he’s the one leading us through the whole thing.”
Rosier seemingly always has a smile on his face and has a great relationship with his teammates. While he is a positive person, he also knows when he needs to push himself and others to be their best.
“Malik is funny, that’s the biggest thing I would say,” offensive lineman Tyree St. Louis said. “Malik is a funny guy. He is a very big team player, he’s not lazy. He doesn’t let anyone slack off on or off the field. He always tries to hold everyone accountable.”
Even players on the defensive side of the ball, like linebacker Shaquille Quarterman, have seen Rosier elevate his game and earn his place atop the quarterback depth chart.
“I’m glad,” Quarterman said. I’m proud of him and happy for him. I think with him we are going in the right direction. Anybody Coach Richt would have picked would take us in the right direction. I definitely have confidence in him.”
Rosier felt the support of his teammates when he stepped on the practice field as the starter for the first time on Tuesday. The Hurricanes have rallied behind their newly anointed starting quarterback and that has given Rosier added confidence heading into the start of the season.
“I just felt camaraderie,” Rosier said. “It was kind of weird, because I even asked, ‘Coach, what’s the rotation for quarterbacks?’ and he was like, ‘Malik, you’re with the ones’ and I was like, ‘Oh, okay Coach.’ It was one of those things we kind of joked about. The guys, they just stayed with me, stayed around me, and they helped me out through the whole way. It was nice.”
“The big thing I want to say is thanks to [my teammates],” Rosier said. “N’Kosi [Perry] gave me a shoutout on Instagram, that was huge love. The first person to actually tell me congratulations was Evan Shirreffs, which means so much to me, and Mark [Walton] and Braxton [Berrios]. All the guys came around me and that’s the big thing – making sure whosever in there at quarterback, that the guys supported him. I think the biggest congratulations besides Brad [Kaaya] was Edgerrin James. He actually hit me up, telling me congratulations and that he’ll see me and talk to me soon. I also had Gino Torretta hit me up on Twitter, he told me congratulations and that if I have any questions, that he would help me out as well. So just some of the older guys coming back and helping me out. That means the world to me, that they’re still here to support us.”
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.