Last month, it seemed as if everyone you knew, with the exception of Nick Saban and Odell Beckham Jr., grabbed special goggles to watch the solar eclipse. #Eclipse2017 was trending as the moon blocked out the Sun in one of life’s better spectacles, with free admission to boot.
A day later another eclipse—not gaining as much international attention as the natural phenomenon, yet just as important in the minds of Miami Hurricanes supporters across the globe—occurred when redshirt junior Malik Rosier was named the starting quarterback for the University of Miami. Stuck behind Brad Kaaya for two seasons, Rosier now has the opportunity to finally come out and shine just as brightly as his predecessor.
For his part, Rosier’s battle to sit atop the depth chart was an uphill fight. Although he split his time between playing baseball and football in the early portion of his collegiate career, his limited experience was still an asset in the competition to be Miami’s signal-caller. In fact, he had the most experience among the contenders: there’s film on him, and he started a game (one that ended in memorable fashion). Rosier battled throughout spring practices and summer camp to win the job. He even gave up his baseball career to dedicate himself to football and focus on the competition, an admirable effort by a student-athlete. Rosier did the right things this spring and performed well.
But many fans didn’t think that Rosier would be crowned the starter, as there were other options that could promise success. When Mark Richt left the door open on QB competition, insisting that N’Kosi Perry get a fair shot at winning the job, many fans awaited Perry’s arrival and eventual coronation as starting quarterback. While the coaches liked what they saw from Rosier and fellow veteran Evan Shirreffs, they still held out hope for Perry, a dynamic freshman who darts and dashes through defenders with ease and slings the ball effortlessly down the field. God bless Brad Kaaya, Stephen Morris, and Jacory Harris, but Perry brings the electricity to Miami’s offense with what he’s able to do with his feet.
As Richt stated about this competition at the beginning, it was not solely about potential—it was about the guy who can give the offense the best chance to score while also not producing costly errors. This past Tuesday Malik Rosier was awarded the starting job because he currently fits the job description. There likely won’t be a Heisman campaign built around him or analysts willing to heap praise on him before the Bethune-Cookman game, but Rosier puts Miami’s offense in the best position to let the playmakers excel.
One of the first questions many fans asked even before congratulating Rosier was, what’s to happen with Perry and Shirreffs? Perry is so dynamic that it is going to be hard to keep him away from the field. Cam Underwood wrote a wonderful article outlining various scenarios that can apply to Perry in the upcoming season. I’m not sure if Perry will get to start a game; however, it would not be shocking to see him in a sub-package as he gets familiar with the collegiate game. Regarding Shirreffs, being the backup is a tough but necessary role that someone has to play. Unlike Jack Allison, Shirreffs will likely remain loyal to the school that gave him a shot to play FBS football.
Now that the biggest question entering the season has been answered, it’s time to focus on the season and Miami’s campaign to live up to the lofty preseason expectations. Having surpassed his competition on the roster, Rosier looks to become more than just Kaaya’s backup. He has the opportunity to achieve a feat that evaded Kaaya: win the division and the ACC conference.