Hurricanes are eyeing more potential quarterback options. And Highsmith meets with James

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Hurricanes are eyeing more potential quarterback options. And Highsmith meets with James

Post by admin » Sat Jan 11, 2020 5:14 am

A six-pack of Miami Hurricanes notes on a Friday (please scroll to bottom for an Alonzo Highsmith update):

▪ The next three weeks will be the most important of this Hurricanes offseason because Miami will get clarity about whether it will be able to achieve one of its biggest goals: Remake the quarterback room.

The Canes are eyeing multiple grad transfer quarterbacks in portal — led by Wake Forest’s Jamie Newman (Georgia is reportedly the front-runner) and Stanford’s KJ Costello — but they also appear to be interested in one who isn’t yet in the portal: Houston’s D’Eriq King.

When King last spoke to reporters last season, he said he intended to return to the Cougars for his senior season.

But rumors have persisted that he might leave as a grad transfer, and several Canes fans noticed this week when he started following UM offensive Rhett Lashlee on Twitter. (Lashlee previously followed King.)

King is one of only six quarterbacks in FBS history to account for 50 touchdowns in a season and one of three to throw for 35 and rush for 14 in a single season. He redshirted this past season after playing in four games.

An elite recruit who committed to his hometown Houston Cougars, King had a remarkable 2018 season, throwing for 36 touchdowns and six interceptions, completing 63.5 percent of his passes while passing for 2982 yards and running for 674 and 14 touchdowns.

He had six touchdowns, two interceptions, 663 yards passing and 312 yards rushing in four games this past season.

If he decides to transfer, he immediately jumps to the top of the list of available QBs.

Here’s UM’s challenge: Georgia (which is reportedly in line to get Newman), Oregon and LSU will be hard to beat for any of these top grad transfers because they’re ready to compete now for a national title and can sell themselves that way to one-year QB options.

But Lashlee’s prolific offensive numbers at SMU should at least make these players give consideration to UM.

One potential grad transfer quarterback option came off the board Thursday night when Texas Tech’s Jett Duffey announced he will enroll at Tulane.

Among other grad transfer options: UF’s Feleipe Franks and Boston College’s Anthony Brown (UM has reached out).

Lashlee said in two interviews this week that UM needs more consistency from the position and didn’t refer to any of the returning quarterbacks by name, but said all of them will get a clean slate.

UM also is looking for grad transfers to play for the quarterbacks, with Vanderbilt starting left tackle Devin Cochran among Miami’s targets.

▪ According to Rivals, UM already has offered at least one Class of 2021 quarterback: California-based four-star Miller Moss, who plans to visit UM next spring. But Miami has tough competition: homestate options UCLA and USC, Michigan and Alabama, among others.

He’s rated by Rivals as the 74th best player and seventh-best pro style QB in the 2021 class, though he does have the attributes needed to play in Lashlee’s spread.

▪ Per 247 sports, UM this weekend will host Temple grad transfer Quincy Roche, a coveted pass rusher who also is considering UF, North Carolina and Georgia Tech, among others.

If UM can land Roche, the Canes would have arguably the best pass-rushing end combo in America, with Greg Rousseau and Roche. Roche was seventh in the country with 13 sacks and Rousseau second with 15.5.

▪ UM hasn’t announced if there will be any changes to its coaching staff. But if there is a change on the offensive line, an Auburn official said to keep an eye on JB Grimes, a 30-year coach who resigned as Auburn’s offensive line coach in recent days to pursue other opportunities. Grimes previously worked with Lashlee.

That Auburn official said he believes Grimes would be either go to Miami or retire.

The offensive assistant coaches last season, beyond offensive coordinator Dan Enos, were offensive line coach Butch Barry, receivers coach Taylor Stubblefield, tight end coach Stephen Field and running backs coach Eric Hickson.

▪ UM is pursuing several Class of 2020 cornerbacks, hoping to add at least one. They’ve made offers to three-star Georgia-based Jamorri Colson, three-star Louisiana-based Daran Branch (a Mississippi oral commitment and previous UM commitment) and no-star Texas based Edric Whitley (Mississippi and UNLV have also offered, per 247).

▪ Former UM fullback Realus George, who played sparingly last season, transferred to Independence Community College in Kansas, where he will transition to outside linebacker and defensive end.

FRIDAY EVENING NEWS

▪ A day after indicating that he would not be taking a job at UM, former Hurricanes great Alonzo HIghsmith met with UM athletic director Blake James on Friday, according to Canesport report that I confirmed independently. And the possibility of Highsmith taking a job with the Canes is once again alive.

Highsmith and James both declined to comment on Friday evening.

Highsmith told The Miami Herald on Thursday that the door had been closed to a possible job at UM. But a source close to Highsmith said a wealthy donor had offered to pay Highsmith’s salary under certain circumstances and that donor has continued imploring James to give Highsmith a job that carries weight.

That donor, and at least one influential Board of Trustee member, want Highsmith to get a job that would carry some authority inside the football program and the ability to make tangible changes he deemed necessary.

James has been reluctant to hire Highsmith, or anyone, for a general manager type job because he doesn’t want Manny Diaz to feel like someone is looking over his shoulder. But as we’ve reported, James and Diaz and Highsmith have continued to discuss Highsmith taking a role as chief of staff, perhaps with more responsibilities than that job typically carries.

Both Diaz and James have indicated to Highsmith that they’re open to a chief of staff type role, but as of Thursday that type of job and salary did not appeal to Highsmith, according to a Highsmith associate. But it remains possible that the sides could reach a compromise amid Friday’s meeting.

Highsmith remains employed by the Cleveland Browns in a vice president/personnel role. The Cleveland Plain Dealer has reported that Highsmith is likely to move on after last week’s firing of Browns general manager John Dorsey.

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