University of Miami quarterback Jarren Williams is transferring.
And after this week’s arrival of Houston graduate transfer quarterback star D’Eriq King, it appears it will really happen.
“First I want to start by saying that these decisions are never easy,’’ Williams posted Thursday night on Instagram. “But, after prayer and counsel, I have decided to enter my name into the transfer portal. I want to thank all my teammates for that everlasting brotherhood, the coaching staff for giving me an opportunity and the diehard fans for their support for UM.
“I came here with dreams of winning National Championships and my only regret is that I will not be able to achieve that goal. Life is a journey and in this world you will be confronted with a fork in the road. I am at that fork and sometimes you can’t look back. I am looking forward to what God has in store for me next. With that said, I wish UM all the best and a Championship year! #GOCANES.’’
The news of Williams, the soon-to-be redshirt sophomore who was a highly coveted four-star prospect out of Lawrenceville, Georgia’s Central Gwinnett High School, was first reported by Sports Illustrated columnist Pat Forde, then confirmed by the Miami Herald. The Associated Press also confirmed the news with a statement from Williams’ attorney, Thomas Mars.
Williams has had two eventful college seasons that reached the highest of highs and the lowest of lows.
Williams also intended to transfer in December 2018 after he felt he was overlooked and treated unfairly by former coach Mark Richt. But then-freshman tight end Brevin Jordan, who blossomed into a Mackey Award finalist this season, said he and another teammate convinced Williams to ‘just stay’ and ‘stick it out.’
“’We were telling him, ‘God puts his toughest warriors through the hardest battles,’’’ Jordan told reporters after Williams was announced as the winner of the starting quarterback battle in fall camp.
Williams’ departure would leave five quarterbacks on scholarship.
The quarterback who is the heavy favorite to win the starting job for 2020 is King, one of the most prolific quarterbacks in college football. King set the American Athletic Conference touchdowns-responsible-for-in-a-season record for Houston in 2018 with 50 — 36 passing and 14 rushing. In 2019, he also set the FBS record for most consecutive games (15) with a passing touchdown and running touchdown.
Additionally, rising redshirt junior N’Kosi Perry is the most experienced quarterback as a Miami player. Perry is a former multi-game starter who finished this past season 85 of 159 (53.5 percent) for 1,045 yards and eight touchdowns, with three interceptions. He was sacked 15 times.
The other UM scholarship signal callers: rising redshirt junior Tate Martell, who transferred from Ohio State in January 2018 and played in only one series this season as a quarterback; rising redshirt freshman Peyton Matocha, who has yet to get into a game; and four-star incoming true freshman Tyler Van Dyke of Suffield Academy in Connecticut.
Van Dyke will participate in spring practice because he has already enrolled and is in classes.
With Miami firing former offensive coordinator/quarterbacks coach Dan Enos a day after the Independence Bowl, recently hired coordinator/QB coach Rhett Lashlee will run an up-tempo, spread offense and was hopeful that a quarterback already in the transfer portal could help the Hurricanes. That quarterback now is likely King.
Williams, 20, broke a Hurricanes school record with six passing touchdowns Nov. 9 in a dominating 52-27 performance against Louisville. But he then ended the season with three poor performances against FIU, Duke and Louisiana Tech in the Independence Bowl, as the Canes (6-7, 4-4 Atlantic Coast Conference) lost all three games to what was universally regarded as inferior competition.
Williams’ 2019 numbers in 12 games, 10 of them starts: 169 of 276 (61.2 percent) for 2,187 yards and 19 touchdowns, with seven interceptions that came in three games (Virginia Tech, FIU and Louisiana Tech). He was not helped by a deficient offensive line, getting sacked 34 times.
In 2018, Williams played in only one game, completing 1 of 3 passes for 17 yards and rushing for a touchdown.
There were internal problems surrounding Williams as well. In 2018 he was suspended for the Virginia Tech game for violating unspecified team rules. This season, after Williams was a no-show for a Wednesday practice the week of the road game at Pittsburgh, he was replaced by usual backup N’Kosi Perry as the starter. He then came in during the fourth quarter to lead the Canes to the winning touchdown.
Williams also had his share of physical challenges during a season in which he was continually pummeled. He hurt his throwing shoulder early in the season, which undoubtedly took a toll, for instance, when he threw three interceptions in seven passes against Virginia Tech on Oct. 5.