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Miami loses two backup quarterbacks

8/25/2009

Posted by ESPN.com's Heather Dinich

It's true -- Miami backup quarterbacks Taylor Cook and Cannon Smith have both decided to transfer, putting the Hurricanes in an even more precarious situation at the position.

That leaves the Canes with freshman A.J. Highsmith and senior walk-on Matt Perrelli as the top backups to Jacory Harris. Highsmith has played well this summer and was rated the No. 24 quarterback in his recruiting class by ESPN.com. His father, Alonzo, was a running back at Miami from 1983-86 and in the NFL for several years, so obviously there is some heritage there, not to mention expectations. Perrelli has been Matt Bosher's holder since he was in high school and was preparing for the same role again.

This is obviously a pretty big hit for Miami, considering not one, but two quarterbacks decided to go. Cook's departure is significant because he was on the scout team last year, he was in the system, and following the spring had been named the No. 2 quarterback. Highsmith, as good as he is or might be, has only been on campus about a month. It's critical to the success of the program that Harris stays healthy, but the same can be said for several other teams throughout the ACC. And let's be honest -- when it comes to experience, Miami is no worse off than it was with Smith and Cook on the roster. Cook had yet to take a snap in a collegiate game and Smith's college stat line was 1-for-1 for two yards and one carry for two yards last year against Charleston Southern. Look no further than Maryland for a similar situation at quarterback. Or Virginia Tech.

What makes Miami's situation a little different is the long-term effect on the depth these transfers will have. That makes three quarterbacks who have left the program since the 2008 season ended, including former starter Robert Marve. Harris and Highsmith are now the only scholarship quarterbacks on the roster. Harris might very well be the future of Miami football, but so is their recruiting, and right now, only one quarterback -- local Stephen Morris -- is in the 2010 class.

Not only do the Canes have to bring more in, they've got to start keeping them.