Thursday, August 14, 2014
Final two emerge in Miami QB competition
By Jared Shanker
Miami has not named a starting quarterback, but coach Al Golden has whittled it to a final two.
Senior transfer Jake Heaps and true freshman Brad Kaaya are tied atop the first depth chart of preseason practice. A news release from Miami states it will be either Heaps or Kaaya whoe leads Miami for its Sept. 1 season opener against Louisville.
"I'm not worried about that. I'm focusing on me," Heaps said Thursday morning. "What Coach decides, that's out of my hands."
The quarterback position became an open competition when projected starter Ryan Williams suffered an ACL tear in April. While Williams is practicing in 7-on-7 drills, the plan is for the senior to return during the season.
Redshirt freshman Kevin Olsen was considered to be one of the favorites to replace Williams, but Olsen is reportedly suspended from the season opener.
Both Heaps and Kaaya have been on campus for only a few months.
Heaps signed with Miami on June 15 as a transfer from Kansas. He started nine games for the Jayhawks, throwing for 1,414 yards and eight touchdowns. He began his career at BYU, where he set several freshman passing records, but he transferred after the 2011 season.
Kaaya, a California native, was highly regarded coming out of high school, ranked by RecruitingNation as the fifth-best pocket passer in the country and No. 112 overall in the ESPN 300. The 6-foot-4, 209-pound signal-caller remained committed to the Hurricanes despite late offers from UCLA and USC.
"The first two weeks, what I see from Brad is his maturity," running back Duke Johnson said Thursday morning. "You wouldn't think that Brad is a freshman quarterback, the way he talks, the way he handles the offense, the way he handles the plays, checks. He's able to read defenses. He doesn't do it as well as an older guy like Jake [Heaps], but he does it exceptionally well for a freshman."
Golden is scheduled to meet with reporters Thursday evening after the Hurricanes' second practice of the day.