The wait is over. After an entire season of quarterback struggles, the Hurricanes have found their guy in D’Eriq King, who has one goal in mind.
“For me, it’s straight forward. I want to win. I want to win as many games as possible,” he said. “I know the history behind this program. I know where it’s been, I know where coach Diaz and everybody is trying to get it back to. I’m just here to win as many games as possible. My ultimate goal is to go 12-0 this year.”
The former Houston quarterback announced that he would be transferring to Miami in late January. While he’s been on campus less than a month and has yet to play a game as a Hurricane, his resume alone has fans impressed and hopeful.
Last season, King played four games for the Cougars before redshirting, but it was what he did in the 2018 season that set him apart. He recorded 50 total touchdowns, 14 of which were rushing. He also threw for 2,982 yards and rushed for 674 yards. King left Houston with 82 total career touchdowns, which is the ninth most among active FBS quarterbacks.
“What he did two years ago at Houston, has not been done very often in college football history,” head coach Manny Diaz said.
Diaz made it clear what he wants out of King.
“The need we have here at quarterback is to have a stable guy not just on the field, but also off the field that can really make this thing go,” Diaz said.
Miami has struggled tremendously at the quarterback position, ranking 90th in scoring offense last season.
Off the field, the team has struggled to find a leader, with multiple reports questioning the maturity of former starting quarterback Jarren Williams.
“Our quarterback room over the last few years has suffered because of not having a player to player mentorship,” Diaz said. “I want D’Eriq King not to just make us better by the way he plays quarterback this year, I want him to make the quarterbacks on our roster better.”
With Williams entering the transfer portal, King is now the favorite to win the starting job and his focus is clear.
“You still have to have fun, football should still be fun,” King said. “But you got to have focus on the task at hand right now, so for all of us in the locker room today it’s to win games and to work as hard as we can.”
Right now, the Canes are holding off season conditioning workouts, with their first spring practice set for Feb. 29. However, King has already managed to make a lasting impression.
“You can turn on the tape and know he has made plays at this level,” said new offensive coordinator Rhett Lashlee. “If you don’t have consistent play, consistent production from that position, it’s hard to win at a high level. D’Eriq has a unique skill set.”
Lashlee, who spent the last two seasons at Southern Methodist University, is a huge part of the reason King chose to come to Miami. As the offensive coordinator and quarterbacks coach at SMU, Lashlee favored an up tempo system, which he called a “great equalizer”. In games he prefers to move fast with no huddle. He runs more plays than average and spreads the field.
“It allows guys just to go out there and play,” King said. “It allows a lot of freedom for guys to make plays, and for me that’s when I think I’m at my best, when I’m out there just reacting, playing and having the ultimate confidence in my guys to make plays.”
In addition to being heavily recruited by Lashlee, King saw a lot of potential in Miami’s offense.
“I’ve thrown the ball to most of the receivers and tight ends. They look really, really good,” King said. “We have a lot of guys that have athletic ability, guys that can make plays and guys that can really run; a lot of fast guys here. I’m just excited to put in work with them.”
As for the future, Canes fans should be optimistic. King is a dual threat quarterback who recognizes the history behind the program and has the experience and drive to win.