‘He’s special’: Improved Tyler Van Dyke ready to take next step

Then-freshman quarterback Tyler Van Dyke throws a pass in the second quarter of Miami’s game versus NC State University at Hard Rock Stadium on Oct. 23, 2021.
Then-freshman quarterback Tyler Van Dyke throws a pass in the second quarter of Miami’s game versus NC State University at Hard Rock Stadium on Oct. 23, 2021.

There are not many quarterbacks in college football that were as good as Miami quarterback Tyler Van Dyke was in his final six games last season.

In that second-half stretch, the 6-foot-4 signal-caller threw for 2,194 yards and 20 touchdowns, tossing only three interceptions in the process. This was also Miami’s best six-game period of the year, as the Hurricanes compiled a 5-1 record.

The third-year sophomore enters the 2022 season with high expectations. Action Network gives him the 10th-best preseason odds to win the coveted Heisman Trophy, ranking sixth among all quarterbacks.

Van Dyke has not allowed the attention to get in his head and has continued perfecting his craft, as head coach Mario Cristobal has noticed the returning starter’s improvement.

“He understands the ball … not every quarterback understands protections and what comes with it and how to get yourself in a good one and out of a bad one,” Cristobal said regarding Van Dyke. “He does. He understands leverage. He understands disguised coverages. He’s really good, really really good at pre to post-snap coverage and being able to make a decision. This guy, he’s special.”

The quarterback agrees with his new head coach’s assessment of where he’s gotten better.

“Understanding what the defense is doing, really finding the blitzes and checking, making sure I’m protected and understanding where they’re rotating and where I have to go with the football,” Van Dyke said regarding what he feels like he has improved.

Then-freshman quarterback Tyler Van Dyke rushes towards the end zone during the third quarter of Miami’s game versus the University of Virginia at Hard Rock Stadium on Sept. 30, 2021.
Then-freshman quarterback Tyler Van Dyke rushes towards the end zone during the third quarter of Miami’s game versus the University of Virginia at Hard Rock Stadium on Sept. 30, 2021. Photo credit: Jared Lennon

While Van Dyke has made progress within his game and ability to read defenses on the field, he has also remained and advanced as a leader for the Hurricanes, as redshirt freshman and fellow quarterback Jake Garcia noted.

“I think Tyler’s definitely improved … not only as a quarterback and a leader, which is huge,” Garcia said. “That’s something that we need on both offense and defense and just overall as a team … Last year [Van Dyke] showed that he was a leader and I think that this year he’s coming back and reestablishing that he’s a leader also this following year.”

These leadership abilities of Van Dyke also play a crucial role in integrating the rest of Miami’s offense in line with new offensive coordinator Josh Gattis’s system.

Gattis, who was previously the play caller at Michigan, brings an intricate offensive scheme to UM that helped the Wolverines reach the College Football Playoff for the first time in program history in 2021. For his work, the former Alabama coach won the Broyles Award, given to the top assistant in the nation.

“Whenever you’re a quarterback and you take on a new system, it does take some time,” Cristobal said. “He has accelerated that time and has done really well.”

Van Dyke will see his first in-game action with this offensive system on Sept. 3, when the Hurricanes kick off their season against the Bethune-Cookman Wildcats.