Former Central Gwinnett star Jarren Williams has won the Miami Hurricanes’ starting quarterback coach, new head coach Manny Diaz announced this week.
The redshirt freshman won a preseason battle with redshirt sophomores N’Kosi Perry and Tate Martell, a highly publicized transfer from Ohio State.
Williams’ first start is Aug. 24 against the Florida Gators.
“All three guys showed tremendous improvement and development, which is a credit to their hard work and the work of (offensive coordinator and quarterbacks coach) Dan Enos and his offensive staff,” Diaz told HurricaneSports.com on Monday, when he announced the news. “We believe we can win with all three guys, however, we feel like Jarren has the greatest upside due to his passing ability, his instincts and his determination.
“As we move into preparation for the Florida game, we will continue the competition to determine who will serve as the backup quarterback.”
Williams played in one game last season as a freshman, completing one pass for 17 yards and rushing for a touchdown against Savannah State. He didn’t play again, allowing the Hurricanes to redshirt him in the final season under head coach Mark Richt.
The 6-foot-2, 210-pounder impressed the new coaching staff enough to award him the starting job in a closely watched, offseason battle.
“It means the world (to be the starter),“ Williams said on Miami’s website. “This is something that I’ve always strived for growing up. It’s been my dream since I was a kid. When I was 6 years old, I used to sit in front of the TV and watch Michael Vick play. That’s a dream I have always had and I’ve strived for it. Having the opportunity to lead this team is the opportunity of a lifetime and I am going to take full advantage of it.”
Williams was a U.S. Army All-American following his senior season, when he completed 214 of 348 passes (61.5 percent) for 3,015 yards and 28 touchdowns to just four interceptions. He also rushed 115 times for 554 yards and 10 more scores. He accounted for all but three of Central’s offensive TDs that season.
He threw for 2,618 yards and 26 TDs as a junior, in addition to nine rushing TDs. That running ability adds to his talents in the passing game.
“I feel like I’m an elite passer,” Williams told HurricaneSports.com. “I can make all the throws, even in tight windows. What a lot of people don’t know is that I can extend plays with my feet. I’m not a slow guy. I can tuck the ball and get 15 yards. I can make a guy miss, but I am a pass-first guy. I stand in the pocket and trust the pocket and get the ball to my receivers.”
Enos brought a new offensive system to the Hurricanes this season that will take advantage of Williams’ skills.
“Obviously Jarren is a gifted passer,” Diaz said. “He has learned, I think, the maturity that comes with being the starting quarterback at a place like Miami. He is becoming more and more comfortable with the offense. I think Jarren, also, is a guy that hit 20 miles per hour (running) this summer. Jarren is a better athlete than, I think, people give him credit for – all the reasons he was recruited to come here in the first place.”