CORAL GABLES, Fla. — Malik Rosier’s only previous start for Miami was out of necessity.
This time, he earned the job.
Rosier was announced Tuesday as No. 18 Miami’s new starting quarterback, winning the right to take over for record-setting three-year starter Brad Kaaya. He beat Evan Shirreffs and N’Kosi Perry for the job, and threw for team-highs of 441 yards and five touchdowns in Miami’s two camp scrimmages.
“He did stand out above the rest,” Miami coach Mark Richt said. “It wasn’t like an unbelievable amount, but it was apparent that he was having the best camp.”
Shirreffs will be No. 2 on the depth chart, Richt said, while Perry and Cade Weldon — both freshmen — will continue on a development path.
Kaaya passed for a school-record 9,968 yards in his three seasons, and skipped his senior year with the Hurricanes to head to the NFL. Even with the uncertainty at quarterback, Miami was still picked as the preseason favorite in the Atlantic Coast Conference’s Coastal Division.
Rosier barely played last season, completing two of his four passes. Miami opens the season at home on Sept. 2 against Bethune-Cookman, and Rosier will inevitably face comparisons to Kaaya from the outset.
“We do our best to keep him away from that,” wide receiver Braxton Berrios said. “We don’t want him to be Brad. He can’t be Brad. Only Brad can be Brad, in so many different ways. He pretty much has a different skill set than Brad does. … We don’t want him to fill his shoes. We want him to have his own shoes.”
Kaaya tweeted a good-luck message to Rosier on Tuesday, telling him “go be great.”
Richt lauded the way Shirreffs took the decision. Richt knows what it’s like to lose a QB race at Miami — he did when vying against Jim Kelly in the early 1980s. Richt even left the team for about a week after then-coach Howard Schnellenberger decided to give Kelly the starting job.
“I could probably, truthfully say he was better than I was,” Richt said. “My mom still will not admit that. It’s not easy being No. 2.”
Rosier started as a two-sport athlete at Miami. He batted .294 in 14 games with the Hurricanes’ baseball team in 2015, with a home run and three RBIs. He decided to concentrate on football after that season.
Rosier has passed for 370 yards at Miami, most of those coming in his only start — Oct. 31, 2015, at Duke, where his 20-for-29, 272-yard, two-touchdown showing was completely overshadowed by the eight-lateral kickoff return for a game-winning touchdown that the Hurricanes pulled off as time expired. Rosier got the start that night because Kaaya was sidelined by a concussion.
“That night, we knew he could do the job,” Berrios said.
Rosier is scheduled to address reporters on Wednesday. None of Miami’s quarterbacks were made available after Tuesday’s practice.