NCAA Football

College Football: Ryan Williams Gives Miami Hurricaines Real Depth

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The Hurricanes announced Friday that former Memphis quarterback Ryan Williams will transfer to the University of Miami, where he will compete for the 2012 starting job with Stephen Morris, Tate Forcier and incoming freshmen Gray Crow and David Thompson—who have given verbal commitments to the ‘Canes for the signing class of 2012. Williams, like Forcier, must sit out one year to satisfy NCAA transfer rules.

Williams was the starter at Memphis last year for the final ten games of the season after he took the starting job from Cannon Smith after he went down with a concussion early in the season and was unable to reclaim the starting spot. Smith, somewhat ironically, transferred from Miami to Memphis perhaps partly because of the logjam that existed at the position in 2009. 

Williams completed 165 of his 290 pass attempts as a true freshman last season for 2,075 yards and 13 touchdowns. He threw 10 interceptions. The transfer reportedly comes in light of head coach Larry Porter’s switch to the spread offense from a pro style system. The Hurricanes run the pro style offense that has produced several NFL prospects, although it has not produced an elite passer in quite some time.

Miami offense coordinator Jedd Fisch said he was thrilled to add Williams to the ‘Canes quarterback ranks, according to the Miami Herald. He has experience starting as a true freshman at the Division I level, he has led a team to a state high school championship in the state of Florida, and now he is home to help us bring championship-level football back to the U.”

Adding Williams may seem like a curious move to some given the recent transfer of former Michigan quarterback Tate Forcier—who himself started as a freshman before losing the starting job to Denard Robinson last season. Competition at the quarterback position is something that has been missing lately ever since Robert Marve transferred to Purdue. Jacory Harris beat out Marve for the starting job, but was not pushed until freshman Stephen Morris came onto the scene last season after Harris went down with an injury.

The two are pushing each other this offseason for the starting gig, and the addition of Forcier and Williams will ensure that Morris will be pushed himself once Harris leaves after his senior season. Miami has seen its fair share of quarterback transfers—both ways—over the past few seasons. Marve transferred after losing the starting job to Harris in 2008, then Smith and Taylor Cook transferred in 2009, then came Forcier’s transfer to Miami this offseason, and now Williams will join the quarterback ranks via transfer. What will be interesting is whether we’ll see another transfer at some point based on the results of next year’s quarterback battle.

The obvious frontrunners for the 2012 job are Morris, Forcier and Williams—but don’t count out Crow the way many have been talking about the Clearwater, Florida product. He may not steal the job immediately as a true freshman in 2012, but if the buzz is to be believed, he won’t be standing on the sidelines for very long.