Miami shocked the college football world when redshirt-freshman Jarren Williams was named the starting quarterback for the Hurricanes. Ohio State transfer Tate Martell was considered the favorite heading into the competition. Instead, Williams was able to beat out the former top recruit despite playing in just one game over his short college career.
Williams completed one-of-three passes for 17 yards in Miami’s 77-0 victory over Savannah State on September 8, 2018. Despite playing sparingly in 2018, Williams entered Miami with a long list of accomplishments.
Coming out of Central Gwinnett High School, Williams was a four-star recruit and the No. 5 pro-style quarterback in the country, per 247 Sports. Miami was just one of several programs that were pursuing Williams.
Alabama & Ohio State Were Among the Schools Recruiting Jarren Williams
Aside from Miami, Williams had a long list of offers including Alabama, Ohio State, Auburn, Florida, Florida State and Georgia. Many may have expected Martell to beat out Williams, but the new Hurricanes starter was a highly-touted recruit heading into Coral Gables.
Williams was named to the Elite 11, a competition for the top high school quarterbacks in the country. 247Sports director of scouting Barton Simmons raved about Williams’ performance at The Opening leading up to the Elite 11 in 2017.
“The big takeaway with Jarren is there are very few holes in his game,” Simmons explained to the Herald-Leader. “And that’s kind of what I meant by the ‘total package.’ It’s hard to find a weakness. There are other guys that are better in any one category, but he’s not deficient anywhere. I felt like he was one of the best quarterbacks there, in terms of his ability to digest the offenses they were being asked to learn. In terms of his comfort level, going through his reads and progressions. And his accuracy and control over the position.”
Miami head coach Manny Diaz explained why the team decided to go with Williams over Martell.
“It’s just the natural thing of having the confidence of the coaching staff and the team to know you’re the guy,” Diaz explained to the South Florida Sun-Sentinel. “That’s why we made the decision. That’s why we made it public. We felt that far superseded any value in a surprise on Saturday.”
Williams Is Expected to Offer Miami a Dual-Threat at Quarterback
Like Martell, Williams can hurt teams with his legs, but the quarterback did a better job of showing off his arm during training camp than his competition. Williams was widely viewed as the most complete package under center after the competition. Here is how ESPN’s Tom Luginbill described Williams coming out of high school.
Has good size and strength with a frame that will support added muscle. Does a nice job utilizing his feet to extend plays and create something out of nothing. Accurate throwing on the run and displays the ability to fit the ball into a tight window…Shows touch on the deep ball and enough arm strength to stretch the field. Is a very polished player and sharp passer at an early stage.