For the fourth consecutive year in 2020, the Heisman Trophy will be awarded to a transfer quarterback. With former Houston quarterback D’Eriq King committing to play his final season as a graduate transfer at the University of Miami, the Hurricanes finally have their guy.
With new offensive coordinator Rhett Lashlee calling the offense in Coral Gables, King will have a nice transition for his final year of eligibility after being one of the best players in the country for the Houston Cougars.
QB D’Eriq King Joins Miami Hurricanes
In an offense that has struggled over the past three seasons, it seems like the answer was always right around the corner. But the Miami Hurricanes program hasn’t had a player on campus who has accounted for 50 total touchdowns in a season.
Schools like LSU, Oklahoma, Virginia Tech, and Maryland all wanted grad transfer QB D’Eriq King for a season, especially the Tigers and Sooners, two programs that found the last three Heisman winners from other schools.
It was head coach Manny Diaz and the Hurricanes, however, who hit the lottery this time.
Before King had even committed to a school, he was given the third-best Heisman Trophy odds behind Clemson’s Trevor Lawrence and Ohio State’s Justin Fields. With Lashlee taking over the play-calling duties at Miami in Manny Diaz’s second season running the program, the ‘Canes are primed to put up huge numbers.
If you want to know how great of a talent King is, consider the fact that he is one of the favorites to win the Heisman despite playing only four games last season and moving to another school with another offensive system.
In 2019, King played in the first four games. But after a 1-3 start, decided to sit out the remainder of the season and redshirt with the intentions of returning to Houston for the 2020 season.
But on January 13, King announced he would be entering the transfer portal to play one final college football season.
In his only full season as a college football quarterback, King put up historic numbers. He did miss the final three games of the season that year due to injury, but completed 63.5 percent of his passes for 2,982 yards, 36 touchdowns, and only six interceptions in 11 games. He also added 674 rushing yards and another 14 touchdowns on the ground. With the Canes’ offensive line struggling last season, his ability to run the ball and evade rushers will be huge.
For all the doubters thinking King performed so well because of his competition from the American Athletic Conference, just wait until he plays defenses from the ACC for three straight months. He will thankfully be surrounded by ACC offensive talent and coaches doing their best to keep him healthy.
King has played against Power Five opponents before, too. Against Arizona in 2018, he threw four touchdowns and rushed for two more in the win against the Wildcats. The following week, he played on the road against Texas Tech and completed 30-of-51 pass attempts for 431 yards and five touchdowns while rushing for 47 yards and a touchdown on 11 carries.
That same season, he played at SMU against Lashlee’s offense, which scored 45 points. While at Houston, King never had a defense that could stop opposing offenses, something Miami has had more than enough of since Diaz arrived.
King also has Lashlee on his side this time. Last season as the offensive coordinator at SMU, the Mustangs averaged 41.8 points per game, seventh in the country. They also averaged 489.8 yards, which ranked ninth.
Though there is the slight chance King doesn’t come in and earn the starting job from Jarren Williams, N’Kosi Perry, Tate Martell, or even true freshman Tyler Van Dyke, spring football and the opening game next season against Temple will be a great chance for these new pieces to test the offense and give the defense some points they have been missing for a few years.
Martell was seen as the savior last offseason when he transferred from Ohio State, but he also hadn’t played much for the Buckeyes in his time there.
By the time Miami faces their first true test with Michigan State in Week Four, the offense should have found a little bit of a rhythm and Lashlee will have had a full offseason with King to really get things going.
If there is any hope for the program under Diaz, it will start with D’Eriq King, who I believe is going to ascend quickly and hoist the 2020 Heisman Trophy.