Former Houston Cougars quarterback D'Eriq King will step into the starting role for the Miami Hurricanes and could completely change their fortunes. Kevin Jairaj-USA TODAY Sports

The Miami Hurricanes disappointed in a big way last season as Manny Diaz and Co. went 6-7, but the addition of D’Eriq King changes everything.

The skinny: Miami finished with a whimper in their bowl game against Louisiana Tech to cap off a miserable 2019 campaign. But with former Houston quarterback D’Eriq King transferring, and a defense that has the potential to be dominant up front, this program is one to watch in 2020.

Serious upgrade: The ‘Canes never got settled at quarterback last season, with both N’Kosi Perry and Jarren Williams taking significant snaps. King should not only immediately start and hold onto the job all year if he’s healthy, but he will provide a major spark.

Here’s a look at what Perry and Williams did last season:

  • Completed 254-of-435 passes (58.4%)
  • Averaged 7.4 yards per attempt
  • Threw 27 touchdowns and 10 interceptions
  • Rushed for -24 yards on 105 attempts (college counts sacks as lost rushing yardage) and scored twice on the ground

Now here’s what King did in 2018 (he played only four games last year before taking a redshirt):

  • Completed 219-of-345 passes (63.5%)
  • Averaged 8.6 yards per attempt
  • Threw 36 touchdowns and 6 interceptions
  • Rushed for 674 yards on 111 attempts and scored 14 times on the ground

So, it’s not hard to see that King represents a significant upgrade at the quarterback position for the Miami Hurricanes in 2020. And when you have a quarterback that can transform an offense the way he can, you have a chance to win a lot of ball games.

Getting defensive: Miami’s defense was pretty darn good last year, allowing just 20.2 points per game (No. 23 in the nation). Looking at the roster heading into the spring, it seems clear that the ‘Canes have a chance to be even better on this side of the ball in 2020.

  • The Miami pass rush may end up being one of the nation’s best in 2020. Look for Gregory Rousseau, who logged 15.5 sacks as a redshirt freshman last year, to absolutely dominate this year. He’s joined by AAC Defensive Player of the Year, Quincy Roche, who transferred from Temple and had 13 sacks last season.
  • The middle is stout with a capital S. Senior Jon Ford and junior Nesta Jade Silvera are both up-and-coming stars with the potential to be dominant.
  • Despite losing team leader and outstanding middle linebacker Shaquille Quarterman, the Hurricanes will have a potential dynamo in Avery Huff, who took an academic redshirt last year.
  • The Miami secondary is loaded. DJ Ivey and Al Blades Jr. both got a ton of playing time last year and should only continue to develop, while safeties Gurvan Hall and Bubba Bolden are both rock solid.

The bottom line: Defense really wasn’t the problem last year. The offense just couldn’t hold up its end of the bargain. Now, with a defense that has the potential to exceed last year’s production, this program may be ready to take flight.

With King running the offense, assuming the Hurricanes don’t try to pound a square peg into a round hole and turn him into a pocket passer, we should see the Miami football program finally get back to respectability in 2020. If not a heck of a lot more.

This article first appeared on Sportsnaut and was syndicated with permission.


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