Miami wasn’t perfect this season, but the Hurricanes were better than they’ve been in recent years. Starting transfer quarterback D’Eriq King is a big reason for the team’s improvement. They went from 6-7 in 2019 to 8-2 in 2020.
On Saturday, King announced that he would utilize the extra season of eligibility given to student athletes during the COVID-19 pandemic. In other words, he plans to return as Miami’s starter for one more season.
The Houston grad transfer was only supposed to be a one-year rental. But instead, he’ll now be a two-year starter. That development automatically gives the Hurricanes a better outlook in 2021. Yes, King has been that important.
In 10 games, he’s totaled 3,093 yards (2,573 passing, 520 rushing) and 26 touchdowns while only tossing five interceptions. He’s also completed 63.6 percent of his passes and averaged 8.1 yards per attempt.
Those numbers do a good job reflecting the dual-threat impact King has in Miami’s offense.
Had he chosen the NFL route, the Hurricanes would have a gapping hole at the most important position on the field. Coaches, fans and others would also be left wondering how to adequately fill that void.
Instead, they’ll return one of the most experienced signal callers in the ACC.
There will still be question marks on the roster, especially along the defensive front with Quincy Roche and Jaelen Phillips now joining Gregory Rousseau in the 2021 NFL Draft. But King automatically makes this team more intriguing.
In order to be a competitive team in college football, you have to field an effective quarterback who can win you games. King certainly does that for Miami, but this goes beyond just him.
Yes, we’ve seen unexpected announcements from quarterbacks to forgo the extra eligibility. Just last week, SMU’s Shane Beuchele elected to leave. We also saw Feleipe Franks agree to participate in the Senior Bowl, ending any chance at a return.
But we are going to have key players, including some quarterbacks, make a similar decision to the one we saw from King. And those decisions will impact the college football season in 2021.
Will it be a Sam Ehlinger at Texas? Or maybe Ian Book will choose to make another run at a Heisman Trophy or national title at Notre Dame.
Either way, we’re going to see big-time college players take advantage of the extra eligibility. That should make things interesting.
Follow Clint Lamb on Twitter @ClintRLamb.