More chips continue to fall for the University of Miami football team.
The school announced late Monday that quarterback Evan Shirreffs has decided to leave the program.
Shirreffs, a redshirt sophomore, is the fourth player to transfer from Miami’s program since the calendar turned to the New Year – with linebacker Darrion Owens, defensive lineman D.J. Johnson and defensive tackle Ryan Fines all jumping ship.
Like Owens and Fines, Shirreffs purpose behind leaving was founded in finding more playing time.
Hurricanes head coach Mark Richt confirmed Shirreffs’ reasoning while manufacturing his insipid cookie-cutter line regarding players leaving in the school’s release.
“Evan and I talked, and he informed me that he feels his best opportunity to get the most playing time would be at another school,” Richt said. “We appreciate all the hard work Evan has put in on and off the field, and we wish him all the best in his future plans.”
In his three years in Coral Gables, Shirreffs appeared in five games – one in 2016 and four games this past season. The 6-foot-5, 216-pound former three-star prospect out of Jefferson, Georgia was touted for his accuracy and intelligence but he never made a big enough impact on coaches to truly challenge for playing time.
Aside from some “mop up duty” snaps early in the season, Shirreffs’ only significant field time came during Miami’s disappointing performance against Pittsburgh in the regular season finale – when he briefly (for one offensive series) replaced a struggling Malik Rosier before Richt went back to Rosier.
He threw two incomplete passes and had a rush for negative (-2) yards in his quick stint against the Panthers.
Shirreffs’ departure isn’t surprising, given the abundant depth the Canes will have at the quarterback position this coming season.
No official word has come out about whether Rosier – a redshirt junior – will return to school for his final year of eligibility, declare for the NFL Draft or transfer.
Even if Rosier, who completed 224 of 415 passes for 3,120 yards with 26 touchdowns and 14 interceptions as UM’s starter in 2017, does return – many feel the competition will be between a pair of young signal callers.
N’Kosi Perry, a four-star dual-threat quarterback prospect from Miami’s 2017 recruiting class, took a redshirt this past season after Richt elected to go with the older Rosier as the No. 1 quarterback.
It wasn’t for a lack of talent that Perry remained on the sideline in 2017. The 6-foot-4, 185-pound Ocala Vanguard product needed time to add weight to his frame while also learning the nuances of Richt’s playbook. However, the belief is that Perry would’ve been a more viable option to play in 2017 had he been a spring enrollee opposed to coming in during the summer – just two months before the open of fall camp.
But Perry’s talent is undeniable.
— Jeremy (@JFialkow305) August 20, 2017
Still, Perry won’t just be handed the job.
— J.T. Wilcox (@JTWilcoxSports) December 3, 2017
Miami signed 6-foot-3, 200-pound, four-star, U.S. Army All-American quarterback b during the early signing period and has already enrolled at UM.
Williams’ spring arrival only makes the quarterback competition – with Perry and maybe even Rosier – even spicier given his abilities that made him the No. 7 ranked pro-style quarterback prospect in the country.
— Steve Wiltfong (@SWiltfong247) January 2, 2018
Even with Shirreffs leaving, there still will be a premium on chairs in the quarterback room.
Perry, Williams, possibly Rosier, 2017 signee Cade Weldon and 2017 freshman walk-on Augie DeBiase are all listed as signal callers on the Hurricanes current roster. However, it is unlikely that Weldon and – even more unlikely that – DeBiase will be factors in the upcoming competition.
There will be competition, though.
— J.T. Wilcox (@JTWilcoxSports) December 31, 2017