Miami to start Williams at QB over Perry, Martell

With the season opener against Florida less than two weeks away, Miami named former ESPN300 recruit Jarren Williams its starting quarterback on Monday.

The move comes as a bit of a surprise, as Williams beat out former starter N'Kosi Perry and Ohio State transfer Tate Martell for the job.

"All three guys showed tremendous improvement and development, which is a credit to their hard work and the work of Dan Enos and his offensive staff," head coach Manny Diaz said in a statement posted to the team's website. "We believe we can win with all three guys. However, we feel like Jarren has the greatest upside due to his passing ability, his instincts and his determination."

Finding a quarterback was a top priority for Diaz, who was promoted from defensive coordinator after Mark Richt retired in December. Last year's Hurricanes finished 7-6, despite one of the nation's best defenses, due in large part to a rotation at QB between Perry and Malik Rosier, neither of whom met expectations.

Martell transferred from Ohio State in February after the Buckeyes brought in Justin Fields from Georgia, and Martell was granted immediate eligibility by the NCAA. Martell was rated the No. 6 dual-threat QB in the country coming out of high school in 2017, but he never found a role in Columbus and, while Diaz praised Martell's off-field work ethic, he was unable to beat out Williams for the Miami job.

Williams, a Georgia native, redshirted throughout last year's QB struggles, but at 6-foot-3, 210 pounds with good mobility, he was Miami's best combination of size and athleticism.

"I feel like I'm an elite passer," Williams said. "I can make all the throws, even in tight windows. What a lot of people don't know is that I can extend plays with my feet. I'm not a slow guy. I can tuck the ball and get 15 yards. I can make a guy miss, but I am a pass-first guy. I stand in the pocket and trust the pocket and get the ball to my receivers."

Miami opens the season against rival Florida on Aug. 24.