Miami Football: 5 Best Quarterbacks Hurricanes Will Face in 2014
"Ah, the quarterback. The player most responsible for making or breaking an entire offensive unit," says Laura Keeley of the Raleigh News & Observer.
The Miami Hurricanes will be tested by plenty of talented quarterbacks, but some are significantly better than the others. Strangely enough, every mentioned player's respective team must travel to Sun Life Stadium when slated to play the 'Canes.
A Virginia Tech player is missing, which is a noticeable change following successive years of a serious threat dating back to Michael Vick's college days.
Who was included instead?
All quotes obtained firsthand unless otherwise noted.
5. Gunner Kiel, Cincinnati
Slightly topping Tommy Armstrong and Will Gardner for inclusion is Cincinnati Bearcats quarterback Gunner Kiel.
Although he needs to remain above teammate Munchie Legaux, who received a medical redshirt following a horrendous knee injury last season, on the depth chart, Kiel is the projected starter.
Once rated a 5-star recruit by 247Sports, Kiel has ridden an unforgiving roller coaster since January 2012. After getting bashed by LSU head coach Les Miles after a late decommitment, he enrolled at Notre Dame before transferring to Cincinnati one year later.
Per Rod Walker of The New Orleans Advocate, Kiel is excited to finally lead an offense: "I cannot wait. I haven't played in three years. To sit out last year and not even dress or get to put on my jersey was terrible. It was an awful, awful feeling. When you play quarterback, you want to be on the field and keep your troops in line. I sat out a year, but it felt like a decade. Gosh, it was awful."
Kiel will be settled down for the trip down south, especially after playing at The Horseshoe and Ohio State two weeks earlier.
4. Anthony Boone, Duke
The Hurricanes await Anthony Boone and his defending Coastal Division champion Duke Blue Devils on Sept. 27 for one of the season's most important games.
During last season's meeting that was dominated by the Blue Devils' rushing attack, Boone efficiently completed 11-of-15 passes for 104 yards. Brandon Connette was the preeminent weapon that November day, but his transfer to Fresno State leaves Boone with heightened responsibilities.
According to Keeley, Boone is Duke's most important player in 2014, especially because he is the only quarterback on the roster to have taken a collegiate snap.
The senior may not be elite under center, but his mobility, a solid offensive line and all-ACC receiver Jamison Crowder make Boone dangerous every down.
3. Chad Voytik, Pittsburgh
Chad Voytik hasn't started a college game to date, but Miami will be No. 12 for the sophomore.
Voytik entered four contests in 2013, including the Little Caesars Pizza Bowl against Bowling Green when the freshman led Pitt to a three-point victory. He scored a five-yard, go-ahead touchdown on a bootleg during the fourth quarter, showing decent quickness for someone perceived to be a pocket passer.
"I don't want to tip my cards too much," Voytik recently said on KDKA Radio (h/t CBS Pittsburgh). "But coach has added a few things for me" in an effort to use his speed.
Of course, with running back James Connor opening up play action for freshman All-American Tyler Boyd, Voytik can rely heavily on his arm and still cause plenty of damage.
2. Marquise Williams, North Carolina
The No. 1 player may be as talented with his legs, but of the quarterbacks Miami opposes this year, Marquise Williams leaves the pocket and scrambles most often. Last season, the North Carolina Tar Heel accrued 5.2 yards per rushing attempt and tallied at least 46 yards in eight games.
Against conference opponents, Williams completed 55.1 percent of his passes, tossing eight touchdowns and six interceptions in the process. However, he isn't lacking confidence in his arm after attending the Manning Passing Academy.
As noted by Harold Gutmann of The Durham Herald-Sun, Peyton pulled him aside and said "You're a heck of a thrower. Your form is good, your feet are good."
Williams continued: "When he gave me that talk, I felt like no one (else) can tell me anything. ...When a Hall of Famer tells me that, that's when I tune everyone else out."
Since the junior regularly taps his dual-threat ability, he is the most individually threatening quarterback on the schedule.
1. Jameis Winston, Florida State
Miami was one of two teams to force Jameis Winston into a pair of interceptions in 2013, so the sophomore is not untouchable. Despite the picks last year, though, Winston connected on 21-of-29 attempts for 325 yards and a touchdown, handing the 'Canes their first loss of the year and into a downward spiral.
The reigning Heisman Trophy winner has received a slew of negative press for various reasons, but Winston said he is maturing, per Dan Wolken of USA Today.
"I know I have to be able to live up to that hype everywhere I go," Winston said. "I have a certain standard I have to hold myself up to, and if I even go an inch below that standard it's going to be chaos."
Then again, Winston creates problems on every field he enters—a kind of chaos that Miami will be challenged to contain, and it won't be easy. After all, he is the best and most complete quarterback the Hurricanes face in 2014.