Favorite to Start: Jake Heaps
Miami does not lack for options to replace Stephen Morris at quarterback, but each one comes with an asterisk.
Ryan Williams and Kevin Olsen entered spring camp battling for the job, but Williams tore his ACL in April, and Olsen struggled throughout the offseason before getting suspended for a failed drug test.
Neither will be available for Week 1.
That leaves former blue-chip recruit Jake Heaps as the most logical option, but Heaps only joined the program a couple of months ago, transferring from Kansas (by route of BYU) in June.
He's thrown about 900 passes in his college career, including 261 last season, but he has not seized those opportunities. Kansas is a tough place to play, sure, but 10 interceptions to eight touchdowns is brutal.
All of which gives Brad Kaaya a realistic chance to swoop in and win the job as a true freshman. He was a fast-rising prospect over the past year, finishing as a top-150 recruit in the 2014 class, and despite a lean frame (6'4", 215 lbs), the ball really zips out of his hands.
Head coach Al Golden said he wanted to "temper his optimism" about Kaaya during the pre-pads sessions of fall camp, but he gushed about the freshman nonetheless, per Matt Porter of the Palm Beach Post.
In Golden's own words:
[Kaaya is] just really mature. Smart. Has shown a lot of pocket poise and presence. His length really stands out. His length and his ability to stand up and see. He’s great at the underneath stuff, the shallows and the meshes and things of that nature. Again, so far, so good.
Maturity. Intelligence. Pocket presence. Underneath stuff.
These are things it usually takes a player one or two (or more) seasons to develop. It's what separates a 5-star guy who flames out from a lower-ranked guy who succeeds. That Kaaya is earning this praise—even if it comes at the point of the preseason where everyone seems to earn high marks—is a great first step in his development.
It might be enough to get him onto the field against Louisville.