ESPN analysts: Miami Hurricanes College Football Playoff contender with D’Eriq King return

LOUISVILLE, KENTUCKY - SEPTEMBER 19: (Photo by Andy Lyons/Getty Images)
LOUISVILLE, KENTUCKY - SEPTEMBER 19: (Photo by Andy Lyons/Getty Images) /

Speaking on the ESPN College Football Scoreboard on Saturday analyst Jesse Palmer asserted that the Miami Hurricanes can compete for a berth in the 2021 College Football Playoff with the return of quarterback D’Eriq King.

The Miami Hurricanes football team received a big boost on Saturday when quarterback D’Eriq King announced he was returning to the Hurricanes for the 2021 season. Miami should be more explosive on offense in 2021 in their second season with King running the Rhett Lashlee offense.

ESPN analyst Jesse Palmer stated he believes the Miami Hurricanes can contend for an ACC Championship in 2021 with King returning and Clemson QB Trevor Lawrence moving on to an NFL career. Palmer credited King as being the most impactful transfer in college football this season. King transferred to Miami from Houston.

Miami would have been extremely inexperienced at QB next season without the decision by King to return. Redshirt junior N’Kosi Perry, redshirt freshman Peyton Matocha, true freshman Tyler VanDyke and incoming freshman Jake Garcia are expected to be in the QB room for Miami in 2021.

Perry could seek a new program with King returning. After starting 19 games in 2018 and 2019 Perry might transfer in an effort to earn more playing time somewhere else. Palmer credited King with how he uplifted the Miami football program on and off the field. Miami won games this season because of King.

"“This is the best Christmas present (second-year) head coach Manny Diaz has gotten this holiday season — no doubt about it — because if there was an award for transfer of the year, it would’ve gone to D’Eriq King, having come from Houston and just the way he galvanized this Miami offense with his playmaking ability, running and throwing it.He’s the biggest impact they’ve had at quarterback, probably, since Ken Dorsey 20 years ago (1999-02). Now if you’re (first-year) offensive coordinator Rhett Lashlee, you get to build around this guy for one more season... I think if you’re D’Eriq King, you see an opportunity now next year. Trevor Lawrence is off to the NFL. The ACC appears to be a little bit more wide open. So if you’re D’Eriq King, you’ve got an opportunity now to come back, win an ACC championship and you might be getting into the College Football Playoff.”"

Palmer’s colleague Joey Galloway praised King for the way he played this season. Galloway was impressed that King took care of the ball with 22 touchdowns but just five interceptions. The Miami offense with the addition of King and Lashlee in the 2020 offseason was significantly improved.

The decision by King to return for the 2021 season will mark the first time in his collegiate career that he will have an offensive coordinator for a second straight season. King made big plays late in games several times this season that resulted in Miami wins that very likely would have mean losses without him in 2019.

"“D’Eriq King, the way he took care of the football, for the most part, threw five interceptions, but those were all in three games, it was his play that carried this team, And in past years, always wondered, ‘Why can’t this offense of Miami evolve?’With all the talent they have, especially at the skill positions, they were missing that player at the quarterback and D’Eriq King made those plays this season and had that team rolling, for the most part.”"

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There is a lot to happen between now and next season. Miami could lose players through the transfer portal and likely needs to add some at key positions, particularly defensive end and cornerback. King returning for the 2021 season should give Miami football fans hope they are closer to an ACC Title.