Quarterback D’Eriq King being far ahead of schedule in his rehabilitation should inspire the Miami football team. King is smashing his rehab according to Hurricanes head coach Manny Diaz during his zoom meeting with reporters on Friday. King tore his ACL against Oklahoma State in the Cheez-it Bowl in December.
King transformed the culture of the Miami football team with his leadership and performance as the Hurricanes improved from 6-7 in 2019 to 8-3 in 2020. King completed 64.1 percent of his passes for 2,686 yards, 22 touchdowns and five interceptions with 538 and four TDs rushing.
King will lead a young QB unit behind him. Miami returns redshirt freshman Peyton Matocha and freshman Tyler Van Dyke and signed Jake Garcia in the 2022 Class. The effort and hard work King had put in during the 2021 offseason has allowed him to surpass every milestone. King is expected to be ready for training camp in August.
King has been working so hard that the Miami coaching staff had to get him to slow down in his rehab. With Alabama looming in the season opening game in September, Miami needs King to be ready. The expectation was that King would work hard in rehab and be ready because of the ethics he has.
"“D’Eriq is just doing D’Eriq King things in the training room with his rehab. He’s smashing every benchmark and every goal they put in front of him to the point that you almost have to slow him down. But it’s been fun to see him back moving around with our guys.There’s almost steam coming off the [exercise bike] wheels because he’s riding the thing so hard. In a sort of stationary way, he can stand there and throw a short pass, so I think now going forward it should be the functional movements.We’re still only two months and change from the surgery, so it’s that point where you’re starting to feel good and you actually have to slow down, be more careful than you were those first eight weeks.’’"
The Miami coaching staff expected King to surpass every step of his rehab. Offensive coordinator Rhett Lashlee also spoke on Friday and is not surprised by how well King is doing with recovering from the injury. There is no date for the timeline that King will be cleared to play. The season is still more than five months away.
With the work King has put he appears to be on track to be ready for training camp in August. With the inexperience behind King, Miami would be asking a lot to start Garcia, Matocha or Van Dyke. King moved the bar for future Miami players rehabbing from injuries. King has helped changed the culture for the Miami football program.
"“D’Eriq is doing exactly what anybody knows D’Eriq in the last year would do…He’s doing a phenomenal job with his rehab. Everything is on track. He’s probably exceeding expectations in a lot of areas. And that’s not a shock to anybody here.When it happened, I almost in a joking way was, like, ‘What’s the record for the fastest guy coming back from an ACL? Because whatever that is he’s going to beat it.’ But fortunately we don’t have to rush that process and we’re not going to.I don’t have a date [and] the doctors, I can’t speak for them, haven’t given us a date that they would clear him but I would fully expect that by this summer he’s able to throw with the receivers and do seven-on-seven and do all those things — May, June and July — that we would want him to do leading up to fall camp.Unless we have some unexpected setback, I don’t see any reason that won’t happen. From that standpoint, I feel really good that he’s going to have plenty of time to get ready going into fall camp.”"
With injury coming in the last game of the season, Miami did not have any need for King to rush his rehab. It will be eight months and about a week from the time King suffered the injury against Oklahoma State until Miami kicks off against Alabama in September. Having King ready should be inspirational for the Hurricanes.
King announcing his return for the 2021 season was part of all but four players leaving for the NFL Draft and backup QB N’Kosi Perry entering the transfer portal that are returning this fall. King has taken over the Miami offense and inspired the entire team with his leadership and production. That should continue in 2021.