Cam Ward transferred to Miami after initially announcing his intention to enter the 2024 NFL Draft. Raymond Lucas Jr. of 247 Sports included Ward with "Ohio State's Will Howard, Alabama's Austin Mack among transfer QBs with something to prove in spring practice."
The skeptics will be there this spring if Ward doesn't live up to the hype. Spring football can create false expectations. Building a rapport with the Miami offensive line and receivers should be the priority with Ward this spring. Leading Miami receiver Xavier Restrepo had four years to build chemistry with Tyler Van Dyke.
Ward now has seven months to build a connection with Restrepo, second-leading receiver Jacolby George and the rest of the Miami receiving corps. Center Zach Carpenter is also new to Miami after transferring from Indiana. Carpenter and Ward will also have to build a connection this spring.
Ward will work with a more talented roster at Miami. Miami was far better protecting the QB in 2023. Washington State finished 113th nationally allowing 3.17 sacks per game in 2023. Miami was 17th allowing 1.23 sacks per game. Miami returns left tackle Jalen Rivers, right guard Anez Cooper and right tackle Francis Mauigoa in 2023.
"CAMERON WARD, MIAMI- Raymond Lucas Jr., 247Sports
Taking time to make a decision can lead to eye-rolls from plenty of fans. Cameron Ward did that when choosing between Miami and the NFL Draft, eventually choosing the NFL before changing course. So Ward must flourish to avoid noise from critics. The good news for him is that he has superstar-level talent.
Ward had solid weapons around him at Washington State, particularly in the receiver room. But his offensive line struggled in a Pac-12 loaded with talented defensive transfers. Improved protection is likely at Miami and he'll have the skill players needed to turn him into a household name."
The focus will be minimal during the spring compared to the season opener at Florida on August 31. Miami could still pursue a starting left guard and second outside receiver. The competition for starting left guard on Miami during spring practice is expected to be open. If Miami adds a guard, it will be after spring practice.
Isaiah Horton projects as a first-team outside WR opposite George this spring. Watch the transfer portal this spring for Miami to possibly add an experienced WR with proven production. Miami returns Nathaniel Joseph and Robby Washington as sophomores at WR and brings in an elite freshman group.
Expect Ny Carr, Chance Robinson or Joshisa Trader to emerge as a freshman working with Ward. Ward provides Miami with an experienced and proven QB. Ward will also be able to mentor the young QBs on the Miami roster. Jacurri Brown and Emory Williams will be able to build on their two college starts sitting behind Ward in 2024.
Ward is the foundation that the 2024 Miami football program will build around. Miami begins a re-set at QB with Ward transferring in. Ward will also use the spring to learn the Shannon Dawson offense. The spring is crucial for Dawson and Ward to run the offense in game-like situations. Miami and Ward should benefit from each other.