Miami’s Al Golden finds his QB in Georgia

Miami had 3 straight top 15 classes despite NCAA issues. Those issues are over (AP)

Miami coach Al Golden (AP)

Miami coach Al Golden feels really good about the gamble the Hurricanes took last month in Georgia.

One day after signing day, Miami both offered and signed Evan Shirreffs, an intriguing quarterback prospect out of Jefferson High School.

The 6-foot-6, 200-pounder held off on signing with smaller colleges such as Georgetown, Old Dominion and Eastern Michigan with the hope that a scholarship would open up after signing day at Miami. Shirreffs felt good about his chances after taking an official visit with the Hurricanes a few weeks earlier.

QB Evan Shirreffs

QB Evan Shirreffs

“We didn’t really look at it like we were rolling the dice, to be honest with you,” Miami coach Al Golden told the AJC on Wednesday. “He was a young man who (my assistant coach) saw throw live and he watched his film. Then he played in that Florida-Georgia all-star game. We were getting feedback from that all week, and then from the game itself.

“The biggest thing is that he’s got length. The strength is going to catch up with him. We loved his release. We loved his velocity. His intellect is elite. He’s got excellent decision-making.

“And again, you know maybe we’re the minority in terms of being a pro-style system in college football? Maybe so many teams have moved on to the spread or those types of offenses? He’s exactly the type of young man that we’re looking for, and we’re excited about him.”

Like UGA with running backs, Miami was challenged with recruiting elite quarterbacks this past year because it has one of college football’s best already on the roster with rising sophomore Brad Kaaya. On the flip side, Shirreffs also was overlooked by many colleges because he missed most of his junior season with a broken thumb.

As a senior at Jefferson, Shirreffs put up Nintendo-like numbers with 39 touchdown passes to only four interceptions.

“He’s 6-foot-5, and he’s got a whip of an arm,” Golden said.

“From our standpoint, the things that people think are intangible, they are very important to our organization — and he’s got those things. He’s got the intellect, the leadership, and the work ethic. I think he’s got a heck of an upside.

“He’s going to come in and compete. He doesn’t necessarily have to be the starter or anything of that nature this year. We want a chance to get him stronger, and let him grow, learn and improve.”


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