Miami Hurricanes five-star freshman safety makes his first career start look easy

·4 min read

Football tends to look easy … when you’re James Williams.

It’s simple when you’re Williams, a 6-5, 225-pound true freshman safety who runs like a locomotive ... if a locomotive could change directions.

Sure, it helps that the opponent was Central Connecticut State, which was outclassed on Saturday, 69-0, by the Miami Hurricanes. But still, Williams earned his first interception in his first career start, and his explanation of his movements made the play look elementary. But only if you have the talent of this five-star recruit who also had three tackles and one pass-breakup on Saturday.

“I read the quarterback,” Williams said. “I knew [the ball] was coming. I came from the other hash, and I had to go get it.”

D’Eriq King update

The mother of UM quarterback D’Eriq King declined to respond to a text message regarding King’s status as he rehabilitates from a shouder injury. But two UM players conveyed to sources that they were told King will be out for an extended period of time. UM coach Manny Diaz said after the game that King was “limited in some of his motions and movements’’ and he’d know more about his status next week. King attended the game and stood with his teammates on the sideline, wearing a headset and helping his quarterbacks read coverages.

Herbstreit criticizes UM

ESPN College GameDay host Kirk Herbstreit criticized UM on Saturday, citing a Miami Herald article by Barry Jackson that mentioned football was not a priority for the university’s president.

Herbstreit called out the Miami program for not having the president (Julio Frenk), athletic director (Blake James) and head coach (Manny Diaz) aligned in their goals and visions for the football program.

“Go all the way back to 2006,’’ Herbstreit said. “It was the last year that Larry Coker was the coach there. That’s 15 years. Miami has averaged 7-5 since 2006. They’ve had five head coaches. Just think about with the Orange Bowl gone, the student body has to drive 45 minutes to go to their games. You have an athletic department that clearly is not really showing that this is something that they are willing to try to make changes.’’

Then Herbstreit brought up the Herald article.

“There was an article from Barry Jackson this week that said the president basically told Blake James, the AD, ‘Hey, Sports? You’re on your own. That’s you’re thing.’

“I don’t know if that’s true. It was in an article.

“To me, college football — you look at the powerhouse programs: Alabama, Clemson, Ohio State, president, AD, head coach, same vision. They’re aligned in their vision for what needs to happen. Recruiting, budget, staff, whatever a team needs. That’s what it takes. Miami doesn’t have that. So I don’t think it matters who the head coach is. Until you get a president and an AD and a coach together on the same page, I guess football doesn’t matter.

“It matters to the alums, to the brotherhood of the U. But I don’t know if it matters to the people making the decisions at Miami. And if they don’t change that, it doesn’t matter who’s the head coach.”

UM starters shuffled

Miami’s starting offensive line was reshuffled for the fourth time in four games.

With second-year freshman left guard Jalen Rivers out with a season-ending knee injury, Navaughn Donaldson started in his place. Jakai Clark replaced Corey Gaynor at center, and DJ Scaife started for Justice Oluwaseun at right guard.

The starting tackles remained the same: Zion Nelson (left) and Jarrid Williams (right).

Gaynor, a fifth-year redshirt junior, had made 27 consecutive starts.

It was Clark’s first career start at center. He had started at guard (left and right) the past two seasons.

Gilbert Frierson replaced Amari Carter at starting striker.

Hall suspended

Safety Gurvan Hall was suspended for the game for violating team rules and replaced by Williams. Williams also played in the first three games and had three tackles before Saturday.

CCSU QB from Miramar

Central Connecticut State quarterback Romelo Williams, listed as 6-1 and 185 pounds, might be familiar to South Florida high school football fans. He played at MIramar High and led the Patriots to a 44-27 upset over then-national-No. 13 Fort Lauderdale St. Thomas Aquinas his senior season in 2017.

Williams, now classified as a redshirt sophomore, was 15 of 28 for 132 yards and an interception. He was sacked by Jordan Miller, Zach McCloud and Jahfari Harvey.

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