Few believed it would happen, but the trend sweeping University of Miami seniors has continued with a starter who just completed his sixth season of college football.
Hurricanes 6-6, 308-pound right tackle Jarrid Williams announced Saturday night he will return to UM in 2021 for his seventh year of college football instead of entering the NFL Draft — a significant victory for the Canes, who will have their entire starting offensive line back in 2021.
Williams, who played with UM quarterback D’Eriq King at Houston before both transferred to Miami before the 2020 season, was initially thought to be leaning toward the draft, but he obviously thought otherwise. The NCAA has allowed all players an extra year of eligibility because of the COVID-19 pandemic, and Williams will have seven total years because of a medical redshirt he received in 2019.
“Jarrid was an old senior as it was,’’ UM offensive line coach Garin Justice said on Dec. 1 when asked about Williams’ plans for next season. “He’s been playing quite a while.’’
Said Williams as part of his Instagram post: “The moment I arrived in Miami this past summer I knew I was home. Joining this team was the easiest and best decision I’ve made and I’ll always be grateful for this opportunity Coach [Manny] Diaz and Coach Justice have given me.
“...A lot was accomplished this past year but walking off that field Dec. 29 something felt off. I’ve spent these last few weeks praying about my future and thinking about my next step. I ended the 2020 season and I didn’t leave everything I had on the field. I looked back and realized there’s room for improvement, goals to achieve, and everything to prove.’’
The trend of returning players, in particular seniors, began with King on Dec. 26 and has since included senior leading receiver Mike Harley, senior defensive tackle Jon Ford and senior linebacker/defensive end Zach McCloud.
The returning underclassmen include redshirt junior safety Bubba Bolden, redshirt junior punter Lou Hedley and junior running back Cam’Ron Harris.
King, who is recuperating from a torn ACL of his right knee, called Williams a “security blanket for me’’ during the season. “He’s holding up pretty well.
“We went through some growing pains, and that’s expected with such a young unit... Adding Jarrid has been huge. He’s a mature guy. He’s a guy who’s played a lot of football.’’
Williams, from Cedar Hill, Texas, started all 10 games in which he played this past season. The Canes finished 32nd in total offense compared to 98th in 2019 — 29th in passing offense (52nd in ‘19) and 67th in rushing offense (120th in ‘19).
The Canes allowed 30 sacks (for 190 lost yards) in 2020, tied with South Florida for 116th nationally. Nonetheless, it was an improvement from allowing 51 (for 316 lost yards) in 2019, ranked 128th of 130 FBS teams.
When you factor the sacks per game allowed, UM ranked 98th this past season compared to 127th in 2019.
Williams redshirted at Houston in 2015, had 61 total snaps in eight games in ‘16, made two starts in three games played in ‘17, and made his biggest mark in ‘18 — King’s big year there — starting 13 games for a Houston offense that didn’t allow a sack in five games and finished fifth nationally in scoring offense and seventh in total offense.
In 2019, Williams played four games before taking a medical redshirt because of an ankle injury.