Miami starting quarterback D'Eriq King is doubtful to play in the Hurricanes' upcoming game against Central Connecticut State, coach Manny Diaz told reporters on Wednesday. King sustained an injury to his right (throwing) shoulder during the second half of the team's Week 3 loss to Michigan State when he was tackled awkwardly while trying to evade pressure. He briefly left the field to get checked out by trainers, but returned on the next drive despite clearly favoring the injury for the remainder of the game.
King, who did not practice on Tuesday, threw for 388 yards, two touchdowns and two interceptions in the 38-17 loss to the Spartans. The dual-threat star has 767 passing yards, three touchdown passes, four interceptions and 96 rushing yards in three games this season.
With King out, Diaz will likely turn to either redshirt freshman Tyler Van Dyke or true freshman Jake Garcia on Saturday. Van Dyke, a 6-foot-4, 224-pound native of Glastonbury, Connecticut, has only attempted one pass this season. Garcia was a four-star prospect in the Class of 2021, but hasn't attempted a pass during his first season with the program.
"Both freshmen have been getting reps with the first team," Diaz said, per 247Sports. "Tyler and Jake have done really good things in practice. They obviously went the entire spring with them both so if that's the direction we have to go, we are pretty excited about watching those guys this Saturday."
Diaz doesn't expect to settle on one or the other before toe meets leather on Saturday.
"I think both will play for certain," Diaz continued. "We have to go in and watch this Wednesday practice to see if anybody is ahead after watching film from today, but both will play."
The injury to King is the latest blow for Miami in a season that has not gone according to plan. The Hurricanes entered 2021 ranked No. 14 in the AP Top 25, but sits at 1-2 with a tight win over Appalachian State. King, who is playing his sixth college season, was predicted to be one of the top contenders for the Heisman Trophy. If his injury lingers, the disappointing start for the Hurricanes could turn into a disaster.
For now, it's best for the Hurricanes to play it safe with King's health. The team has a quick turnaround for Week 5, hosting Virginia on Thursday, Sept. 30.