He has started 13 games during his Hurricanes career, winning 11 of them. He engineered the game-winning drive that helped Miami snap a seven-game losing streak to rival Florida State and helped lead the Hurricanes to their first Coastal Division title.
As No. 10 Miami prepares for its Dec. 30 matchup against Wisconsin in the Orange Bowl, his 25 touchdown passes are tied with two Miami greats — Ken Dorsey and Bernie Kosar — for sixth-most in a single season. And yet, there are still questions about whether quarterback Malik Rosier will be able to keep his job beyond the end of the season.
Perhaps more surprising than that? The fact that Rosier — a redshirt junior — is fine with the idea of having to compete to remain Miami's starter. In fact, he embraces it, knowing the more young quarterbacks such as N'Kosi Perry, Evan Shirreffs, Cade Weldon and the newly signed Jarren Williams push him, the more he'll develop and the better he'll play.
"If you talk to any of the greats, they always talk about competing. That's what makes them great. I don't want to come here and not compete," said Rosier, who has thrown for 2,917 yards this season. "When me and (former Miami quarterback) Brad (Kaaya) came in together, everyone knew the starting job was going to be a competition. (Former offensive coordinator James Coley) even told us we were going to come in and compete. The reason you come to Miami is to compete, to earn your position and win it every year. I love to compete . At the end of the day, it's not just going to make me better. It's going to make N'Kosi, the new freshmen, Evan, Cade, it's going to make all of us better."
Though he's led the Hurricanes (10-2) to some significant wins — including over Florida State, Virginia Tech and then third-ranked Notre Dame — Rosier has had his struggles this season.
He's been occasionally streaky, missing some targets then connecting on well-placed passes. Those connections never really came in Miami's last two games, a stunning 24-14 loss at Pittsburgh that ended the Hurricanes' quest for an unbeaten regular season and a 38-3 loss to Clemson in the ACC Championship Game that knocked the Hurricanes from national championship contention.
Against Pittsburgh, Rosier struggled so badly he was briefly pulled from the game by coach Mark Richt, eventually returning to finish 14 of 32 for 180 yards in his first loss as a starter. In the ACC Championship, he was 14 of 29 for 110 yards with two interceptions.
Since, Miami's coaches have wanted him to focus on some of the little things in his game and having him adopt a sort of training camp-like mentality as the Hurricanes prepare for the sixth-ranked Badgers (12-1).
Rosier said he's been working on putting more air under his passes and paying attention to details like his footwork, noting, "sometimes you get so focused on the season, you miss the small details which actually help you in the bigger picture."
So far, his coaches say he's embraced that challenge, too. After that, they're looking forward to seeing what he can do when pushed by Miami's younger quarterbacks in spring practice and beyond.
"He's got to secure that spot by playing better and by doing things this offseason to make him a better quarterback. Now, he's having to figure out exactly who he is and what he can do right now, not necessarily what he wants to do in the future . and then do it, do it to the best of his ability," quarterbacks coach Jon Richt said. "He's done a great job of that this week. He's a guy that is very smart, can control our offense, runs our offense great and when he really is on — throwing the ball like against Notre Dame and Virginia Tech — he did a great job of putting the ball on the money. Later on, he got a little bit off target and I think it got to his head a little bit and he's done a great job of rebounding and coming back and fighting through it."