Is Brad Kaaya the best quarterback that nobody is talking about?
The 6-4, 210-pound sophomore from California has earned his stripes. He stands cool in the pocket and doesn’t get rattled regardless of the pressure. His size and arm strength among his many attributes.
But his ability to check down on his progressions, find the open receivers and take what defenses give him could be perhaps what makes him a quarterback that people will be taking about in the coming years. Because Kaaya only seems to be improving under center and feeling more and more comfortable as a leader on the team despite his youth.
“Now he’s being a leader, if not a commander,” Canes head coach Al Golden said on the Joe Rose Show.
“I think there’s a difference there. This is clearly Brad’s team. I think what Brad’s done is unified us. I think Brad has brought everybody together. He’s so unselfish and he sets such a high standard.”
It’s not like Kaaya is being ignored. He’s had his share of acknowledgements. Coming into the 2015 season, Kaaya was named to the Maxwell, Davey O’Brien, and Manning Awards watch lists. Still, when talk centers around the top quarterbacks in the country, the name of Kaaya is rarely if ever heard. And that just seems to be an oversight for one reason or another.
Winning would help in that regard. It’s true, whether correct or not, that the quarterbacks on teams with top records get the first look. To be considered among the best you must first win and win consistently. That’s where Kaaya’s teammates at Miami are letting him down.
The Canes haven’t sniffed a Top 25 ranking, although after a 3-0 start to this season they did garner some votes. However, back-to-back road losses at Cincinnati and Florida State have taken care of that.
Kaaya has done his part. A career-high 405-yard passing night (three touchdowns) against unbeaten and highly-ranked Florida State should have been enough to put up another ‘W’ but the Canes could not keep the Noles out of the end zone enough times to come away with a victory.
His 379-yard passing game vs. Nebraska was barely enough to get the Canes a win. At least he was recognized as ACC Player of the Week for that performance.
Come on man, the guy leads the ACC in passing. With 1,495 yards, Kaaya is way ahead of the pack. He’s thrown at least one touchdown pass in 17 of the 18 games he’s played at The U. He’s thrown for 200 yards or more in 13 of those 18 games; five of those went for 300 or more yards. And now he has a 400-yard game to add to his rising resume.
Does he have to take tickets and sell the popcorn, too?
He takes care of the football. In his last 391 passing attempts, Kaaya has thrown just four interceptions. He didn’t throw a pick in 49 attempts against Florida State on Saturday, while spraying the ball around the lot. Kaaya completed passes to 10 different receivers.
I’m not sure what else he has to do. Wait, yes I do. He has to turn 29-24 losses to Florida State into wins over the arch-rival.