King injured the shoulder in the third game of the season against Michigan State, but finished the 38-17 home loss. He missed the next two games, including a heartbreaking last-second 30-28 loss to Virginia in their most recent game on Sept. 30. Freshman Tyler Van Dyke started in place of King in those two games, and will start for Miami moving forward.
During his weekly Zoom with reporters on Monday, Diaz did not go into detail on the nature of the injury. After seeking out second opinions, King made the decision to have surgery over the weekend, a tough blow after he spent the entire offseason rehabbing a torn ACL in his right knee he suffered in Miami’s bowl game to return for the season opener against Alabama.
“Emotionally when you see a guy like that who lays it on the line and is such a great teammate and such a hard worker, you want guys like that to have success,” Diaz said. “That’s ultimately what Hollywood movies are built on. What he went through in the bowl game, and the way the guy rehabbed, the way the guy worked in the offseason inspired everybody.
“D’Eriq deserves better. But the good part is his story is not done being written. I know that D’Eriq King’s DNA is going to make him very successful going forward. And his reward is coming. He’s going to be a success, I promise you that.”
King, who transferred to Miami in the spring of 2020 after four seasons at Houston, would have an option to return for a seventh season, but he has not spoken about that with Diaz just yet.
“He could play for us as long as he wants to, but that’s going to be up to D’Eriq and what his thoughts are in terms of his career going forward,” Diaz said.
King is scheduled to have surgery this week and will remain with the team for the remainder of the season. Diaz said he expects King to travel with the Hurricanes when they play at North Carolina on Saturday and be on the sideline to help Van Dyke.
“He has a massive presence among our quarterbacks,” Diaz said. “He can see so much during the course of a game and sometimes that player-to-player communication can unlock some doors that coach-to-player communication doesn’t.”
In three games this season, King threw for 767 yards with three touchdowns and four interceptions. Over the course of his career (including at Houston), King has thrown for 8,378 yards and rushed for 2,055, with 114 total touchdowns.
Miami is in a precarious spot at quarterback now. Jake Garcia, another promising freshman, is also out indefinitely after undergoing surgery on an ankle injury sustained against Central Connecticut State. The current backups on the depth chart are walk-on Ryan Rizk and Peyton Matocha.
In addition, starting center Corey Gaynor is out for the season after undergoing knee surgery.