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Miami tabs freshman Brad Kaaya to start at quarterback

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Steve Dykes / USA TODAY Sports
Brad Kaaya -- who went 23-3 during his high school career -- beat out transfer Jay Heaps for the starting spot.


True freshman quarterback Brad Kaaya will start in the season opener for Miami (Fla.) on Sept. 1 at Louisville.

Coach Al Golden named Kaaya the starter over senior Jake Heaps on Sunday. Kaaya will be the first true freshman to start an opener at quarterback for UM since Jacory Harris in 2008.

The 6-foot-4, 218-pound Kaaya is from the Los Angeles area and was a national top-150 recruit. His mom, Angela Means Kaaya, is an actress best-known for her role in the movie "Friday."

Heaps (6-1, 210) is a fifth-year senior who has been a starter at BYU and Kansas; he left Kansas following last season, and because he has graduated he has immediate eligibility at UM.

Miami's starter this season was supposed to be fifth-year senior Ryan Williams, who began his career at Memphis and spent the past two seasons as a reserve at UM. But Williams -- who followed Geno Smith as the starter at powerhouse Miramar (Fla.) High, in the Fort Lauderdale suburbs -- tore his ACL during spring practice, and that elevated redshirt freshman Kevin Olsen (6-3, 210) into the top spot. Olsen, though, struggled during the spring and has been suspended for at least opener.

Williams has been at recent workouts, though he has been in a no-contact jersey and hasn't done much running around. He has said he plans to return this season, so the quarterback derby could become mighty crowded in early October.

Miami (Fla.) opens with Louisville and also plays Nebraska and Duke in September.

Mike Huguenin can be reached at mike.huguenin@nfl.com. You also can follow him on Twitter @MikeHuguenin.

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