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At ‘Quarterback U,’ Bernie Kosar was the finest the ‘Canes ever had

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Once, it was Quarterback U.

Perhaps, it will be again.

With senior Brad Kaaya at the controls, and with coach Mark Richt in charge,  the University of Miami could harken back to the days of Bernie Kosar, Vinny Testaverde and Gino Torretta.

In those days, it was the quarterback who held things together as UM won its national titles. Testaverde and Torretta won Heismans.

Lately, it has;’t been the same for the team at the position. But as Kaaya enters the season, you can only wonder how high on the list he might get.

Here, in Quarterback Week at the St. PetersBlog, we rank the top 10 Miami has had to offer:

1. Bernie Kosar (1983-1984): The true run of excellence of the Miami Hurricanes started in 1983, and with Kosar. Kosar led the team to its most memorable win, a 31-30 upset of Nebraska, for the national title. Kosar would finish fourth in the Heisman Trophy voting before leaving for the NFL, as the No. 1 overall choice in the NFL draft.

2. Vinny Testarverde (1983-1986): It would be unfair to remember Testaverde for his NFL career. Testaverde won the Heisman in 1986 and led his team to the No. 2 ranking. Testaverde threw five interceptions in the national title loss to Penn State.

3. Gino Torretta (1989-1993): Torretta played in two national title games and won the Heisman in 1992.

4. Steve Walsh (1985-1988): Walsh was 23-1 as a starter while at Miami, including a championship in 1987. He finished fourth in the Heisman Trophy voting and was a No. 1 draft pick in the NFL Supplemental draft.

5. Jim Kelly (1979-1982): In the days before titles, Kelly – an NFL Hall of Famer – was the quarterback for the Hurricanes. Kelly threw 33 touchdown passes, setting himself up to be a No. 1 draft pick by the Buffalo Bills.

6. Ken Dorsey (1998-2002): Dorsey was 38-2 with the Hurricanes, winning a national championship and finishing second another year. He finished third and fifth in the Heisman race. In his career, he threw 86 touchdown passes.

7. Craig Erickson (1987-1990): Erickson was good enough to finish eighth in the Heisman Trophy. He started for two seasons. He was drafted twice by the NFL, in the fifth round by the Eagles in 1991 and the fourth round by the Bucs in 1992.

8. George Mira (1961-1963): Mira was an early star with Miami, finishing fifth and 10th in the Heisman Trophy race. His son, George Jr., later played linebacker for the Hurricanes. He was drafted in the second round by San Francisco and played eight seasons in the NFL.

9. Brad Kaaya (2014-present): Kaaya, still going with the Hurricanes, has received some light buzz for this year’s Heisman. If he can finally get his team past FSU, it has a puncher’s chance to contend in the ACC.

10. Brock Berlin (2003-2004): Berlin transferred in from the University of Florida and had two solid years for the ‘Canes. He was 19-5 and finished second for Player of the Year. He led Miami to a 38-33 comeback win over Florida (UM trailed 33-10 in the third period)

Gary Shelton is one of the most recognized and honored sportswriters in the history of the state. He has won the APSE's national columnist of the year twice and finished in the top 10 eight times. He was named the Florida Sportswriter of the Year six times. Gary joined SaintPetersBlog in the spring, helping to bring a sports presence to the website. Over his time in sports writing, Gary has covered 29 Super Bowls, 10 Olympics, Final Fours, Masters, Wimbledons and college national championships. He was there when the Bucs won a Super Bowl, when the Lightning won a Stanley Cup and when the Rays went to a World Series. He has seen Florida, FSU and Miami all win national championships, and he covered Bear Bryant, Bobby Bowden and Don Shula along the way. He and his wife Janet have four children: Eric, Kevin, K.C. and Tori. To contact, visit

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