A native of Mirmonte, California, Marc Guillon (pronounced "gill-an")was a highly-recruited quarterback out of high school. As a prep senior he passed for 2,200 yards and 23 touchdowns against only seven interceptions, while leading his team to a 13-0 record. Guillon signed with Miami, and played in two games last season before a shoulder injury ended that year. He also considered Southern Cal, UCLA, LSU, Washington and Stanford. Heading into this season Guillon decided that he didn't figure into the Hurricanes' plans, so he decided to transfer.
Guillon recalled the conversation. "They just said they wanted me at Alabama. They needed a quarterback. In my conversations I just got an overall good feeling about them. It was a gut feeling.
"With Coach Shula's offense and his experience in the pros, that really attracted me as well. It's a good offense to learn."
Like most athletes, Guillon just wants a fair opportunity to compete and prove what he can do. He believes Alabama offers that chance. "It was a tough decision, but at the same time it was an easy decision," he said. "I have a lot of family here. I remember being out on this field when I was a little guy. We have family in Tuscaloosa, and they brought me out here as a little kid."
Guillon must sit out this season after transferring. He'll be a sophomore in 2004, with three years to play three. Guillon's scholarship counts against both Alabama's overall total and against its 2003 initial counters. His arrival pushes the Tide's 2003 numbers to 18, the maximum allowed.
Obviously Alabama fans have never seen Guillon in action, so he provided a quick scouting report. "I'm a pocket passer. I like to think that I make good decisions and read good defenses. I try to be a smart quarterback."
Guillon will spend his first year in Tuscaloosa, working on the scout team and learning Shula's offense. "It won't be as hard," he said. "We ran a lot of the same stuff at Miami. We used a lot of the same concepts, just different terminology. In that respect this year shouldn't be too hard, but it'll be a lot of learning. It should be a good year for me to sit out and observe. I'll run the scout team and get myself ready for next year."
Often when a player transfers, there are hard feelings all around. But that's not the case with Guillon and the Hurricanes.
He talked about his decision to leave Miami. "It was just a bad situation for me. I got off to a slow start. (The Miami coaches) wanted me to come in last year and back up Ken Dorsey as a true freshman. They decided I wasn't ready for that, and they kind of got down on me from the beginning. They immediately ran out and got another quarterback. It was just better for me to go somewhere else."
Interestingly, had things gone differently Guillon could easily have signed with Alabama. "I was here at camp the summer before my senior year (of high school)," Guillon recalled. "I was really looking hard at Alabama. But when I came here for the one-day camp and talked with Coach Franchione, I just got a bad feeling about him. Obviously I guess that was the right feeling.
"I decided to go somewhere else and try my luck. It didn't work out at Miami, so I think it's fate that I'm back here."
Guillon enrolled for fall classes Tuesday, one day before the deadline. Tuesday afternoon he was decked out in his Crimson practice uniform, working out with his new teammates.
"The first day was great," Guillon said afterwards. "I'm excited to be in this Alabama gear and to get out here on the practice field. It was good to get the first day out of the way, see how things go and get into a routine.
"I feel great right now. I'm just excited to be here."
NOTE: Guillon's signing gives the Tide four scholarshipped quarterbacks, normally considered the minimum number for a Division 1a team. Former minor-league pitcher Mike Machen also works at the position. However, strong indications are that the Tide still intends to sign a quarterback with the 2004 recruiting class.