Winter Hopes To Use Summer As Springboard

Auburn, Ala.—The switch from the West Coast to the spread offense for the 2008 season means a need for depth at several different receiver positions.

One incoming true freshman hoping to find a spot in the rotation is Derek Winter, a highly productive receiver from Plant Senior High School in Tampa.

"I'm probably nervous and eager," Winter says a day before his first official Auburn practice. "It's kind of crazy that it's here so fast. The season's about to start, and I'm just kind of going to be thrown into it. Tomorrow will be fun."

Along with Barrett Trotter, Spencer Pybus and Drew Cole, Winter enrolled for full summer term classes and has been working out with the team since late May. He took a sociology and a theatre class over the summer.

"We were here all summer," Winter notes. "There were four of us that came up early, so we got here the 19th (of May) and we've been working out with the team ever since.

"There is definitely a jump from high school to college, but we made it fairly quickly," he adds. "I was here before I graduated and I had to go back after I had been here a week to graduate."

Winter played in a pass-oriented offense at Plant High catching passes from class of 2009 Georgia commitment Aaron Murray. He got an offer late in the recruiting process from the Tigers and is now hoping for early playing time.

"They're giving me a chance," Winter notes. "When I get out there I'll have to prove myself, obviously. I think there's a chance I'll play. Whatever is best for me. The coaches are going to know that more than I am. If I can play then I'd definitely be happy to play.

"They're having me working at the ‘Z' in the seven-on-sevens over the summer," he adds. The ‘Z' position is one of the outside receiver spots, normally on the right side. "I've talked to some of the coaches and I'm not really type-casted into any certain role.

"At the ‘Z' spot I've had a lot of questions and I've been able to ask Rod (Smith), who is starting there now. I've been able to talk with him a bunch, and I've kind of made friends with a couple other guys. Montez (Billings) is also working there and Charles Olatunji, too. He's been a big help.

First practice is at 9:45 a.m. on Saturday.

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