The former five-star wide receiver from Trinity High School is expected to be one of the Cardinals’ top weapons on offense this season.
And he’ll do that after learning some hard lessons the past year.
Quick saw limited action last season as a true freshman, struggling some with dropped balls late in the season, behind senior Damian Copeland.
He was then cited – and later had the citation dismissed – by U of L police in May for possession of marijuana in his U of L campus apartment. All of the above were lessons that Quick says he’s “learned a lot” from in life.
”We make mistakes,” Quick said. “I was stupid and made some dumb decisions. I had to do whatever coach (Bobby) Petrino wanted me to do. I’m just doing whatever he asks, keeping my head up and staying out of trouble.”
Petrino said last week that Quick had done the necessary requirements by the coaching staff to start on Monday in the opener against Miami.
”He’s done everything we ask of him,” Petrino said.
With DeVante Parker sidelines by a broken bone in his foot, Quick is expected to be a major weapon for the Cardinals in the game against the Hurricanes and throughout the first season in the ACC.
”He’s a very explosive kid and I think he’s grown up a lot this offseason,” offensive coordinator Garrick McGee said. “He had a set back but handled it well and you can see his maturity. Sometimes when you are a really young kid that type of thing happens and you get to mature really fast.
”James is a different player now mentally and physically. You have to learn from your mistakes. He made a mistake – I call it fail and forward.”
After a record-breaking career at Trinity, Quick was named MVP of the U.S. Army All-American Bowl and was the highest-rated recruit ever signed at U of L. He came into last year’s fall camp with a lot of expectations.
But he struggled as a freshman.
Quick played in nine games but only had six catches for 73 yards, including a 31-yard catch in a win at South Florida. He scored his only touchdown against Central Florida when he picked up a blocked punt and raced into the end zone.
Always a star in high school, Quick said he “learned a lot,” from his freshman season and is thankful to have played behind Copeland.
”Damian taught me a lot,” he said. “I think last year really got me prepared for this year. It was tough at times, but I just had to fight through it.”
Quick said the toughest part for him was the drops he had in games. He was always known in high school as a player who didn’t drop passes.
”I feel like it was a little bit of nerves going out there and playing on that stage,” said Quick, who had five catches for 152 yards and one TD in the spring game.
Now, with his drops and his mistakes behind him Quick said he’s prepared to have a breakout season for the Cardinals. McGee said he’s “worked so hard” to get into the position he’s in as a starter.
”I’m excited,” Quick said. “I just want to do what I can to help the team win. The experience I had last year of playing in big games, learning the things that I did on and off the field, has me ready to play better this year.”