Working Hard

We all know the saying ‘everything happens for a reason.' Sometimes it's hard to understand that at different points in our lives. There are some things just don't work out the way we want them to. We have two choices, dwell on the unfortunate circumstance or play the cards we are dealt.

Wide receiver Akieem Jolla is playing the cards he has been dealt and working hard on the scout team this season as a redshirt.

"The season is going great for me," Jolla said. " I am coming out every day getting better at running routes, catching the ball, learning the plays and just learning the position better. I am understanding what I have to do and getting more mature. Also, just getting bigger, faster, and stronger.

Jolla played in all 13 games last year as a freshman catching five passes for 96 yards and a touchdown. As a senior at St. Augustine High School in New Orleans, Louisiana, Jolla had 34 catches for 915 yards (26.9 yards per catch) and 11 touchdowns. He also lettered in basketball and was all-state in four track events.

The beginning of this season did not start well for Jolla as he served a three-game suspension for a violation of team rules. Coker then announced that Jolla would most likely be redshirting this season. Jolla has put the suspension and the redshirt status behind him.

"When coach first announced to me that I would redshirt, I just said ‘alright, it gives me a chance to graduate,'" Jolla said. "It gives me an extra year with the coaches to get better. The redshirt is helpful so I am looking at it as a plus. I'm not thinking about that (the suspension) anymore. I am just thinking about getting better and helping the team out to win a national championship."

It is important for Jolla to work hard this season as the team will be left with just six receivers after this year due to the graduations of Kevin Beard and Jason Geathers, who has recently moved to running back.

"He's doing great," wide receivers coach Curtis Johnson said, "except I really don't see him too much, but every time I look up he is making a big play, another catch. He can run so he just has to make the catch."

Jolla has a good relationship with coach Johnson that extends beyond the Hurricane practice field.

"I love coach Johnson as a father," Jolla said. "I didn't really have a father so I look at him as a father-figure."

It's not easy to accept a redshirt especially after completing a freshman season and working hard in the off-season to get ready for the season.

"I told him to just keep his head up and keep working," Johnson said. "To stay competitive, which he does, because those guys (the defense) go at it all the time. You have to keep going. He is having a hell of a year on the scout team."

In practice Jolla and the rest of the scout team offense goes up against the first-team defense that ranks as one of the best in the country.

"I see great guys (on defense) every day," Jolla said. "I go up against all-Americans and guys that want to be successful in the NFL. They play hard every down on the field."

Another guy on the scout team that has received a lot of attention is quarterback Kyle Wright. Wright came in as one of the nation's best high school quarterbacks and is working hard on the scout team as well.

"Kyle Wright is doing excellent," Jolla said. "He has confidence and is coming together with not just me, but with every receiver. He is throwing the ball to points and we (the receivers) are catching the ball."

Being a Hurricane is something that Jolla has always wanted to do and is thankful for his chance to wear the orange and green.

"I wanted to come to Miami ever since I was a kid," Jolla said. "My dream came true and I am blessed that it happened. I thank God every day for the opportunity."

Akieem, are you having fun at Miami?

"I love Miami. It's my home and I want to keep it that way."

Christopher Stock is a Staff Columnist for CanesTime and can be contacted by emailing him at stock@grassy.com.

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