Akieem Jolla is a 6-foot-4, 190-pound wide receiver from New Orleans who will be a junior this fall. In his career he has 20 receptions for 219 yards and two touchdowns.
Last year he was primarily utilized on short routes including screen passes. This spring he has caught a number of deep passes downfield and is looking to become a downfield threat for Miami in 2005.
"I have caught some deep passes this spring," Jolla said. "I've been making people happy--my coaches and my teammates. I just want to keep things going."
Jolla is a tall receiver with outstanding speed. He is best utilized downfield on 'go' routes and has showed better ball adjustment this spring than he has displayed earlier in his career.
"I am doing a lot of things the coaches are asking me to to do," Jolla said. "I am making more plays than I usually make. I just have to work on concentrating and focusing on the task at hand."
For Akieem, the task at hand is to be "great in all aspects of the game" and not just as a downfield threat.
In Saturday's practice he caught a 15-yard crossing route, but turned it upfield for a 50-yard touchdown. He used his long speed to run by defenders. Most of the time he catches the deep pass and goes into the endzone untouched, but this time he had to go through traffic in order to find the endzone.
Quarterback Kirby Freeman was impressed with the play.
"His touchdown was exciting to watch," Freeman said. "He is one of those receivers once he gets the ball in his hands there is no telling what is going to happen.
Freeman has found Jolla a number of times this spring and has been impressed by his ability and work ethic.
"Jolla is a great receiver," Freeman said. "He busts his tail every day and has a great attitude. We are excited about him for this upcoming season."
In a number of practices this spring Jolla has caught a deep ball particularly in one-on-one situations. On Friday Jolla went up aganst Anthony Reddick and came down with the deep pass from Freeman.
"I ran my route and got deep position on the defender, then I watched the ball come in," Jolla recalled.
The Miami Hurricanes have completed 11 of their 15 practices this spring. A number of players have been dealing with injuries, but overall the team has shown positive signs.
"Spring practices are coming along good," Jolla said. "We are progressing and each day I think we are getting better. We are trying to improve on all areas of the game."
The wide receivers who are led by senior Sinorice Moss and junior Ryan Moore have shown more production than in the last two years.
"Everybody is working hard out here," Jolla said. "We are playing together because one man can't run the show."
Moss, Moore, and Jolla are entering their fourth year with the team. The three 2002 signees have combined for 105 receptions, 1452 yards, and 10 touchdowns in their careers.
Jolla is the only receiver from outside the state of Florida, but all of the receivers are close.
"We are like brothers," Jolla said. "We are real, real close. If anybody needs anything, we are right there."
The team will resume practice on Tuesday at 3 pm. Spring practices will conclude on April 9 with the spring game at Lockhart Stadium.
Christopher Stock is a Senior Writer & Assistant Editor for CanesTime and can be contacted by emailing him at firstname.lastname@example.org
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