HS Coach Comments on Sam Shields

Fred Gilmore, head coach at Sarasota Booker High School (13-2 on the season, 3A State Runner-up), could not ask for more from any one player than he was able to get from University of Miami commit WR Sam Shields (6-0,175).

Sam Shields was named USA Today Second-Team All-American.

"He had 67 receptions, 22 receiving touchdowns, 25 touchdowns overall, he shattered all single season receiving records we had at Booker," Gilmore said.

Canes fans can expect more than just on the field accolades from Shields.

"Sam is a better person off the field than on. He is a kid that everyone adores, from the faculty, to kids around him. Sam is never a problem away from the field," Gilmore said.

Coach Gilmore thinks Sam's demeanor helps him be a great player.

"His personality is very loose. One minute he is joking and funny, the next it is time to prepare. He does what he has to do," Gilmore said.

Shields's former coach is confident that he made a good decision by committing to Miami.

"You cannot go wrong with Miami; we already have two players there, in Baraka Atkins and Chris Zellner. Sam is like a little brother to both those guys. I know he looked to them when considering Miami and they were a major influence in his decision. He enjoys UM, he has been inside the program and knows what is going on with the team," Gilmore said.

Beyond pure athletic ability Sam will bring much more to the table.

"Sam's speed (4.4 40 yard dash) and route running are his best attributes on the field. Sam makes himself do what a wide receiver needs to do to prepare and has worked hard on running precise routes," Gilmore said.

Sam has the potential to make an early difference on the field for the Canes.

"I may have a biased opinion but I think Sam can be an immediate impact at special teams and wide receiver. He is a playmaker. He will have to work at it though. I tell you this, if Sam graduated on Saturday he would be on campus first thing on Sunday," Gilmore said.

Beyond all of Sam's talents he still has some work to do before getting to campus.

"He needs to increase and maintain his strength, as well as his focus. Sam relished playing against top competition and always gave 100%. In high school he played against a good cornerback everyday in Alabama commit Marquis Johnson, but at the next level he will face great competition every practice and game, so he must remain focused," Gilmore said.

Despite the recent firings of several Hurricane coaches, Gilmore believes Shields is still unyielding in his decision to be a Cane next season.

"We worry about what he can control, nothing more. Sam could not control what happened. I know Sam feels for coach Kehoe who along with Coach Johnson helped recruit Sam, but there is nothing Sam could do. The coaching changes are bigger than the kids. Regardless, Sam will prepare and perform to his best ability," Gilmore said.

Coach Gilmore sees in Shields some likeness to a former Hurricane great.

"He reminds me most of Andre Johnson. He goes and gets the ball. Andre was bigger than Sam but the football was his. Together with speed and grace Sam has it all. When the ball is in the air it is Sam Shields ball just like it was with Andre," Gilmore said.

Asked where Coach Gilmore thought Sam would be ten years from now, Gilmore confidently replied,

"In the playoffs, and then on his way to Hawaii for the Pro Bowl."

For the sake of Canes fans we can only hope that several of the ten years are played in Miami helping the Hurricanes reclaim their national dominance.

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