High Expectations For Shields

CORAL GABLES, Fla. - Wide receiver Sam Shields is expected to make the biggest impact amongst freshmen this season for the Hurricanes. Shields is a 6-foot-1, 180-pound receiver from Sarasota Booker High School.

Shields caught 67 passes for 1,201 yards and 22 touchdowns as a senior

How excited are you to be here after the discussion on whether or not you would qualify?

"It is very exciting knowing that I am in and having all of that other stuff behind me. Now it is just time to work hard and get into the lineup to play against Florida State."

You have created quite a buzz with what you have done in high school and what you have done in the summer workouts, how do you feel about earning the respect of the veterans on the team?

"It feels great. Coming in here I always had confidence doing my stuff like I did in high school. Just going out there and playing my game. Ryan Moore, Lance Leggett, and all them have given me a little bit more techniques to get off the ball better and things like that."

How much of the playbook have you learned so far?

"I am learning a lot. I have been here since June and right when I got here I got on the playbook. I got with the receivers and they helped me out too. I got with the quarterback and that helped me out too."

Going into the fall, where do you stand with how well you know the playbook?

"I say that I am top of it. I know the formations and the audibles--that is coming along too. There is more stuff that I have to learn."

What made you want to come to UM?

"When I saw the tape on how the family is here plus it is not too far from home. Plus I had Baraka Atkins and Chris Zellner (Booker grads) on my back trying to get me here."

How much did Baraka and Chris help get you to UM?

"Every time they came to one of my games they talked to me about how the family is at the University of Miami. They just stayed on my back. Baraka's brother, Dumaka Atkins (Florida State), stayed on my back too. They were kind of competiting."

What is the first game against Florida State going to be like?

"It is all a mental thing. A big crowd--I just have to get that out of my mind and play football. Florida State and Miami is a big rival game. All of the big rival games you have to get ready to play and have no mistakes because that big crowd is looking at you."

With the receiver corps the way it is now with Moore out the first two games and not a lot of depth, how important is your role?

"It is very important knowing that that situation happened. We getting that past us and we just working hard. Like Ryan Hill said, the receivers are hungry and all that stuff last year is past us and we have to get ready to catch some balls."

What is the most difficult part of playing in college that you have seen so far?

"The speed and smartness of the defense. You have got to know the coverages and all that. You really can't go out there and beat a cornerback. In high school I just used to run by cornerbacks, but it is a lot more different now. You really have to use a lot of technique."

What is your biggest attribute?

"My speed. I ran a 4.39 in June when I got down here."

Will you be involved with kickoff returns this year?

"Coach Mosely talked to me about that. I am really ready for that because I used to love it in high school. I returned punts in high school, but it is way more different now. When I saw all that, I just said that I would stick with kickoff returns."

You are wearing number 83 this year after wearing 4 in high school, did they give it to you or was it something you wanted?

"When I was being recruited I asked for 4 and they said they would work something out. But then Jeff Merk called me and said that Glenn Sharpe got 4. He asked if I wanted 80, 81, or 83 so I picked 83."

Christopher Stock can be reached at stock@canestime.com

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