UM freshmen arrive on campus

Christmas in the first week of August? In South Florida? That was the feeling inside the University of Miami Hecht Athletic Center –despite the 90 temperature outside- as the 2002 Hurricanes incoming freshmen class arrived on campus for the first time today to tour the surroundings, undergo physical examinations and check into their dormitories.

Among the first-year Hurricanes that caused quite a stir with photographers, television cameramen and newspaper reporters: quarterback Marc Guillon of Orinda, Calif., tight end Eric Winston of Midland, Texas, Aikeem Jolla out of New Orleans, Louisiana, Anthony Wollschlager out of Ft. Lauderdale and local product Alex Pou, an offensive lineman out of Coral Gables High.

Guillon, who attended Miramonte High, the same school as UM quarterback Ken Dorsey, was all smiles under the bright lights of several camera crews as he credited Dorsey, in part, for his decision to come to Coral Gables.

"Ken was a pretty big part of my decision I mean, along with some other stuff," said Guillon, who threw for 2,200 yards and 23 touchdowns to lead Miramonte to a 13-0 record as a senior. "I mean we have great coaches here and I think this is the best staff in America. But he was a big influence, obviously he's from my school so we're friends and I kind of had the idea that he would help me out with a lot of stuff."

"I got here and the first day he kind of grabbed me and took me out and threw with some of the receivers. Ken has kind of just taking me under his wing and I really appreciate that because he didn't have to do that."

Guillon said that although the comparisons with Dorsey will come at some point during his UM career he won't put any added pressure on himself.

"Well, I mean there's a lot of pressure," Guillon said. "Everybody obviously compares us, but I'm just going to do my best. I'm not trying to play his career. Ken has done an amazing job, but I'm going to play my game and career."

Despite being issued jersey number 12 (that of former UM quarterback and recent Hall of Fame inductee), Guillon said that he never followed professional football as a youngster.

"I didn't really watch him. When I was little I was never really a big fan of pro football because I was always a college football fan," said Guillon. " I never really got to see him play or follow him that much."

Guillon, who has been working out with Dorsey during the summer, said that the coaching staff has not talked to him about red-shirting this year despite the Hurricanes going into the season with three quarterbacks on their roster.

"Whatever helps out the team," said Guillon. "Whatever helps out the team in the long run is what I'm willing to do."

The 6-7, 270-pound Winston, who had 20 receptions, 220 yards and four touchdowns last year at Lee High, already is hearing whispers about being compared to former UM tight end and New York Giants first-round pick Jeremy Shockey. But all Winston is looking forward to is coming in and earning playing time. The prospect of having three tight ends on the team was a main factor in Winston choosing Miami over Texas A&M and Oklahoma.

"That's why I came down here. I know this is a place were they make great tight ends," Winston said. "It was a situation were I could come into the team and contribute right away so that's what I was really looking for in the recruiting process. I'm just hoping to go out there and help."

Winston said that he probably would have still selected to play at Miami even if Shockey would have stayed for his senior season. He went on to say that Shockey helped him earlier this summer with route running and blocking techniques.

"I tell you this even if Jeremy would have stayed I would have come here because I feel I still would have learned a lot," said Winston.

In all, 16 freshmen players reported, along with tight end Kaylan Little, out of Valencia Community College in Orlando. But several players expected to show up were not present, most notably former Suncoast High (FL) running back / defensive back Devin Hester, Central High standout Darnell Jenkins and Edison High defensive back Terrell Walden.

Alton Wright, a defensive tackle out of Kilgore Junior College in Houston Texas, did not report as well. And Coker acknowledged that the players missing, including Hester and Wright, still have a few academic issues to correct before they are allowed to join the team.

"Well, I think we certainly do," said Coker when asked if the players that did not report still had academic issues to work out. "I think that some players that will not report –today- because they have some academic issues that they need to finish up. Alton Wright for one, Devin, Terrell (Walden) and Darnell, those for sure will definitely have some things that they need to finish up and we'll see how that progress goes." Coker said that although he wasn't sure on when the four players would come in he expects them to arrive after ironing out their academic standing with the university. Although, he said earlier this week that all players had passed their academic tests, Coker wasn't sure on when they will turn up on campus.

At the risk of giving out false information, Coker did not want to guess on when the players would be available to practice.

"I don't want to say they're here and they're not." Coker said. "But hopefully everything will be worked out academically. I don't have any timetable. Certainly, for us the sooner the better and I know for the players the sooner the better because they are all really anxious to be here."

All freshmen will practice for the first time Thursday at 8:30 a.m. and 3:30 p.m. and will start two-a-day practices –with the upperclassmen- on Saturday.

Practices will be open to the public from August 10-16.

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