The Fastest Freshman

DeMarcus Van Dyke was the team's fastest freshman this year and he spent some time working with the first team defense on Saturday. Read on to find out why, his thoughts on practice so far, and what his role will be on the team this year...

When DeMarcus Van Dyke was being recruited out of Monsignor Pace last year it was well known that he was one of the fastest recruits in all of Florida.

Van Dyke proved that when the freshmen went through testing earlier this month. He was the fastest of the group.

"I ran a 4.34," Van Dyke said. "The first 10 yards was 1.43."

At 6-foot-1 and having that type of speed, Van Dyke was able to match up well against every receive he faced at the prep level. The big thing with him was going to be his ability to put on some muscle weight to match up against the bigger, more physical receivers he'll face in college. He's done a good job of it so far.

"I'm 175 now," he said. "When I first came I was 162. I'm a ball-hawking corner. I think the ball is mine all the time. That's how I play."

The talented freshman corner has enjoyed a strong first month as a Hurricane and on Saturday he spent some time running with the first team defense.

"I went with the ones because Glenn Sharpe is down," he said. "Me and him were rotating in and out. I'm playing the outside. On the inside, you gotta be much bigger, like Randy Phillips at 205. He can blitz a lot. On the outside, you gotta cover a lot and that's what I'm doing."

While some of the new guys struggled with adjusting to the South Florida afternoon heat during the team's first two-a-day workout on Saturday, Van Dyke said he was able to handle it well.

"It wasn't any different at all," he said. "You just gotta get used to the heat. Living down, I'm kinda used to it."

In addition to his role as one of the team's key cornerbacks, Van Dyke has also been given some opportunities in the return game so far in practice.

"I'm just trying to help the team, if it's on kick return, punt return, defense, or offense. I'm just trying to help the team win a national championship this year."

Van Dyke's speed gives him a chance on any return. He said he'd like to see the special teams unit get back to where it was a few years ago for the Hurricanes.

"I'm trying to bring it back to like it was back in 2000," he said. "From Philip Buchanan to Devin Hester -- something like that. I'm trying to help the team out there."

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