Fields: "I'm Trying To Make A Name For Myself"

A semester early and two and a half weeks before the national letter of intent signing day, Syracuse officially welcomed its newest members to the football team.<br><br>

Defensive tackle Mike Sklarosky (Wilkes-Barre, Pa.), offensive tackle Kurt Falke (Bellville, Texas) and quarterback Joe Fields (Houston, Texas) are enrolled this semester and will participate in the team's winter conditioning and spring practice.

Orangemen fans might have something to cheer about in the near future with the addition of Fields, a highly touted and talented offensive leader, who graduated in three and a half years from Washington High School (Texas).

"Joe was a guy in high school who was very impressive with everything he did," said head coach Paul Pasqualoni. "He looked as polished and as smooth as any high school prospect you're going to look at."

Fields, who was also recruited heavily by Tennessee, Wisconsin and Arkansas, has a lot of experience with drop-back passing but is also very good coming out of the pocket.

"Joe is a very good athlete and very good with the ball," said Pasqualoni, who also mentioned he comes from a good high school program that had a very diverse offense.

"I'm Joseph Fields and I'm trying to make a name for myself. I feel as though my ability will speak for itself," said Fields, who has garnered many comparisons to his role model, Donovan McNabb.

"My style is entertaining, but the team is first. I'm going to be a leader, regardless of my classification."

Fields has already asked, and received permission to wear his role model's number 5, which was also his high school number.

At Washington High School, the quarterback earned all-district honors as a sophomore and junior and was named the district Most Valuable Player as a junior. This year, Fields completed 97 of 187 passes for 1,823 yards and 17 touchdowns and rushed 88 times for 492 yards and two touchdowns. As a junior, he threw for 1,492 yards and 15 touchdowns and gained 666 yards on 69 rushes with 11 touchdowns.

Besides his strong legs and arm, Fields says his brain and ability to prepare well is another strong point. Though he says that inexperience is his weakness, coming to Syracuse a full semester early should remedy that.

"It really gives them a chance to figure out the university," said Pasqualoni, who said that learning the playbook is sometimes the easiest part.

"Sometimes the most difficult part is for those kids to feel real, real comfortable as part of the team. The three guys who are coming in have a real opportunity to make the transition and to feel positive and good about their place on the team."

Sklarosky comes from Lackawanna College where he was a 2003 National Junior College Athletic Association honorable mention All-American. A two-year starter at Lackawanna, Sklarosky recorded 61 tackles in 2003 and became the team's second-leading tackler. He also had seven sacks, one interception, one forced fumble and two fumble recoveries.

Falke, who was not available for comment, played for Blinn (Texas) College in 2003, and helped block for the nation's third-leading rusher in junior colleges.

Both Fields and Sklarosky said Pasqualoni was a big reason for committing to Syracuse and said they would've reconsidered if he left.

"Everyone will be competing for a starting job and all will be evaluated each day during our spring practices," said Pasqualoni. "The first feeling about this class is a great one. The guys have been as solid as ever. We're in the final stages and in good shape with two and a half weeks to go."

Signing day is Wednesday, Feb. 4.

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