Miami Hurricanes commit Shaquille Quarterman didn't have his team participating in the 7-on-7 tournament at UM on Sunday, but he made it a point to drive down to campus and check it out.
The 2016 four-star middle linebacker out of Oakleaf High took a five-hour trip from Orange Park to Coral Gables.
“I love coming down to see Miami," says Quarterman (6-2, 230 pounds). "I barely need a reason to come. I could just come any day.”
Quarterman is one of the more firm commits in Al Golden's 2016 class. Nonetheless, Alabama, Michigan, Michigan State and Louisville continue going after him hard.
“When you have something you’re very sure about, it’s only so much certain colleges can say," he says. "I always listen, always show respect and always listen to what they have to say, but this is the place. This is my home.”
While he feels strongly about the positive direction the Canes are going, he doesn't push his feelings on other recruits unless they approach him.
“I don’t really believe in the recruiting [of other players]," he says. "If they were to come up to me and ask me what influenced me to come here or just ask me for advice, then I would put my input in. I’m just not a big fan of pushing myself on somebody."
What would he tell those recruits wondering about Miami?
“I’d tell them this is an amazing college with room to grow. We’re making a really big turn – probably this year. I’d tell them about the things I believe are going to happen, and I guess with my face and my conviction, they really feel what I’m saying.”
Quarterman believes the Canes will improve each season until they are eventually back on top, starting with the defense.
“I feel the defense is going to be really great – defensive line getting better, definitely linebackers getting better," he says. "I’m really rooting for my boy Darrion [Owens, former high school teammate of his]. This will be his second year and he’ll be – I think – starting, so I’m really looking forward to it.”
On what he's learned from conversations with defensive coordinator Mark D’Onofrio: “He’s really a man of his word. His word is bond. That’s what I really admire about him. If he says he’s going to do something, he’s going to do it, and if he can’t, you know he tried his very absolute best to try. It’s not hard to follow him. Believe in his process and he’ll make you a winner.”
Quarterman likes that he saw a Miami linebacker in Denzel Perryman go in the second round of the NFL Draft.
He believes he can see himself in Perryman’s shoes on a draft day down the road “if I come in and play early, which I believe I will because I don’t believe in coming in and riding the bench, especially with this staff right here. They don’t believe in making you wait till you’re a junior.”
When Quarterman arrives at UM, he's making it clear that he's coming to take a starting spot.
"Even if I don’t, that makes the veterans sweat and makes us better as a team," he says. "That’s all of us (committed linebackers Greg Simmons, Zach McCloud and Michael Pinckney). My whole class is coming in here and coming to make them sweat.”
Since he has a former high school teammate already at UM, he's received some advice from Owens.
“It’s easy to work through it if you’re a workaholic," he says of what he's heard from Owens. "If you come for the wrong reasons to go to college, the parties and all the extracurricular activities instead of the one that really matters, then you won’t prosper.
Quarterman describes himself as a woraholic. He used to work out with older classes in high school. When Owens was a senior and he was a sophomore, coaches made him lift the weight Owens was lifting.