Tag Archives: Mark Richt

Q&A with former Miami (Fla.) LB Shaq Quarterman: “From start to finish”

Former Miami (Fla.) linebacker Shaquille Quarterman -a four-time All-ACC selection at linebacker- finished his storied career with 356 tackles, ninth all-time in school history. In 2019, Quarterman became the only Hurricane to start 52 consecutive games without missing a start. DraftNasty editor-in-chief Corey Chavous caught up with Quarterman during the week of the 2020 East-West Shrine Bowl. They talked about why finishing was an important part of his legacy. Quaterman modeled his game after his idol, a former Hurricanes linebacker and NFL first round pick who currently serves as his mentor.

Corey: First, I’d like to ask how do you think the week has gone for you so far?
Quarterman: I think the week has progressed for me very well. First day of pads, I already knew it was knocking off the dust. Not for just me, but everybody out here. As it gets better, people get more comfortable, you get to see who really can play. So today I felt like it was night and day from my first day. I just feel like as the week keeps going I’m going to get even better.

Corey: We actually shot your last bowl game (2019 Independence Bowl). A lot of your teammates made the decision not to play in that game. For you, as a team captain, one of the things that you talked about was just how important that last game was to you. Ended that game with 11 tackles. Even though it was a little bit of a debilitating loss, your defense played well. Talk about how you felt about finishing the right way.
Quarterman: I’m a man of principle. I really stick to my principles and morals. I could not have my team out there and feel like they’re better off without me because I wanted to go train just a couple of days early. That’s not the way I want to set a standard. That’s all I’ve ever talked about was the standard. It’s not bailing on your team, because I love my guys and they made their decisions for why they made their decisions. But I’m a team guy, that’s all it is. I couldn’t be on the sidelines and then I was thinking about going but that makes it worse. I’m going to play with my team.

Corey: Right.
Quarterman: 55 is going to lead his team out there. I never folded. I never did that.

Quarterman (No. 55 pictured) finished his career with 356 tackles, 12 quarterback sacks, 46.5 tackles for loss, an interception and 13 passes defensed.

Corey: Our notes on you surround the ability to stack-and-shed. That is one of the things that is a little bit underrated in your game. Talk about why that is important to you…using your hands as a linebacker.
Quarterman: Because that’s how you’ve got to survive in the league (NFL). In college, you can still get away with being more athletic than a lot of guys. But at the next level, that margin of error is cut drastically shorter. You have to be able to do a lot of things to survive. It’s about longevity. The standard career time is already like 2.3 years, so if I can’t use my hands as a linebacker I don’t see how I’m going to see the field. And that’s just being honest. Because it’s a business, it’s about producing. I undertand that. That was one of my critiques last year, so this year I knew I had to work on that. I knew I had to put it on tape multiple times. Like you said, I put it on tape, but it’s very underrated. So I’ve got to change something about me to make it not underrated.

Corey: Now if there’s a question the scouts are asking you when you talk to them. What’s the biggest question they have for you the rest of the postseason? Certainly you’re coming down here this week dispelling any questions they may have. What do you hear the most?
Quarterman: It’s always about my ability to play in space. I’ve been in the box so long at Miami, so good at playing the run, that my coaches didn’t have to worry about that. So if you don’t have to worry about one spot, you can find pieces around him that could play the pass.

Corey: Absolutely.
Quarterman: So I was never groomed for my pass coverage basically. That’s why those question marks exist.

Corey: And they had you coming forward a lot.
Quarterman: Right.

Corey: The tackles for loss weren’t just this year, they were a year ago as well.
Quarterman: Exactly.

Corey: Run blitzes, timing run blitzes.
Quarterman: They just let me do what I do best. And I understand that. But now I’m in a position where I’ve got to show people that I can do the other side of the spectrum.

Corey: And how have you felt that has gone out here (East-West Shrine week)?
Quarterman: The first day was rusty. Today, a whole 180. I didn’t win a single one-on-one yesterday, and I didn’t lose one today.

Corey: That’s awesome man.
Quarterman: Yes sir.

Corey: The tradition at your school is pretty deep at the linebacker position. But if there is a player, even beyond Miami (Fla.), that you’ve looked up to from the NFL perspective -either presently or in the past- who would that be? .
Quarterman: Jon Beason (10-year NFL veteran, former Miami (Fla.) linebacker-2007 NFL Draft, 1st Round, 25th overall, Carolina Panthers). That’s my mentor, man.

Corey: Wow. Really good player.
Quarterman: That’s my mentor. I want to play like him. I still watch his tapes. He let me get a hold of his tapes, so I still watch him. We’re almost built the same. I’m a little taller than him, but as soon as I stepped on campus they talked about our neck sizes and stuff like that. I just love the way he plays the game. I try to do everything that he would do and beyond. Because he did everything the right way. He played through injuries and all that. To have a chance to go to Miami (Fla.) and meet your idol and have him mentor you. And take you underneath his wing and see that he sees it in you. It’s something different. It’s a lot of weight on that.

Quarterman (No. 55 pictured) played the entire 2017 season with a torn left AC joint and finished that year with 83 tackles, 2.5 QB sacks, 7 TFLs and 5 PBUs.

Corey: Four-year starter at Miami from your true freshman year on. The meaning of that?
Quarterman: It’s different. It’s hard. Very difficult. I just really thank Coach Richt and Coach Diaz for trusting in me. It takes a lot to put a true freshman out there…at any position in college football. I really appreciate that. I tried to uphold it as long as I could.

Corey: Well, man, good luck and continue the tradition. I know you gotta get outta here. Nice to meet you. Enjoyed watching you throughout your career.
Quarterman: I appreciate that.

2019 NFL Draft: Fourth down

The NFL is always looking for versatile performers capable of transitioning to the next level. Here are three prospects who bring value to teams on fourth down and beyond.

Travis Homer 5’10 201 Miami (Fla.)

Homer took his game to another level the last two seasons at the running back spot. He averaged nearly six yards per carry in 2017 and followed that up with nearly the same yards per carry average in 2018. The former four-star recruit was a team captain for the ‘Canes and one of its best leaders.

As a freshman in 2016, he rushed for just 44 yards. During that same season, however, he notched eight special teams tackles. He used his 4.48 speed for three seasons to continue to perform admirably at the gunner position, which essentially is a displaced wide receiver on the punt team used to run down and cover punts.

Miami (Fla.) running back Travis Homer posted 22 tackles for the ‘Canes in three seasons and ranks as one of the better special teams cover guys in the 2019 NFL Draft. Homer ran a 4.48 at the 2019 NFL Combine, posted a 39 1/2″ vertical jump and 10’10” broad jump.

In 2018, despite starting at running back, Homer posted 10 tackles.

He has also lined up inside on the punt team. You can look at his work on the punt return unit as a hold-up guy and laud his work as well (see Berrios big punt return, Russell Athletic Bowl ’16). When former Miami (Fla.) head coach Mark Richt was asked about why Homer remained on the special teams, he had the perfect response:

“We need good players on there (special teams) and he’s one our best at it. You better have guys who know what they’re doing and can get people on the ground.” (https://www.foxsports.com/florida/video/1102010435956).

Isaiah Johnson 6’2 207 CB-Houston

There aren’t many prospects who have run a hitch route, covered the opposing team’s top receiver and run down at the gunner position. Johnson is one of those prospects. The former 110-meter hurdler at Rudder HS (Tex.) contains one of the more intriguing profiles in the 2019 NFL Draft. Blessed with 33-inch arms, he is still rounding out his game at cornerback. The former collegiate wide receiver does, however, exhibit a feel for recognizing route combinations.

In 2018, Johnson posted 66 tackles, two interceptions and seven pass break-ups. Back in 2016, the former Cougar notched 15 receptions.

In-between repetitions at cornerback and wide receiver, Johnson managed to sneak into the 2019 Senior Bowl despite just 15 career starts at cornerback. He also managed to sneak in time on special teams. In the 2016 Las Vegas Bowl, he consistently defeated one-on-one hold-ups at the gunner spot and he also stood out against SMU in that same year (tackle, SMU ’16). The upside in developing Johnson as an outside corner is that he can instantly be a special teams contributor. He has also shown up as an L2 on the kickoff team and was often the first player down the field. His size and 4.4 speed make him tough to grasp in either facet of his game.

Blake Cashman 6’1 237 Minnesota

Cashman impressed NFL personnel at the NFL Combine with his 4.5 speed and lower body agility. It all came after a third-team All-Big Ten campaign that featured 104 tackles, 2.5 quarterback sacks and 15 tackles for losses. He also scored on a fumble return and notched five pass break-ups.

The former Eden Prairie High School star won four straight state titles at the prep level. It took him until the spring of 2017 to even earn a scholarship from the Golden Gophers. When we covered him in the 2016 Holiday Bowl, he earned MVP honors after dominating the game against Washington State on both special teams and defense (12 tackles, QB sack, two tackles for losses).

As an R2 on the kickoff team, he ran by multiple blockers for most of the night and posted three tackles on the kickoff team. He generally plays faster than everyone else in either punt (where he has forced several fair catches, see Northwestern ’16) or kickoff coverage. As a linebacker, he trusts his first read and believes what he’s seeing on the field. We think Cashman is one of the true value picks in the 2019 NFL Draft.

2018 Season Preview: Miami (Fla.) Hurricanes

Season outlook

In his third season as head coach, Mark Richt and the Miami Hurricanes are looking to take the next step forward in 2018.  Miami (Fla.) finished last season 10-3 overall and 7-1 in the ACC.  The Hurricanes return a wealth of experience from last year’s team.  In his first two seasons as Miami’s defensive coordinator, Manny Diaz has reshaped the Hurricanes defense.   Last year, Miami (Fla.) ranked 38th overall in total defense and 28th in points allowed.  The Hurricanes have NFL-caliber talent at each level of the defense, which includes defensive lineman Joe Jackson (6’5, 258, Jr.), linebacker Shaquille Quarterman (6’1, 250, Jr.) and defensive backs Jaquan Johnson (5’11, 190, Sr.) and Michael Jackson (6’2, 195, Sr.).  On offense, quarterback Malik Rosier (6’1, 216, Sr.) will have several weapons at his disposal including wide receiver Ahmmon Richards (6’1, 190, Jr.) and running back Travis Homer (5’11, 195, Jr.).  Miami (Fla.) has the talent to win the ACC and possibly accomplish more. Look for Rosier’s play at quarterback to determine how far the Hurricanes go in 2018.

Troy’s player to watch 

4 Jaquan Johnson 5’11 190 DB-Senior

Johnson (No. 4 pictured) has produced two and a half quarterback sacks, six tackles for loss, four forced fumbles, six interceptions (TD), four pass break-ups and one blocked kick entering his final season for the Hurricanes.

The city of Miami has produced some of the best athletes and receivers (i.e. Antonio Brown, T.Y. Hilton) to play in the NFL.  Johnson plays on the other side of the ball but is just as gifted. The Hurricanes safety won the ACC Defensive Back of the Week award three straight times last season and led the team with 96 tackles. The senior has a knack for causing turnovers, finishing the 2017 campaign with three forced fumbles and three interceptions. Look for Johnson to have the now infamous Hurricanes “turnover chain” around his neck multiple times in 2018.

Game of the season

November 17th  at Virginia Tech
The Hokies figure to be the Hurricanes stiffest competition in the ACC’s Coastal Division in 2018. Miami bested Virginia Tech 28-10 last season at Hard Rock Stadium. However, things could be more challenging in Blacksburg. This game could decide an ACC Championship appearance and possibly put Miami into the College Football Playoff discussion.

DraftNasty’s Prospect Watch

78 Tyree St. Louis 6’5 305 RT-Senior

St. Louis (No. 78 pictured) -a former four-star prospect from the IMG Academy (Fla.)- has started the last 21 games of his career.

St. Louis heads into his senior season with 21 consecutive starts and he has seen action in each of three years on campus.  His mobility and accuracy getting up to the second level (to block LBs, DBs) has been his best attribute up to this point.  For him to take his game to an All-ACC level, he needs to play with a lower base.  There are too many occasions where he engages in perimeter wrestling matches with a taller disposition.  This has caused him issues with pass rushers attacking the bottom of the pocket.  Overall, he’s been more consistent with his upper body posture.  If the former four-star recruit can connect his upper body with his base, he’ll have a chance to reach another level in his play.

Prediction: 12-0

The Hurricanes make their first appearance in the College Football Playoff after cruising through the regular season, according to DraftNasty’s Troy Jefferson. The Hurricanes may have caught LSU on a good year as their program transitions to head coach Ed Orgeron in his second full season. The two will open the season in Arlington, Texas.  Miami (Fla.) will also play their in-state rival Florida State at home.
By: Troy Jefferson, DraftNasty Staff reports