Devin Hester, Ed Reed, D.J. Williams, Jeremy Shockey and Michael Irvin to name a few were back on the campus of the University of Miami. Sounds like “paradise.” Campers who are future recruits are wearing “Paradise U” shirts across the chest and along with numbers without their names on the back. How can I forget the headline; Mark Richt annually diving off into the pool. Paradise Camp, is back for its second year.
Richt’s second year of Paradise Camp is here along with the start of his second season as head coach of the Miami Hurricanes. Richt’s goal of returning a winning tradition back to “The U” begins at Paradise Camp, which Richt created last year as an enticing draw for young recruits intent on being taught by UM legends, who once again were inspired and thrilled.
“It is cool if you are 5-5, but I don’t think anybody is feeling like it is “swaggish,” Richt stated. “Swag is winning. That’s what we are trying to do. We are trying to win and win big. It is hard to even match to what has even been done in the past but we are getting after it as best we could.”
Swag was present at the camp: Reed, Shockey, Irvin, Williams, Hester, Willis McGahee, Brett Romberg, Calais Campbell, Jonathan Vilma, Jon Beason, Kenny Phillips, Antrel Rolle, Bryant McKinnie and Vince Wilfork joined current coaches leading the super-charged practice sessions.
UM’s Paradise Camp draws some of the top football recruits (11th and 12th graders) in the nation whose eyes opened wide in the presence of some of the legends of UM’s past. Those legends served as instructors on the intramural fields moreover gave advice as a group or face to face individually.
Pro Football Hall of Fame wide receiver and three-time Super Bowl champion Michael Irvin, who lettered at “The U” from 1985 to ’87, sells UM’s swagger repeatedly in addition to the camp as a building block for Miami’s return to its winning tradition. “Being here is important. … This is Miami,” Irvin stated. “You come be a part of something. You dominate here, you own Miami. … You dominate here, you own the world.’’
There was talent across the board at “PC” especially from Hurricane players who have committed. Tight end Will Mallory will contribute the moment he steps foot on campus. Wide receiver Mark Pope caught my eye with his impressive footwork off the line of scrimmage. Defensively, Josh Jobe who committed to Miami over Alabama, Syracuse and Michigan, showed off his size and speed at the defensive back position under the lights during the camp.
Richt shared the entire weekend had been a success, including his intimidating back flip off the high dive, which he has done every year — whether at his former school, Georgia, or back at his alma mater, UM, in the late ’70s and early ’80s to impress the ladies. Back flips in the pool are cool, UM legends back on campus is cool. Collectively winning is what is paradise.