Willie Quinn back, eligible for Southern

Advocate file photo by BILL FEIG -- Southern wide receiver Willie Quinn answers questions during Southern's Media Day in August 2012.
Advocate file photo by BILL FEIG -- Southern wide receiver Willie Quinn answers questions during Southern's Media Day in August 2012.

Willie Quinn was a star of Southern’s preseason camp last year, but eligibility issues cost him a chance to show everyone why.

It appears Quinn will finally get the chance.

The explosive receiver with the diminutive 5-foot-6, 175-pound frame has returned to the Southern practice fields, and coach Dawson Odums said the sophomore’s eligibility issues are behind him.

“It’s always easy to quit, but we’re trying to teach the young men a different mindset,” Odums said. “He paid the price and made the sacrifice. Now he’s getting an opportunity. I’m just glad he did what he was supposed to do academically. We’ll see how the fall goes for him.”

The academic hurdle Quinn hit last year apparently stemmed from the Miami product attending two high schools.

He went through fall practice last year but was never cleared by the NCAA. He missed his entire freshman season, as well as spring practice this past year.

“The first time I saw Willie out here in fall camp last year, I knew right off the bat he was a ballplayer,” Southern cornerback Virgil Williams said. “He’s not afraid of a challenge from anyone. He plays way bigger than his frame. On the jump balls, I think he has the same ability as a 6-3 receiver to go up and get it. I haven’t seen him drop anything this fall or last fall. He’s going to be a key asset this season.”

Quinn could fit in nicely on a Southern roster that includes preseason All-Southwestern Athletic Conference wide receiver Lee Doss, but has no other player who caught more than 18 passes last year.

Practice update

Southern’s third practice of camp Saturday was the first in shoulder pads.

The Jaguars will remain in “shells” Sunday before moving to full pads Monday. The first of five two-a-day sessions gets underway Tuesday with one practice in the morning and another in the late afternoon.

“The next two days are very challenging for our guys, because we’re coming out here at 3 o’clock,” Odums said. “They have to put that behind them and understand what we need to get done.”

Odums said one of the bright spots so far is the Jaguars have had no injuries.

“It’s still a learning process,” he said. “I feel that we’re ahead of where we were at this time last year.”

Conditioning tests, part II

Sixty-five of the 95 players in camp passed Thursday’s conditioning tests. The ones who did not will have another shot Sunday morning.

The conditioning tests include a series of 12 100-yard sprints with a 22-second break in between. The time in which players are required to complete the sprints is determined by the position they play.

Bus trips

The SU Unification Organization is sponsoring a bus trip for each of Southern’s seven road games, beginning with the Aug. 30 matchup against Houston at Reliant Stadium.

For the Houston game, tickets are $100 apiece and include the bus ride, hotel room and game ticket.

For more information, contact Leo Williams at (225) 355-6886, Isadore Williams at (225) 357-3833 or Fate Buckles at (225) 774-7617.