There are two things you can count on from sophomore wide receiver Willie Quinn when on the football practice fields of the Southern University campus: energy and a smile.
The diminutive receiver has served as a spark in preseason camp, shredding defenders on the field while bringing a child-like enthusiasm to practice every day.
“Willie’s a little kid to us,” senior wide receiver Lee Doss said. “He has a lot of energy. We look to him when we’re down. We look to him when we need energy to pick us up.”
A native of Miami, Fla. Quinn is entering his second year at Southern after sitting out last year with academic issues, losing his first year of eligibility.
However, if Quinn is on pace to graduate as he approaches his senior season, he will regain that lost year of eligibility.
In addition to receiving duties, Quinn is seen on both punt and kick returns while still bringing a high level of energy to every play.
“If you’re 5-foot-5 and 120 pounds, you shouldn’t get tired, right,” coach Dawson Odums said.
Quinn accompanies his spirited personality with football talent. Making big plays on a daily basis in practice has become the norm for Quinn.
“He’s an amazing player,” Doss said. “He’s an amazing athlete. We want to make sure we can use him this season.”
Odums said Quinn brings a lot to the field despite his small stature.
“He’s a playmaker,” Odums said. “You get the ball in his hands, and he makes plays. His size does not matter. He’s also a smart and savvy football player. He’s got a great attitude. He has a great understanding of how to play the game. I’m just happy he’s on our team.”
Senior quarterback Dray Joseph is looking forward to using Quinn’s talents this fall.
“When he gets the ball in his hands, he’s dynamic,” Joseph said of Quinn. “He’s electric.”
“People are always talking about how Willie Quinn is a small guy. When you see him at first, you probably think he missed the day-care bus. What’s he doing on the football field?
“Those are the types of things he feeds off of.”
Quinn made a statement with his play in Saturday’s scrimmage in trying to prove he can be relied upon by Joseph this fall.
After snagging a 43-yard pass from Joseph on a fly route down the right sideline before stepping out of bounds, Quinn added a 13-yard touchdown reception in which he caught the ball at the 5-yard line and made three defenders miss to get into the end zone.
“Those are the type of things we are going to need out of Willie this year,” Joseph said. “That’s what a West Coast offense consists of.
“Those quick passes, getting the ball out of your hands quickly and just get it to your playmakers.”
Quinn’s success in the scrimmage could be attributed to his strong work ethic off the field. The sophomore receiver put the time in outside of practice to make sure he was ready mentally.
“I called him earlier (Saturday) morning and told him to come with me to the coach’s office,” Doss said. “I told him to come with me to the office to go over plays. It seemed like he was more comfortable (Saturday).”
If days like Saturday are a common occurrence, Quinn will serve as potent offensive weapon for the Jaguars this season.
And Quinn will do it with a smile on his face.
Bus trips set
The Southern University 6th Man Club announced its bus trips for the 2013 season. The cost for each game includes the bus ride and game ticket. They include the Aug. 30 at Houston ($115, 10 a.m. departure), Sept. 7 at Northwestern State ($85, 9 a.m. departure), the Sept. 21 game at Mississippi Valley State ($115, 6 a.m. departure), the Oct. 19 game at Arkansas-Pine Bluff ($125, 4 a.m. departure), the Nov. 1 game at Texas Southern ($115, 7 a.m. departure), the Nov. 9 game at Alabama State ($135, 2 a.m. departure), and the Nov. 30 game against Grambling in the Superdome ($50, game ticket not included).