David Thompson’s pre-summer vacation included a trip to San Jose, Calif., to visit his older brother, Matthew – and studying an intimidating playbook every minute he had the chance.
“The playbook is humongous,” said Thompson, 18, the University of Miami’s fifth and final scholarship quarterback who will formally arrive on campus in time for the first day of Summer Session II on June 27. “I have a lot of catching up to do.”
Deon Bush – regarded as one of the nation’s finest incoming defensive backs – didn’t have time for vacationing, not after partaking in his Miami Columbus High graduation ceremony May 19, shortly after he arrived in Coral Gables for UM’s first summer session.
And Herb Waters, a wide receiver who graduated June 5 from Homestead High and said he used to “sit in front of the TV watching the Canes and hoping and wishing I’d get to Miami one day,” is finally on the verge of living his dream.
Thompson, Bush and Waters are part of the newest contingent of teenage Hurricanes who are about to enroll or already have enrolled in one of two summer sessions – joining the other football players who arrived on campus as early as January.
These days, unless there’s a glitch in the enrollment process, almost all the new signees arrive in Coral Gables by the start of the second summer session to gently be indoctrinated to college life.
“Deon is doing great getting acclimated to what he’s going to have to do during the year,” said his proud dad, Gary Bush. “He’s taking one class – psychology – and he loves it. They’re feeding them like babies now, a little at a time. According to Deon, the workouts are getting a little harder.”
The 2012 freshmen who arrived for the first summer session also include defensive back Antonio Crawford, defensive back Nate Dortch, defensive lineman Jelani Hamilton, cornerback Tracy Howard, offensive lineman Daniel Isidora, safety Rayshawn Jenkins, tailback Duke Johnson and receivers Malcolm Lewis and Robert Lockhart.
Bush, a U.S. Army All-American who spurned Alabama and Auburn to try to resurrect his 6-6 hometown Hurricanes, is practicing at safety now, said his dad, because the Hurricanes need some young blood at the position to join seniors Ray-Ray Armstrong, Vaughn Telemaque, A.J. Highsmith and Andrew Swasey.
The players meet for breakfast as a team, then work out, tend to their academics, come back and continue their football regimen – such as seven-on-seven practices led by the veterans (and done without coaches, per NCAA rules).
Waters, who said he will wear No. 86, is rated by rivals.com among the nation’s Top 50 receivers.
“His athleticism is off the charts,” rivals Florida recruiting analyst Chris Nee told The Miami Herald, adding that he’s still a bit raw. “He’s not the type of guy that is going to be dinking and dunking or running short routes. He might be down the road. But today, if you need to play him as a freshman, line up wide and let him go deep. He’s your guy.”
Waters said he and cornerback Vernon Davis have been going to UM daily to lift weights.
“We’re working on our abs and muscles I never even knew about,” Waters said, laughing. “Just being around the players makes you want to [report] even faster than June 26.