The name conjures images of tranquil waters, lush palm trees and cool breezes.
The faces conjure images of Super Bowl rings, college national championships, Hall of Fame inductions — and some of the top high school football players in the nation.
Ed Reed, Jeremy Shockey, Michael Irvin, Devin Hester, Jon Beason, Jonathan Vilma, Vince Wilfork, Calais Campbell, D.J. Williams, Willis McGahee, Brett Romberg, Antrel Rolle, Bryant McKinnie and Kenny Phillips: Those are the former University of Miami greats who will gather Saturday night on campus for the second installment of Paradise Camp.
“The kids can’t be as excited as me,” said Shockey, 36, the former first-round draft pick of the New York Giants and tight end who won a national title in 2001. “It’s a really great experience. They relish the opportunity to learn from us, and it’s fun to show them simple techniques that I’ve learned over the years. All of us enjoy giving back.”
Brett Romberg, 37, another 2001 national champion and Rimington Award winner as college football’s finest center, was blown away by the former Canes who surrounded him last year at the inaugural Paradise Camp for 11th- and 12th-graders.
“Honestly, this is an Einstein idea,” said Romberg of coach Mark Richt’s brainchild — the gathering of legends to instruct prep stars, many of whom have already committed to UM’s top-rated recruiting class of 2018. “The fact that all it took was just one phone call for a lot of us to commit to do this shows you how hungry former players are for the success of this program.
“I don’t know of any other program in the country that can offer even a decorated roster, let alone having them stand on the same day in the same facility among the same group of kids.
“A school might have one or two big-name guys — maybe the former quarterback comes back and says a few words and shakes a few hands. But you’ll never get an All-American or NFL player at just about every position, sometimes multiple guys at one position.’’
Romberg recalls the inaugural 2016 camp, when Richt was about to begin his first season. Several of the legends had each taken about 30 seconds to introduce themselves to the campers, Romberg said, “our 30 seconds of fame.”
Then it was time for Pro Football Hall of Famer Irvin.
“He walks up, stares down everybody, doesn’t say a word,’’ Romberg said. “Then he says, ‘I don’t even need to tell you who the hell I am.’ … He turns around and walks away.
“That Miami swag, that arrogance, so to speak, seems to get resurrected when a group of former Canes get together. It’s really cool.”
The dozens of teenage standouts, many of whom were invited by UM, will likely include 2018 Canes commits such as Lorenzo Lingard, a five-star running back from Orange City University High; Al Blades Jr. (son of late UM safety Al Blades) of Fort Lauderdale St. Thomas Aquinas; four-star receiver Mark Pope of Miami Southridge; and four-star tight end Will Mallory of Jacksonville Providence High.
“It’s awesome,” Richt said. “We’re trying to attract the greatest players in the country.”
UM sophomore linebacker Shaquille Quarterman was star-struck after meeting future Hall of Fame linebacker Ray Lewis at last year’s camp.
“I got to take a picture with him,” said Quarterman, who is working the camp on Saturday. “He told me we’re next up. To have Ray Lewis recognize you, even if I do go to his school, is crazy.”
Former running back great Willis McGahee, he of the torn knee ligaments during the 2003 Fiesta Bowl against Ohio State, said he was pumped to be reuniting with his old classmates.
“It’s going to be a great vibe,” McGahee, 35, said. “Some of us haven’t seen each other for a while. At one time, we were left out of what was going on at the University of Miami. But Mark Richt wants us to be a part of it now.
“Coach Richt knows what it takes. He knows how to grind.”
The camp format will include some stretching drills led by strength and conditioning coach Gus Felder, Richt’s welcome address, the legends’ introductions, position group drills and the individual, one-on-one-type drills — “stuff like live pass rush, O-linemen vs. D-linemen,” Romberg said.
“That’s when it gets really interesting, man, a little bit of [garbage]-talking and a couple kids trying to be heroes and getting violent.
“For the most part, the coaches aren’t interested in seeing all that noise, especially with no pads. They just want to see the kids moving around and how agile and athletic they are.”
After it’s over and the players disperse, commitments are expected to follow.
“The camp will probably get us some extra guys committing,” said former left tackle Bryant McKinnie, the 2001 Outland Trophy winner. “What we’re all hoping for is a winning season. And when I say winning, I mean one loss at most.
“We’re headed in the right direction.”