It feels like yesterday that Mark Richt was sitting in the stands for a state championship game that featured Jacksonville Raines and Miami Booker T. Washington to watch a Hurricanes commit by the name of Michael Pinckney.
It’s normal for a coach to make the trip nearly four hours north to watch a key member of their class play the biggest game of their high school career.
What was even more impressive was that another member of that same recruiting class made the two hour drive south to watch his future teammate and sit next to his future head coach. That high school senior was Shaq Quarterman.
Before even stepping foot on campus, Quarterman understood the value of being there for your teammates and establishing that relationship with a guy who would eventually be his right-hand man for the next four years.
Quarterman enrolled early at Miami and was immediately dubbed as the starter and nobody ever looked back.
In his first game against Florida A&M back in 2016, the young middle linebacker totaled seven tackles, including 2.5 for a loss. He finished the year with 84 tackles, still a career high, and 10 tackles for loss in a year that was highlighted by the Hurricanes first bowl victory since 2006.
It was certainly an unorthodox road for the senior. He’s been a starter since day one, he helped snap the bowl drought, he was a part of the No. 2 ranked team in the nation, dealt with a sharp decline as a team which led to a head coaching change and he made the decision to return for his senior year when nobody would have blamed him for leaving.
Ultimately, it’s put Shaq Quarterman up there with many of the great ‘Canes lifted up on the rafters of the Carol Soffer Indoor Practice Facility. His sacrifice and dedication to this program add to his storied legacy of 321 career tackles 41.5 tackles for loss and 12 career sacks.
And a part of that legacy includes beating Florida State not one, not twice, but three times and capped his last one off with a 9 tackle, 3.5 tackle for loss performance in Tallahassee.
Thank U, Shaq, for being the change. Thank U for once again setting the standard for what it means to play middle linebacker for Miami. Thank U for being a Miami Hurricane.