April 19, 2010

Virginia WR enjoys UA visit

One of the stars of Alabama's 2010 A-Day spring game was true freshman quarterback Phillip Sims who made a big impression on Tide fans in his first public appearance as a Tide player. One of Sims' high school teammates, wide receiver Quinta Funderburke, was in attendance at the A-Day game to check out his former quarterback and the 6-foot-4, 205-pound future star was impressed not only with Sims but with everything else he saw at Bryant-Denny Stadium.

"The atmosphere was crazy," said Funderburke. "That was the first time I had ever been to a game at a major college, spring or regular season. If it's like that in the spring, I can't imagine what it's like for a real game."

"It was great to see Phillip out there. He still has that cannon. We got to hang out for most of the weekend and I talked to him a lot about how things have been going for him at Alabama. He said it's a really fun place to be and he seems like he's really enjoying it. He's also doing really well in the classroom so far, just like he did in high school. Phillip and I were pretty tight in high school so it would be cool to play together again in college. At the same time, he knows that I have to make the best decision for myself so he's not really putting any pressure on me."

After hauling in 62 of Sims' passes for 1,150 yards and 12 touchdowns last season, Funderburke has become a star in his own right for Chesapeake (VA) Oscar Smith and holds more than a dozen offers, including one from the defending national champions who are hoping to make him their next star receiver.

"I got to talk to pretty much all the coaches after the game. Coach Sal and Coach Saban are probably the two I'm closest with so far. They are both really straightforward guys. They are not afraid to be honest with me even when it doesn't necessarily help them, and that means a lot to me. They tell me a lot that they see me playing a similar role to Julio Jones. I'm at 205 (pounds) right now and they said they think they could get me up to 220 or so and have me step in and be that physical wide receiver that Julio is for them now."

One thing Funderburke said plays into Alabama's favor in the race to land his signature is the opportunity for early playing time and their willingness in recent years to put freshman on the field.

"At Alabama, they play the best players whether you are a freshman or a senior. If you can help the team win, you will get onto the field. I know there will be competition wherever I go but I think at Alabama there's a real chance I could get onto the field as a freshman, which is a big deal for me."


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