The legacy of James Quick is one that can be interpreted in many different ways. It all depends if compare his college career to the expectations most people had for him or if you compare his actual statistics and contributions during his time at Louisville to every other receiver that came before him.
It all began at Trinity High School when James became the first-ever freshman to start a game for the storied football powerhouse. He also won the state championship in the 200 meter dash in both his freshman and sophomore years. James became the first player in Kentucky high school football history to score a touchdown in four straight state championship games (’09 -’12) and had received offers to play at almost every major college school.
Just before the 2012 high school state championship game, James had suffered a rib injury. I was told by a local coach that someone from Ohio State had given James a flak jacket to wear in the championship game to help protect him. I can not confirm if that was actually true but regardless, the story made its way around town and most people assumed that he would be going to Ohio State.
Shortly after the state championship game, James played in the very prestigious U.S. Army All-American Game where he was named the Most Valuable Player. Later that day, January 5th 2013, James committed to the University of Louisville. One month later, February 6th, 2013, he made it official when he signed his Letter of Intent, becoming the highest-rated offensive recruit to ever sign with the Louisville.
From the moment he committed to Louisville, expectations for him were so high that it seemed unrealistic he could ever live up to them. Star ratings, accolades and “expert” predictions had already carved a path for him to be the greatest receiver to ever don a Cardinal jersey. Fairly or unfairly, this is what was facing the hometown product as he stepped onto the field as a freshman.
In his 4 years at Louisville, James totaled 126 receptions for 2032 yards and 14 receiving touchdowns and 1 more touchdown, which happened to be his first, on a fumbled punt recovery vs. Central Florida. James’ receiving yard total ranks 9th on the all time UofL list. He had 5 games where he amassed over 100 yards receiving. His best 2 games, statistically, were vs Florida International in 2014 where he had 7 receptions for 174 yards (ranks 17th in UofL history) with 2 touchdowns and vs Florida State in 2015 where he totaled 5 receptions for 130 yards and 3 touchdowns. He also had back to back 100 yard games in 2016 vs. Syracuse and Florida State.
But unfortunately, the only 2 plays people want to remember were vs Clemson in 2014 and 2016.
I’m sure you remember him getting run down by Jayron Kearse about 8 yards short of the goal line on what would have been a game winning touchdown. But do you really think that cost them the game? If so then you clearly have a negative bias against James Quick. First of all, he ran an exceptional route just to be able to catch that pass. Secondly, after Quick was tackled, there was 1:08 left in the game. The Cards had it first and goal and on 2nd down there was the infamous spike that costs the cards a down – Remember that? Lastly, Clemson won that game by 6 points without scoring an offensive touchdown. Yes, the speedy James Quick got run down but it didn’t cost them the game. James is unfairly blamed for that loss.
The 2016 game at Clemson was the loudest environment that I have ever been in. The stakes were high as two top 5 teams squared off. You recall it being 4th down with :40 left. Down 6. Needing 12 yards and Quick was forced out-of-bounds after only 11 yards – Game Over. But do you remember what happened just moments before that play? It was 4th and 7 when Louisville was called for offsides, pushing the Cards back 5 yards. Or the 3rd down play prior to the offsides, where the tight end seemed to drop a pass in the end zone. But again, everyone seems to only remember Quick coming up 1 yard short.
The reason I am writing this article is because I was in attendance of a conversation where two people were saying how much they will not miss James Quick because he was terrible. All they could say about him is that he cost us 2 wins vs Clemson and that he dropped way too many passes. They proclaimed him to be the biggest bust ever.
I stood there speechless. I was unable to respond because I was too busy picking my jaw up from the ground. And even if I would have responded, it would have been for not because these clowns had their minds made up and there would be no changing it.
After hearing this baffling conversation, I thought to myself – is this really what most people think? So I went to social media to ask. Because people on social media are not afraid to bash or over hype things because they know there will be no repercussions. The responses I received we quite interesting …
basically he was the FB version of Wayne Blackshear — initially overhyped but subsequently became underrated and unfairly maligned.
— Allan (@AvianDentures) August 4, 2017
James quick career at U of L= 4th & 12. Came up short.
— Ryan (@rhud_502) August 4, 2017
A local kid who played his butt off for his hometown school… forever greatfull
— steve-lou-patterson (@sepatterson17) August 4, 2017
Flashes of what might have been, but overall disappointing given elite status coming out of HS. Definitely didn't live up to 5* potential.
— John Barry (@CardsFanTX) August 4, 2017
I will be forever grateful that he chose to play for his hometown school. He will always be a Card and he will be missed by this fan.
— Jesse Arroya (@JesseArroya) August 4, 2017
As you can see, there are many different views out there. I for one, will never bash a kid who tried his hardest, stayed loyal to his hometown and owned it when things went bad for him. He took a ton of criticism after the 2014 Clemson game. He apologized via Twitter even though he didn’t have to. And by all accounts, he worked even harder to get better.
So you can write your own legacy of 5 star recruit, James Quick. Remember him however you wish but nobody can ever say he was not a good receiver. He is just proof that we put too many expectations on kids based on their star ratings (Just remember that Russ Smith was a 2 star). I will forever be grateful for James Quick. He is just another great one in the long tradition of Louisville wide receivers. He is a Card forever and a proud member of the AFROS. Thank you for choosing Louisville, James.
|5-Star Recruits by Round Drafted (2002-2008)|
|Source: Rivals.com / NFL.com|
|5-Star Recruits by Position|
|5-Star Players||Draft Rate||Retention Rate|
|Source: Rivals.com / Pro-Football-Reference|
As Always, GO CARDS!