Football

Freshman ‘King Cobra’ Spence commands respect

Courtesy Sean Spence

He glares at you, seeing nothing but opportunity. He moves like a cobra, zeroing in on its prey. His instincts kick in and he strikes his victim instantly. Once he rises from the pit, he displays to the crowd his cold-blooded features. As he looks down, his dismantled opponent lays there with a blank look. He will remember the name of Sean Spence.

“They call me the cobra around here because I strike fast,” Spence said.

This fierce, true freshman linebacker is already making an enormous rumble around the Miami Hurricane nation. In the first play of his collegiate career, Spence made a solo tackle. His first sack came against Heisman winner Tim Tebow.

It is now only a matter of time before Spence gets his first interception and, more importantly, his first touchdown.

But don’t let his intimidating playing style fool you. Spence is a sincere and, most of all, humble guy.

“He is a good guy,” head coach Randy Shannon said. “He is a very level-headed guy, a guy who you always want to be around because he is happy-go-lucky. He jokes all the time. He tries to act like he is shy, but he is not.”

Spence doesn’t play for fame and glory. This young man understands that family is the number one thing in his heart.

“I play all for my family,” Spence said. “Lots of them look up to me. I have been playing since I was six. Just knowing my little cousins and little brother are watching me, I want to perform better. So I just go out there and compete for them everyday.”

For Spence, football runs in his blood, making it something a little extra special.

“Football runs in the family,” Spence said. “My father played football and so did my brother. If I don’t make it in football, then my goal in life is to inspire others.”

A young Spence used to idolize the great Miami linebackers. Spence has taken his admiration of these former UM greats and adapted them into the way he plays the game.

“I looked up to all the UM linebackers,” Spence said. “I watched those guys when I was young and that’s one reason I want to play like them.”

For this reason, when Spence steps onto the field he brings a little something from all the great UM linebackers that preceded him. But Spence doesn’t necessarily always use former players to motivate himself.

“I start talking to myself. Telling myself, ‘Come on Sean. Fight through this and everything will be alright,'” he said.

Even though Spence appears to be a ferocious predator – which has earned him the name of “The Beast” around the Coral Gables campus – when he steps onto the field, he admits that he always has those butterflies.

“I am nervous before any game, little game or big game,” Spence said. “Once I get that first hit, it’s gone and I can just play football.”

The sky is the limit for Spence, his teammates and the Canes.

In his first season, Spence is looking to claim new titles with his team.

“I’m trying to help this team win,” Spence said. “I want to help my teammates around me. We want to win the ACC.”

Spence recognizes that while playing for the Hurricanes he must seize the moment.

“I want to be remembered for my great plays and effort,” Spence said. “An old saying I go by is ‘Go hard every play because you never know when it might be your last play.'”

Once it’s all said and done, Spence looks forward to being one of the all-time greats to have passed through Miami. He may be just some ordinary cobra right now, but everyone beware: When all is said and done, Spence could be in a class of his own, as King Cobra.

September 15, 2008

Reporters

Lelan LeDoux

Senior Sports Writer


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The Miami Hurricane is the student newspaper of the University of Miami in Coral Gables, Fla. The newspaper is edited and produced by undergraduate students at UM and is published weekly on Thursdays during the regular academic year.