James Quick used to top competition

Ronyae' Quick was never afraid to challenge his son. Sometimes he even employed older kids to do the job.

James Quick, who recently said he'll take official visits to nearby Louisville as well as Ohio State and Oregon, never knew what it was like to play against kids that were the same age as him. His dad made sure of that. The younger Quick always played against older competition to force him to improve his skills.

It worked. Quick, who is also considering Cincinnati and Kentucky, is rated the No. 57 prospect and ninth-best receiver in the nation.

“It just gave me experience to play against players that were bigger and faster than me as a kid,” said the 6-foot, 180-pound Quick. “It gave me the mentality that you've got to go hard every time you're on the field.”

The many experiences shaped Quick -- perhaps his toughness most of all. Surprisingly, he said he never got frustrated playing against more developed athletes.

“They try to push you around but at times you have to stand your own ground,” Quick said. “That's what I had to do.”

Despite the advanced training, mother nature still had a say in his development. While he certainly excelled against older competition, he didn't have the complete physique to even scratch his potential. That all changed during his sophomore season in 2010.

“I guess you could say I'm a late bloomer because I didn't start developing a football body until my sophomore year,” Quick said.

Dad noticed the obvious difference. Quick caught 89 passes for more than 1,200 yards and 16 touchdowns. He also ran for 187 yards and a score on 18 carries.

“Probably his sophomore year,” Ronyae' Quick said about when his son arrived as a premier athlete. “He got it. He has the potential. He still has a lot to work on. He's got the potential to be a good football player.

Sure, the younger Quick has speed, size and athleticism, but there's more there. Ronyae' Quick has seen it for years.

“He listens,” Quick said when asked what impresses him about his son. “He's very humble. He always want to get better, to work on the little things ... He's always wanting to work and try to get better.”

Ronyae' knows the challenges that await his son when he chooses a college among his finalists. The elder Quick has been there before. He played football at Louisville.

“No pressure at all,” Ronyae' Quick said when asked whether there's a burden from hometown fans or family to play for the Cardinals. “Since I played ... I take care of things and take off the pressure. We know how the game is played.”

Yet there is some incentive to stay close to home and be a Cardinal. James grew up rooting for Louisville, and he is a top priority for the school. While schools such as USC and Notre Dame have pilfered the state, Louisville has secured only one commitment from among the top 10 prospects in the state.

However, that one commitment could certainly be a factor in Quick's decision, as it's from Kyle Bolin, a highly rated quarterback from Lexington (Ky.) Catholic. Moreover, there's still an emotional tie to the school.

“It would be nice but that's his decision,” Ronyae' said. “He has to be there for four years. I've already graduated from college.”

Ronyae' said his son still needs to improve, mainly at coming out of his breaks and gaining separation from defenders. Perhaps it's time to go to the old training regimen?

Good thing. In 2013, Quick will soon be playing against older competition again.