Birthday: November 17, 1983
Eric Winston arrived at Miami with the goal of becoming the next great Hurricane tight end. The Midland Lee High School product played as a true freshman behind Kellen Winslow, seeing time at tight end, H-back, and fullback.
After the season, Winston evaluated his prospects and felt he had to choose between becoming either “a good tight end or a great tackle.” By the next fall, Winston had earned Miami’s starting left tackle job. In his first ever season as an offensive lineman, the Hurricane coaches named him the teams’ offensive MVP against West Virginia and Rutgers.
Winston’s “Neanderthal” nickname suits his physical blocking style. He has managed to bulk up without losing his tight end agility, so he can handle the speed and quickness of the more athletic pass rushers while also possessing the strength to push around the bigger defensive linemen. Although only a sophomore, he became a vocal leader of the talented Miami team and is admired for his attitude and work ethic.
Despite his great natural ability and the strides he has taken in such a short time, Winston has room for improvement. He can get bigger and stronger, and he needs to establish a longer track record of playing success since consistency is such an important quality in offensive linemen.
Winston already draws comparisons to another tight end-turned-tackle, Robert Gallery. Winston could become the same caliber of prospect as the second pick in the 2004 draft, especially if he stays in school through 2005 and continues to develop physically and gain experience.
(profile written by Warren DeLuca
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