Malachi Fields a 'steady presence' in UVA locker room
CHARLOTTESVILLE, Va. (CBS19 SPORTS) -- Moments after his first varsity football start at Monticello, Malachi Fields joined Friday Night Endzone for his first interview, which ended with his coach elbowing the standout quarterback to speak more than two words.
"All the guys after were laughing at me, kind of made a meme out of me because I said, 'Feels good', I was giving those one-word answers," Fields said grinning, "But my speech has evolved tremendously since then."
A lot about Fields has evolved since the first game of his sophomore season of high school nearly five years ago. The junior will step into a much larger role in the Virginia offense at wide receiver, but he is still the quiet, humble kid from that Friday under the lights.
"It's just a steady presence, he's just a quiet, but a hard-working guy," UVA offensive coordinator Des Kitchings said, "He doesn't ask for much, just shows up and works, he's a sponge for information."
Fields missed the majority of last season with an offseason foot injury. The former Mustang made quite the impression in his only game of the season against Pittsburgh, where Fields returned to action to catch five passes for 58 yards and his first career touchdown.
Now in his first fall camp since freshman year, Fields does not take the moments for granted.
"Think it's super exciting to be back out there and just having that mindset that you have to go hard every day because you never know when you're not going to be out there."
Kitchings said Fields has been busy this offseason building a rapport with both quarterbacks Tony Muskett and Anthony Colandrea. During the team's first scrimmage of the fall last Saturday, Fields was one of three first team receivers along with Demick Starling and Northwestern transfer Malik Washington.
"He just wants to know what can I do to get better, how can I help the team," Kitchings said, "It's been very refreshing to have him back because he's a playmaker. He's going to make plays for us this fall."
Despite the missed time and the expected bigger role this season, Fields enters with the same quiet determination he once had after his first varsity start.
"Approach doesn't change, it's still get out there, work, go your hardest and just be out there with the guys," Fields said, "Lead the guys, show them the way."