There’s a meaning behind Xavier Restrepo’s decision to switch his jersey number from No. 80 to No. 7.
The freshman wide receiver had been sporting the number 80 throughout all of Miami Hurricanes fall camp, but he decided to make the change to honor former Deerfield Beach High School teammate Bryce Gowdy, who passed away last year.
“It felt amazing,” Restrepo told 305Sports when asked about his initial reaction to seeing the number on his nameplate. “It’s a really great feeling to wear that number.”
Restrepo has always added a meaning to his jersey number, leading back to his freshman year at Coconut Creek, where he wore No. 21.
“I wore No. 21 because at the time during my freshman year—and I’ve had some losses since my freshman year—but I have two guardian angels up in heaven and I have one opportunity every single day to become the greatest person I can be,” Restrepo said on the Quarantine Football with Nate and Ryan podcast in June.
With No. 7, he looks to establish a legacy for his former teammate.
“Simba is still here and is still living,” he said.
Restrepo will make his collegiate debut on Thursday, when the Hurricanes face off the UAB Blazers. And after dominant performances in the team’s first two scrimmages, totaling seven receptions for 133 yards and a touchdown, in addition to a 70-yard touchdown run, he looks to make an impact from the get-go.
The 5-foot-10, 196-pounder was listed as the third slot receiver on Miami’s official depth chart that was released Monday afternoon. He’s behind senior Mike Harley and junior Marshall Few.
Nonetheless, Restrepo wants to ensure that his team “plays as a team and wins as a team.” As for his goal for year one, he looks to guide his team to a championship.
That mentality is what makes Restrepo unique and has separated him from the rest of the freshman, as wide receiver coach Rob Likens noted.
“He’s just a really hard-work guy, no-nonsense dude, tough as nails, really smart, takes great pride in doing everything right,” Likens said. “He makes our room better, he pays attention to details. Just a great dude.”