Appreciating Every Minute

Duke Lemmens has some nice offers early. The DE has an early leader, but admits that there is plenty of room for things to change.

Westlake Village (Calif.) defensive end Duke Lemmens (6-5, 240, 4.7) is seeing yellow and green as the Oregon Ducks top the young recruit's list. But the Oak Christian High School junior said things could change with an offer from the Florida Gators. He claims to have written offers from Utah, Oregon, Oregon State, Arizona, Washington, Duke and a verbal offer from Florida.

"Oregon is my slight favorite right now," Lemmens said. "Coach (Michael) Gray and I talk a lot. I really enjoy our conversations. Their facilities are state-of-the-art. It's so nice. I like the direction the team is going. The Pac-10 is a big factor too. It is a passing conference…which I love. I'm more familiar with it.

"I have a verbal offer from Florida right now. Coach (Greg) Mattison and I text-message each other a lot. I've also got handwritten letters from them telling me that they really liked what they saw on my tape. Coach Mattison said they want me to come out there for a visit and I could walk away with a scholarship offer. That's really big. It's such a top-notch program. Who wouldn't want to play in The Swamp? I'm planning on going out there next month and if I come back with an offer, things could really change.

"I love the Southern football mentality and the 12th man aspect," he said. "It's so different from West Coast football. Southern fans live football. It's huge to them. The environment out there is magic. The fans support is so strong and loyal."

Lemmens, who is also being recruited by Texas A&M, UCLA, Stanford and Colorado, said that the Wildcats and The Cardinal are other possibilities. "Both Arizona and Stanford are high up on my list too. I really like Arizona. They're right behind Oregon right now. They seem like a program on the rise. I love Tucson too. I'm going to their spring game next week. Coach (Charlie) Williams is my recruiting guy so we've talked a lot. The program is first class and Coach (Mike) Stoops seems like a first-rate type of guy…a guy you'd want to play for.

"My mom and dad are rooting for Stanford. I'm definitely looking hard at them. I've got some mail from them and they seem pretty interested. I know their recruiting process is different than other schools and that they typically don't offer until late. The first thing is the admissions part…so I'm working on getting my GPA a little higher. I would love to make my family happy by going there, plus it's close to home."

Lemmens said he and fellow teammates, defensive end Mike Ebbitt and safety Marshall Jones, are hoping to go to school together. "Ebbitt, Marshall and I all have offers from Oregon and Arizona," he said. "I'm hoping if I get an offer from Florida that I can convince them to offer both of them too. That would be so great."

Lemmens said he has cooled down on his previous top choice, UCLA. "I really was interested in UCLA, but they haven't showed as much interest as the other schools. It's a little too close to home too.

"I really don't have a timetable for committing," the defender said. "I plan to cherish the whole recruiting process. This is a once-in-a-lifetime experience that I'll never have again. I want to appreciate every minute of it.

"My strength is pass rushing. I love nothing better than hitting the quarterback. I need to work on my fundamentals and my mental game. I want to be more perceptive and quick to pick up play. I'm working on this by studying more film."

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