Atkins Plans Trip To Check Out Tigers

One of Florida's top defensive line prospects talks about Auburn and lists his final five schools.

Fort Lauderdale, Fla.--Auburn's biggest recruiting weekend of the season will take place on Jan. 13-15 and one of the players expected in for an official visit is defensive lineman Geno Atkins from St. Thomas Aquinas High School.

A 6-2, 265 defensive end who has the size and speed to play right away on the collegiate level, Atkins helped his team to a berth in the state championship game with a strong senior season that saw him finish with 67 tackles, seven and a half sacks, 18 tackles for a loss, four forced fumbles and two fumble recoveries.

Those numbers were enough for him to be named the Class 5A Defensive Player of the Year for Florida. That's a very big accomplishment and one that Atkins says comes because of hard work on and off the field.

"It was a huge deal for me," Atkins says. "We put in so much hard work during the off-season trying to get better. It's a big accomplishment for me."

Atkins is a physical player that could play the strong side in college.

Atkins, the son of a former NFL player, has already visited North Carolina State and has plans to go to Pittsburgh this weekend for his second trip. He's also scheduled to visit Michigan State on Jan. 20 and along with his Auburn trip Atkins says he's added another program to his list.

"I have my fifth school now," he notes. "Georgia offered me a scholarship yesterday. I'll piggy-back that trip with Auburn and go there on Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday."

A member of one of south Florida's most talented teams, Atkins honed his skill on the offensive line against top linemen such as Daniel Wenger, Marcus Gilbert and Sam Young for St. Thomas. That has made him a better player and brought schools such as Auburn to his doorstep. He says there are many things to like about the Tigers at the moment.

"I like them football-wise and academic-wise," Atkins tells Inside The Auburn Tigers. "Coach (Eddie Gran) says that they have a lot of academic support and that helps out an athlete because we have most of our time taken up with football. Football-wise they have a winning tradition. They look good."

In the final days before the recruiting dead period Gran made an in-home visit with Atkins to show him the strengths of the Auburn program and get a chance to spend some quality time with his family. Atkins says the coach made a good impression that day.

"He visited me the last week before Christmas break," Atkins says. "You can tell he really cares about his players. He told me about the team meal they have before the games where all the players will go to a coach's house and have dinner there. You can tell the team is like a family."

A two-year starter at defensive end for St. Thomas, Atkins says he was named All-County for Broward and Dade Counties and also All-State on several teams. He is also a member of the track team in high school and has a personal best throw of 58 feet in the shot put and 147 feet in the discus.

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