Focus 2005

Daytona Beach Mainland High School was loaded with talent last season, ending as Class 5A state champions. Plenty of talent is coming back this season and their best player will likely be running back/cornerback <b>Avery Atkins.</b> Florida State fans will be happy to hear Atkins' favorite player growing up was none other than <b>Deion Sanders.</b>

Mainland High School in Daytona Beach was loaded with talent last season, as they ended the year as Class 5A state champions. Plenty of talent is coming back this season and their best player will likely be running back/cornerback Avery Atkins.

At 5-foot-11 and 180 pounds, Atkins has big time tools as a cornerback -- where he's dominated the past two seasons. He'll fill in for departed Vince Wilson at running back. He finished his junior season with over 50 tackles and four picks on defense, while running for 735 yards and 10 touchdowns on offense.

"My biggest goal this season is to help our team get back to states," Atkins said.

"I'm gonna be running like crazy this year on offense. On defense, I'm different because not only do I have the speed but I also have the patience. You'll never see me overrunning anything. I'm always staying in my lanes, doing my assignments."

Atkins, who has been playing the game since he was six years old, is already gatherning national recruiting attention.

"I am getting a bunch of letters and stuff every single day," he said. "I have scholarships from Florida State, Miami, Georgia, LSU, Michigan State, and Wisconsin. The two that I'm most interested in are Florida State and Miami."

One of the major reasons Atkins is high on FSU is because of a former player.

"Deion Sanders was my idol," he said.

"I really like him, loved watching him play. Everyone wants to be the next Deion and I've thought about that for a long time. As I've gotten older, I've gotten to like Miami more and more though. When I was young, they were struggling because of probation. Now they're back where they're always winning. They win more than anyone else right now and that's a big key to me. I like to win. Their style of play is a lot like FSU's."

Atkins plans on making return trips to summer camps at both UM and FSU, as he makes it pretty clear that this will likely develop into a major in-state recruiting battle as the season unfolds.


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