Lemmens Has Had a Full Gator Career

No defensive lineman wants to be at the mercy of former Ole Miss offensive tackle Michael Oher. That's exactly where Duke Lemmens found himself when he was only a freshman. He only made six tackles on the season, but he was quickly baptized into SEC football.

"I was just trying to run to the ball, and I think my feet were of the ground, dangling," Duke Lemmens said. "He was just holding me up in the air. The ball was 20 yards away from me, and I was just trying to get off him."

It didn't stop there, though. Lemmens came into the 2010 season with plenty of emotion. He changed habits off the field to become a better student and a healthier eater. The senior knew there was one last chance for him to play at the next level, and that would come through a successful senior season.

And it couldn't have started out worse.

"The first play of the whole year against Miami (OH), I got flatbacked harder than I ever have," Lemmens said. "I was so excited and it was my first year starting. It was my chance to shine. Then the first play of the season- the first thing that hit was my butt bone, and I thought I broke it."

Lemmens came to Florida like most freshmen. He wanted to see the field as quick as possible and be a part of a winning program. However, if he didn't get on the field that first year, he would have understood. The playing time he did receive came from a thin depth chart on the defensive line, and Lemmens know the only reason he got that was because he "went hard all the time."

Even since his freshman year, Lemmens has seen the mentality of incoming freshmen players change. Almost every year, he has seen players become more entitled. This year's freshman group has stolen plenty of headlines because of their expectations for early playing time, but Lemmens sees that as the norm.

"Even when I was getting recruited, if I didn't have my dad telling me how terrible I was, I would've got cocky," Lemmens said. "I always had my dad telling me, 'You're not that good and remember that.' It's easy to read about yourself and think you're the world. I feel like once you get to college, it happens eventually.

"There aren't too many humble kids coming out anymore."

It didn't take much for Lemmens to be humbled. He walked into the weight room and saw the size of some older players, and he knew to get in line and take orders.

The moment he realized that it was a different level of football is something Lemmens won't soon forget.

"When I showed up and looked at Brandon Spikes," Lemmens said, shaking his head. "He was a linebacker and I'm supposed to be a defensive end. I said, "Wow, I'm never going to play here." That was the moment for me, and it didn't take long. I was just looking at those guys, and they had muscles I'd never even seen before."

With the expectations freshmen had for early playing time, the speculation of transfers has been building since before Urban Meyer even announced his resignation. Lemmens has given advice to any player that asks him, but ultimately, he knows each player will make the best decision for himself.

"I think transferring is a big hassle," Lemmens said. "You have to sit out a year and move everything. I hope that these kids who are thinking about transferring realize that they probably chose this university for more things than just the coaches. It's about education and the people you meet while you're here."

With that said, Lemmens knows things will be different. From the way Will Muschamp commanded the room in his first meeting with the team, the team realized he was no nonsense, high-energy coach. It's not that Meyer wasn't that, but Muschamp's presentation was different.

"It's a regime change," Lemmens said. "When Coach Meyer first came here, he had to do a lot of changing. I'm sure the new coach will, too. I know Florida is Florida. There will always be great athletes here. I think the new coach they hired, from what I've seen and heard from him, I wish I had another year to play for him. He's a defensive guy, which is cool."

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