Brinson Excited about Florida

Like most kids that grew up in south Florida, Lewis Brinson grew up cheering for the Miami. However, when the Hurricanes offered him a scholarship to play baseball, he didn't commit. The hesitation had everything to do with what he saw in Gainesville. On Wednesday morning at Coral Springs High School, Brinson officially signed with the Gators.

"I wanted to go to Miami all my life," Lewis Brinson said. "I was knew Miami was my dream school."

Despite growing up and watching Miami, Brinson still watched Florida. He remembers watching former Gators like Matt den Dekker and Matt LaPorta play, but there's no doubt that Miami was his favorite school.

Something changed when Brinson started to be recruited by schools. He chose Florida over Miami, Nebraska, FAU and USF, but it was the honesty and down to earth approach that the Florida coaching staff used to recruit him that drew Brinson to Florida.

"They just told me how it is," Brinson said. "They laid it out on the table and told me how they worked. They told me how the system works. They've been to Omaha the year before, and they have a successful program. Miami had more of a cocky vibe to me. Florida just told me they work hard to get their name."

Wednesday morning, it started to sink in for Brinson that high school will be over soon. He still has his senior season to play in the spring, and it will happen with plenty of scouts observing from the stands.

Walking into his school's media center Wednesday to sign his letter of intent made it seem real. There were plenty of administrators, classmates and most importantly, his mother, in attendance. It's his relationship with her that made the event even more special.

"She was excited," Brinson said. "I told her not to cry, but she got a little teary eyed because one of the administrators did. She was really excited though."

Brinson didn't always know if he would end up going with baseball. He split time between that and basketball when he was in middle school. When he made it to high school, he knew that he wanted to play baseball and his mom pushed him to give basketball a chance, too.

It didn't take long for him to figure out that the love he had for baseball didn't translate to the hardwood. He explained that to his mom and made the decision to stick with the sport he loved, in large part because of his mom's support.

"She has been by my side since day one," Brinson said. "She has been behind my back the whole time. She knows now what I want to do for the rest of my life."

Brinson originally committed to Florida in February, right before the start of his junior season. It came after visiting Gainesville and going to a Florida basketball game. However, it was seeing the weight room that was his favorite part of the visit.

The center fielder took his official visit to Gainesville when the football team hosted Tennessee in September.

"That was unbelievable," said Brinson, who was hosted by freshman second baseman Casey Turgeon. "I stayed in the dorms with some freshmen on the baseball team. We went to dinner and the football game. That was unbelievable. People were out there at like seven in the morning setting up their stuff and tailgating. We got to go on the field for the beginning of the first quarter. To see The Swamp packed like that, it was unbelievable."

The highlight of Brinson's career came over the summer. He was one of two Florida commitments, the other being Providence High School outfielder Christian Dicks, to participate in the Under Armour All-America Game at Wrigley Field in Chicago.

Brinson was able to meet and spend time with Chicago Cubs legend and Hall of Famer Ernie Banks.

"He was Mr. Cub," Brinson said. "Obviously, I didn't get to watch him, but I would see clips of how he and Willie Mays paved the way. He's a guy I look up to."

Their conversation gave Brinson a leg up in the home run derby. Banks made a point to tell Brinson that the ball flew out to left-center field. When the derby started, Brinson launched a few in that direction to take how the crystal trophy that Brinson said weighs close to ten pounds.

His 6-4, 180-pound frame has plenty of room to fill out by working out in the Florida weight program, but his swing already generates plenty of power.

"Not many people think I can hit the ball with so much power because I'm a skinny guy," Brinson said. "It comes with my leverage. I get the ball out in front, and I have a lot of leverage because I have long arms, so the ball travels off my bat pretty good."

That power will make Brinson a heavily sought after prospect in the 2012 MLB Draft. He has five-tool potential that already has scouts drooling. However, he isn't sure if professional baseball is a route he'd like to go straight out of high school.

"My options are open," Brinson said. "College is the only thing on the table right now. I'm obviously focused on college, but my ultimate dream is to play in the MLB. If that opportunity comes for me to start my Major League career, then take it, but for now, it's strictly college. When the draft comes around, I'm still going to be thinking about college because I would love to go to Florida for three years and experience that."

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