Dunbar excited to return home

Quinton Dunbar had every reason to follow the people he grew up around. Being raised in an area of Miami laced with alcohol, drugs and guns, the redshirt junior receiver at Florida saw things that most children can never imagine. This weekend, Dunbar returns to his hometown wearing the orange and blue of the enemy, but it never would've been possible without the guidance of his mother.

No matter what was going on around him as he grew up, the voice of his mother always echoed through his mind.

"There wasn't temptation for me because my mom is a great parent," Quinton Dunbar said of his mother, Twanette. "She always kept me on point and made sure I didn't do other things that other kids did."

She wanted her son to make something of himself. With all the problems going on in his neighbor, Dunbar's mom wanted to see her son grow up to make positive decisions that would eventually allow him to leave their neighborhood.

Now a starting wide receiver at the University of Florida, Dunbar continues to use his platform to share with the younger kids from his neighborhood that they can get out, too.

"When I go back home, a lot of the kids look up to me because I'm doing something that they want to do in the future," Dunbar said. "I wouldn't say I'm a role model. I'm just an example that you can come out of a situation like they're in right now."

That humility is why kids from his hometown and even his teammates in Gainesville are drawn to his personality. He's now trying to encourage younger kids in his hometown to follow his path and make something of themselves when they get older.

"The success rate is low," Dunbar said. "I always just try to tell them whatever you put your mind to you can achieve. Coming from a city like that where there's a lot of drugs and a lot of guns, it's very hard to get out of it. But if you put your mind to it, you can get out of that situation."

Dunbar wasn't always mature. Even when he was in Gainesville, there were questions about his maturity keeping him from being on the field. Over the last two seasons, his role has grown because of the maturity Dunbar is showing off the field.

He's mentoring younger receivers on the team, helping freshmen Ahmad Fulwood and Demarcus Robinson get on the field. The Florida coaches have noticed it.

"I can't say enough and feel more proud of that kid in how he's grown up as a kid," Florida offensive coordinator Brent Pease said. "It's awesome how he's helped younger players, how he understands his role and what he wants to bring to the offense and really understanding that he's a guy that we expect to make plays for us."

Dunbar credited being away from home and on his own in Gainesville for why he grew up, but he'll always think of the way his mother raised him.

"You can't stay young forever," Dunbar said. "You can't be immature forever. You've got to grow at some point."

This weekend, Dunbar leads the Florida passing attack to face off with his childhood favorite team. Dunbar grew up wearing orange and green, cheering for former Miami safety Sean Taylor. His cousin -- Denzel Perryman -- starts at linebacker for the Hurricanes, and he grew up playing against Miami running back Duke Johnson.

Everything he knew growing up was orange and green. Plenty of the college players that he played with in Pop Warner and high school decided to attend Dunbar.

But not Dunbar.

He committed to Miami as a junior in high school before changing his mind and deciding to attend Florida, wanting to blaze his own trail at a different school.

"I just felt like it was the perfect fit for me," Dunbar said of Florida.

Dunbar needed around 30 tickets to get all of his friends and family in the stadium on Saturday.

"I mean just very excited to go back home and play on my home turf," Dunbar said. "Just to play there should be very exciting. (Rivalries are) very intense. We came into practice very excited because we ready to get out there and play. It's pretty intense.

"This is our first real test and we want to come out with a bang to show the world what we have."


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