RECRUITING: Meyer's visit wows Avery Atkins

Recruiting in late January is a lot like a bad case of cabin fever. You are eager to simply move forward. Daytona Beach Mainland All-American Avery Atkins is one of the most sought after cornerback prospects in the nation, and he feels like it. Atkins is already looking forward to and eagerly waiting to make his announcement on Countdown to Signing Day.

"I've had a lot of visitors," Atkins candidly remarked. "Coach Meyer came over Monday morning. He got in here about 9 o'clock. We had a great visit. My family loves him. He ate a bagel and had something to drink."

The Florida coach came in fairly unknown, but when he left, he got rave reviews.

"Meyer is more than what I expected," Avery Atkins emphatically stated. "He is just a great guy to talk to. I don't know any other way to say it. He's the guy!"

Atkins has been very receptive in taking the time to get to know the new Florida coach. He has also been amenable to a new group of assistant coaches that dominate the Gators landscape.

Last weekend Atkins visited the former Head Ball Coach in his new Palmetto State digs.

"I visited South Carolina. It was pretty cool, but it just wasn't me," Atkins said laughing. "Coach (Steve) Spurrier said that he did it at Florida, and he'll do it here too. He tried to get me to go to South Carolina."

One of the things that he Atkins spoke with me about was trying to keep all of his academic priorities in balance with the rigors of the recruiting world. That fact was not at all lost on Atkins' most recent visitor.

"Coach (Bobby) Bowden came over (Tuesday) tonight about 8 o'clock," Atkins said. "He really stressed academics while he was here. He told me that FSU entered the ACC because of the strong academics. It was very interesting because he knew everything about me. I couldn't believe how much he knew about me. He asked me to visit. I'm going to go to Florida State this weekend. I'll leave Friday. I decided that would probably be best."

Personally, I'm forever amazed at coaches who use a conference academic reputation as a selling point. What exactly is a conference academic reputation anyway? It's nothing more than inadequacy. In this case it's merely a means of saying, "Look, were not really that polished on the whole academic thing, but Duke, Virginia, North Carolina, and Georgia Tech are in our conference." How many Seminoles players have actually attended a class in Durham? Charlottesville? Why not just plead the fifth for goodness sakes!

While Atkins has decided to take the visit to Tallahassee, the trip is to make certain that he isn't missing out on something. He cancelled last weekend's trip to Florida State.

"I'm still committed to Florida" he said. "Florida is my number one, but Florida State is number two. Please tell everybody that I'll make it public on Countdown to Signing Day."

Before he makes that announcement, there is one other thing that has Atkins elated.

"I'm excited that Florida is looking at Brent (Davis)," he said. "When Coach Meyer was here, I called him and Coach Meyer spoke with him for about ten minutes or so on the phone. Brent is my best friend. I know that he really likes UF. I would love it, if we get the opportunity to go to the same school and be roommates. He's a great person, and I'm glad that he was my teammate here. I would love for him to continue to be a part of my life."

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