RECRUITING: Show And Tell Time For Paris

It's show and tell time for Sebastian River (FL) linebacker/defensive end Jamel Paris. Limited to four games in 2004 because of nagging injuries and four hurricanes that interrupted the high school football schedule, Paris is playing catchup this summer when it comes to recruiting. He has a lot of coaches calling him, but they want to see him in camp or in games before they will make a scholarship offer.

(See Jamel Paris profile)

Just because he doesn't have offers doesn't mean that coaches aren't highly interested in this 6-6, 215-pounder with good quickness and a very athletic frame. Lots of coaches are interested, but they want Paris to show and tell.

"I am interested in Florida, Georgia, Miami, Auburn, and Clemson," he said. "They all need game film to make an offer."

Paris had a great camp at Miami which opened some eyes and during the spring jamboree he had a highlight reel play that really stands out.

"I couldn't get hardly any stats because I hardly played last year," he said. "I pretty much showed everyone what I can do at the Miami camp. I was the only one to beat Daron Rose (Tampa Jefferson offensive lineman, rated four stars by at the camp. I have a first real quick step and I have a really long reach. I use the Jamming Machine in the weight room a lot, so I can use my arms to get people off me real well. They say I'm not the biggest dude around but they teach me the techniques I need.

"In the spring game against Melbourne, there was a passing play where the quarterback ran away from me. The Gator coaches said it was like a 40-yard run, for me to get to the quarterback and I sacked him. I ended up with 1-and-a-half sacks that game."

That big play showed the athleticism and speed that Florida coaches like. He spent a day at the UF camp earlier in the summer, too, so the Gator coaches are taking a long, hard look. While he was in Gainesville, he was impressed with the Florida campus and the coaching staff.

"I met with all the coaches and (Head Coach) Urban Meyer," he said. "I spoke with all of them and they were real down to earth people. I liked the whole atmosphere at the University of Florida. They said that they need one to two game films for an offer."

They gave him the full experience of the campus while he was there for one day of camp. Paris, who is planning on majoring in business management, got a tour of the school. Since then, Florida's coaches have continued to stress academics.

"They took me on a tour around the campus," he said. "The way they talked to me they were real interested in me getting a good education and everything. I am being recruited by Coach (Billy) Gonzalez and Coach (Greg) Mattison. They text messaged me and they were home watching videos with their family at the time. Some times its stuff like 'Keep the Gators in your heart'."

He also was invited to the Junior Day that is happening the weekend of July 22. Paris will be attending and bringing a guest with him.

"Just me and my uncle are coming up," he said. "They just said they want me to come up … they called it Friday Night Lights or something like that."

Florida isn't the only school taking an active role in recruiting Paris. He talked freely about the schools on his list.

GEORGIA: "They want to play me at outside linebacker and defensive end, just like Florida, and I always wanted to play linebacker. I also like talking to (linebackers) Coach Jancek, he seems like a good guy."

MIAMI: "They have always been my favorite team growing up. I went to a couple of games last year and the whole atmosphere is crazy, I really like it a lot. Coach Greg Marks, the defensive line coach, is recruiting me. He is a real good guy. My mom and I went for a Junior Day down there, and he and Defensive Coordinator Randy Shannon … they were real good people and I like them a lot."

AUBURN: "I really like the coaches there."

CLEMSON: "They came to my school that visited. I liked the coaches there, they were real cool and were real interested in my academics."

Of the five schools on his list, however, there is one that has certainly caught his attention.

"I like all five schools, but the University of Florida is a little bit ahead of all of them," he said.

He has the speed and agility of a linebacker, but he needs to add a little weight to his tall frame to play extensively there at the next level. He could put on a lot of weight and stay in a three point stance as a rush end, but Paris wants to be roaming the field as a linebacker in college.

"I normally play defensive end but I want to play linebacker," he said. "But, I do like getting after the quarterback off the edge. I can do that with ease.

"At Sebastian I normally play defensive end with my hand down but at the last practice I played all linebacker. I am not going to play that [defensive end] at the next level though. I play tight end during certain plays. They like me to be a lead blocker on the sweep and take out the first linebacker I see. I like doing that."

College coaches don't want him to worry about his weight. He will get with a strength and conditioning program once he is at a school and he'll get to a weight the coaches think is best. For now, at least, he's being recruited as a linebacker.

"If I am playing linebacker they only want me up about 20 more pounds or so," he said. "If I get to defensive end, they want me at 260 or 270 pounds. They said don't worry about the weight."

His academic house is in order so that's a real plus. He could make himself eligible to graduate early and enroll in January which might be a real plus for the schools recruiting him.

"I could be done early and enroll early," he said. "If I know what school I am going to go to I will probably leave early … if not, I will finish my senior year.

For now, Jamel Paris is just playing the wait and see game. He will be in Gainesville next Friday so he will have a further chance to impress Florida's coaches. He really wants an offer and he's hoping that a strong showing in Gainesville can seal the deal.

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