RECRUITING: A Familiar Name For Gator Fans

One of Florida's best high school football players is cornerback Chris Lett of Pensacola High School. If the name sounds familiar for Gator fans it's probably because there is a family connection with the University of Florida. Gator fans should remember Chris Lett's uncle very well since Clifford Lett was an outstanding combo guard that helped lead Florida to their only SEC regular season basketball championship in history back in 1989.

(See Chris Lett profile)

Clifford was one of the best defensive guards in the SEC back in his day and while nephew Chris fancies himself as a basketball player, it's on the football field that he's making a name for himself. That doesn't stop Chris from wanting a piece of his uncle on the basketball court, though. Chris has done everything but issue a public challenge.

"I can't get him to come out on the court and play," said Chris. "He says he is too old. We need to get him out there on the court."

The family ties run deep in the Lett family. There is no doubt that the entire family is hoping that Chris keeps the family tradition going when he decides where he's going to play college football.

"On that side [Uncle Clifford] of my family, everyone is a Gator fan," Lett said. "Even on my mom's side they don't have any ties but they want me to go to Florida too."

Chris understands that college football recruiting is pretty much a business and that he'll have to decide what's best for him. Still, there is no denying who his favorite team was when he was growing up.

"I grew up a Gator fan," he said. "My favorite player was (wide receiver) Travis McGriff. I used to love watching him play, he made some good plays."

If Chris chooses to go to Florida, the coach that's recruiting him will also be his position coach and that's a plus.

"I have been talking to Coach (Chuck) Heater," he said. "We chit chat off and on, but haven't had a lot of time with him. He's a pretty good man."

He gets plenty of mail and telephone calls from college recruiters. He's already got an impressive list of schools that are maintaining regular contact.

"South Florida, Florida, Miami, Florida State, North Carolina, Alabama, LSU, Auburn, and Notre Dame are all contacting me," he said. "I have an offer from Auburn.

"I don't have any favorites just yet. I guess Auburn is up there unless I get a better offer. They are a pretty good team. I watched them last year and like their defense. I haven't had a chance to go see them but I might this summer."

Pensacola Coach Mike Bennett sees the long range potential in Lett. He thinks Chris is one of the best players he's ever coached.

"He's a 6-2, 210-pound corner and he has a great vertical jump," Bennett said. "I think he jumped 40 inches the other day. I guess his claim to fame is that in two games Fred Rouse only caught one pass on him. He's a great athlete, plays basketball, and runs track.

"UF, FSU, Auburn, and Alabama are all after him hard. I coached in the Florida - California All-Star game and he's as good as anyone I've had out there. He is that corner that everyone is looking for with his ability and his height to match up against the tall receivers. He is going to get a lot of attention from a lot of people."

Pensacola High had a fine season last year, losing to eventual Class 4A state champion St. Augustine in the playoffs. Chris had 29 tackles and four interceptions during the season. He saved his best game for cross-town rival Escambia.

"I had two interceptions," he said. "We were just out there having fun and playing around. It was senior night and I came out with two interceptions and a big hit on the sidelines."

He will do a little of everything for Pensacola this year. He will play cornerback, a little tailback, wide receiver and even quarterback on offense. In the classroom he is doing well but expects to get better. He has a 2.8 GPA and already took his first ACT exam.

The summer of 2006 looks like a busy one for Chris. He is planning to camp at Florida, South Florida, Troy, and possibly LSU. Expect the offers to start flowing once he shows his stuff in camps against top-flight competition. The recruiting heat is going to ratchet up to a new level very, very soon.

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