RECRUITING: No Lack Of Confidence For Rainey

Back from his first trip ever to California where he was a standout in the B2G Football Camp, Chris Rainey sounded almost bored. He spent a few days in LA playing wide receiver where he showed the folks on the west coast that there's good reason for all the hype but it was all kind of ho-hum for the 5-8, 160-pounder from Lakeland, a University of Florida commitment.

(See Chris Rainey profile)

At Lakeland, Rainey plays tailback for the two-time defending state 5A champion Dreadnaughts, winners of the USAToday national championship in 2005. He's gained more than 3,400 yards and scored 54 touchdowns in the last two seasons, dazzling opponents with a combination of Ferrari speed and Fred Astaire moves that make catching lightning in a bottle a simpler task. While Rainey may lack size, there is no lack of confidence.

In California, he spent the week playing wide receiver at the elite camp, sort of a prelude to the role he'll have at Florida where he will likely line up in the slot where he will be a wide receiver on one play, a running back on the next.

"I'll line up everywhere at Florida," he said. "Slot, out wide, running back … wherever they need me, that's where I'll be."

The camp offered plenty of instruction and it brought in some of the top talent in the nation to Los Angeles, but after a few days of running roughshod over every defensive back they threw his way, Chris Rainey came away more impressed with the girls and the bright lights.

"This was my first trip to California and I liked it," he said. "I'll have to go out there and check it out again sometime. The city's cool and the girls … we don't have anything like what I saw [in California] in Lakeland. I liked everything."

Well, nearly everything.

At the camp, he thought he might be challenged more by the defensive backs even though this was his first serious instruction at wide receiver. After getting jammed a couple of times at the line of scrimmage he figured things out and from that point on, he got open on everybody. Once he caught the ball, everybody discovered what Florida defenders have known for three years --- the only way you can bring him down is to force him out of bounds or surround him with too many defenders so he can't escape.

After he did a number on all the DBs in the camp, he was pitted against Reggie Dunn, reportedly the fastest high school football player on the west coast, for a match race. Dunn, out of Verbum Dei High School in Los Angeles, has reportedly run a 4.28 40-yard dash.

"A 4.28?" Rainey asked with a touch of sarcasm. "Pullleeezze."

In two races head to head with Dunn, Rainey won twice. The first race was close but in the second, Rainey had at least a three to four-yard lead at the finish.

"Wasn't close at all," said Rainey, who has been clocked at 4.37. "I burnt him twice but the second one I could have gone faster."

So he left LA, wondering where all the competition was.

"I can't find competition nowhere," said Rainey with a laugh. "I might have to go across the world to find some serious competition."

The camp experience left Rainey homesick for Lakeland and his five closest buddies who have all committed to the University of Florida --- Ahmad Black, Paul Wilson, Steven Wilks, Maurkice Pouncey and Michael Pouncey. He makes his home with the Pouncey twins where their mom, Lisa Webster, is his favorite cook.

"I missed the cooking at the Pounceys," he said. "I missed that bad."

Now that he's home in Lakeland, he will be working out daily to get ready for the high school football season. Rainey will be spending a lot of time in the weight room, trying to add a few pounds of muscle before the season begins for the Dreadnaughts, who have a chance to extend their winning streak to 45 games if they run the table a third straight year. There won't be anymore camps to distract him.

"No camps, no nothing … just getting ready to win another state championship," he said.


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