Five-Star CB Still Looking at Seven

I was able to catch up and watch Lamarcus Joyner in late February at a practice session for a 7-on-7 team down in Miami. On this day he was the best player on both sides of the ball among a group of prospects that was very talented. He has speed, agility, and an aggressive nature that makes him a primo cornerback recruit for college coaches. However, it was his maturity that impressed me the most.

It is almost strange how mature Lamarcus Joyner comes across when talking to him. The former Miami (FL) Southwest star is currently at Ft. Lauderdale (FL) St. Thomas Aquinas. It was a move that many prospects in his position wouldn't make because of all the talent to compete against at Aquinas. Still, Joyner looks so far ahead and see where the program they have developed will make him that much better.

"I am at St. Thomas Aquinas and am getting bigger, stronger, and faster so everything is going good,"Joyner said this weekend. "I think they are really going to help me get to the next level, coaching wise, teaching wise. The coaching over there is real good.

"Almost the whole defense and four of the offense are (big time prospects). That just makes you go full speed all the time. They make you go 100 percent on every play, there is no letting up."

At the tryout I watched, Joyner was competing against more than a dozen future high division -1 skill position prospects. Hands down, he was the best. He played most of the day on defense, but when asked to try the other side of the ball, he smoked everyone he faced by blowing past themas a receiver. He will be playing everywhere for Aquinas.

"I am playing the same positions as my old school," he said. "A little wide receiver,a little free safety, and a little cornerback. I am pretty much all over the field including special teams...I feel pretty good about my defensive play, so my goal is to get a little more play on offense for my senior year in high school, I want the ball in my hands."

When I had a few minutes down in Miami to chat with Joyner and talk to him about things other than recruiting, I asked him how he thinks he was able to make himself into such a premiere athlete. He has unbelievable quickness and his vertical is huge. He just does everything physically at a very high level.

What he told me was something straight out of a Rocky movie. He uses the sand to help him. During the off season, Joyner runs on the beach in loose sand and that is what has made him into such a strong player and one that just doesn't quit.

"We train like a college team here and so I haven't done it in over a month," he said. "I will go to the beach when everyone is on break. While everyone else is out playing and partying, I will be in the sand trying to get better. I have been doing it since the eighth grade. I just got it in my mind back then I was going to make it and just started to do it.

"I think it helps me mentally. If you are mentally strong, you will be physically strong. Every down you will see me go 110 percent and everyone that sees me says I have a motor that doesn't quit and I just smile because I know where it comes from. I am aggressive every play and feel like every play is my last one. I am always aware that I have to make this play every time."

Unfortunately for college coaches, Joyner has been elusive on the college camp circuit. As of now, he only has one camp planned and that is in Tallahassee for their Show Time camp. He did say there is a possibility he may show at the nation's premiere college camping event in Gainesville. Missing the camps was something he did purposefully, simply because of the pressures of the recruiting process.

"I have one planned and that is Show Time," he said before continuing on. "I might do Friday Night Lights, but right now it is just the Show Time.

"I am trying to stay away from stuff like that, stay away from media and all of that talk. I just want to stay focused on high school academic wise. My plans are simple, but it is something that is going to help me."

He did visit a few schools in the spring. The Ohio State trip was the one that probably drew the most attention, but he went to a few other places a little under the radar.

"I went to Ohio State, Florida State, Tennessee, and Alabama," he said. "I went to Florida too. I went to Florida after I visited Tallahassee after practice and just met Coach Bedford and we went over things."

Right now there are seven teams in the thick of things and the Seminoles of Florida State are in the cat bird's seat. The Noles were his childhood favorite and he has other connections as well. He talked about each of his favorites.

"I have a top seven right now," he said. "FSU is the leader, then Ohio State, then Florida, then Georgia, Tennessee, Alabama, and USC.

Florida State: "I like the coaches. They are great guys. I feel like I can be around that staff for three or four years. I feel like in recruiting everyone is rolling out the red carpet and everyone is going to tell you truths and not truths. I feel like FSU is a place that is almost guaranteed to shoot the truth 100 percent with me. Then I see the opportunity to go in and start as a freshman and be a part of a new era to bring them back. Those are the reasons I like FSU.

Ohio State: "What sells Ohio State are the coaches and guys that they recruited. I am close friends with Jamaal Berry and Duron Carter, guys like that. They have laid out a program that will let me mature as a man and that is something that I am looking for."

Florida: "I don't care too much about facilities, but if you want to talk about training and guys that can get you to the next level...academically and the program they run in the weight room, they are clicking right now. They will be clicking for the next ten years with the talent they are bringing in. I definitely feel like I could go there and win a national championship with that bunch of talent around me. I love Coach Meyer, I love his philosophy. I love how he uses speed....speed kills.

"(Two All-American freshmen corners in two years) definitely means a lot to me and that is another reason Florida is in there. They play freshmen a lot to be a powerhouse program,. They really show freshmen love. I really do look at stuff like that and it is another reason why they are in my top five right now."

Georgia: "Mark Richt is the same faith as me. I definitely looked at the depth over there. Depth charts don't mean that much to me, but Georgia really needs help in the secondary. To be in the SEC and a great place like Georgia with Coach Martinez. I watched practice and saw how he coaches and I was real impressed."

Tennessee: "Lane Kiffin is trying to get going into a new era over there. There is nothing better than going to a new era and helping things out. With what the coaches are saying right now it looks good and sounds good. I met Coach Kiffin and Eddie Gran. I met Monte Kiffin and they say he has a lot of tools that can help me get to the next level. I want to get to the league and he definitely knows what he is doing."

Alabama: "Nick Saban is a legend. A lot of people down here talk bad about Nick Saban,. But my thing is the first impression is the last impression. When I first met him he was a great guy. He was the first coach to evaluate me and tell me specifically how he felt. Alabama is starting to do real great and they are moving that program to a new era. I love the atmosphere over there."

USC: "I talked to Pete Carrol and he is a great guy. Before even getting into high school you hear about USC and the guys they put in the NFL. It is a whole other world over there. They put the spotlight on you it's like a ticket to the NFL over there. They will always be successful."

With a Who's Who list of college coaches and programs after Joyner he seems to have things in order or getting there. His grades are coming up and things are looking good for a decision probably before January.

"I have a 2.7 GPA and everything is going great," he said about his school work. "I took the test a couple of times. I will probably make a decision in mid season or after the season...not signing day, probably before that. will be following Lamarcus Joyner's progress throughout his recruitment, so stay tuned.

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