Lynden Trail's Past Keeps him Focused

Every time Lynden Trail looks at his forearm, his tattoo reminds him of what could have been. He thinks of playing at Booker T. Washington High School, looking over his shoulder from his defensive end spot to get the play call from his best friend, linebacker Anthony Smith. Even now, he would give anything to look over his shoulder to see Smith one more time.

"We always spent time together," Lynden Trail said. "From flag football to basketball, we were close. We always stayed together and played in high school together. We had a close connection."

Smith invited Trail to a Fourth of July party in Miami the summer before their senior year. The 6-7, 238-pound defensive end was getting dressed to leave when his phone rang. It was his girlfriend, now wife, Kyera.

She said she was coming to Trail's house to spend time with him. He wondered why she didn't call earlier, but Trail decided to sacrifice and spend time with her.

He didn't know what a smart decision it would be.

A gang fight broke out at the party. One gang set off a TNT bomb, a firework known as being one of the loudest. People thought it was gunshots and started to flee the scene.

As people ran, one gang pulled out guns and opened fire. Smith didn't know where the bullets were coming from and ended up running straight into them.

"He died on the spot, but they revived him," Trail said. "He battled for a good four days."

Trail missed offseason workouts for those four days. In fact, he missed everything that happened outside of the hospital, where he sat at Smith's bedside the entire time.

"I didn't eat for two days because all I could think about was him," Trail said. "I didn't go home or anywhere."

Smith passed away during that fourth night.

It changed the mentality of the Booker T. Washington football team, but no one was more affected than Trail. Sometimes on the practice field with the Gators, he still looks down at the tattoo on his forearm and remembers what he lost.

However, Trail also remembers why he wasn't there. Kyera Trail recently became his wife before the two moved to Gainesville to allow Trail to play for the Gators. Trail won't forget that her phone call is what kept him from being at the same party that killed his best friend.

"She actually saved my life. A 6-7 guy in that position of bullets flying everywhere," Trail said, shaking his head as he thought about it.

Trail hears all the jokes about coming into his freshman year of college married. He's used to it now. His fellow freshmen still jest about going out on the weekends, but Trail is content in his surroundings.

Teammates come to him on Fridays and jokingly say, "We're going out to get some girls. Trail, you can't get any girls." It's part of the sacrifice Trail made when he married Kyera, and he wouldn't change his mind.

"I barely go out, but it's not because I'm married," Trail said. "I'm just a homey person. I'd rather stay home, study my playbook and spend time with my wife than go out and party."

Trail weighed 210 pounds after running track during his senior year at Booker T. Washington. There was some worry about adding weight to his thin frame once he got to college, but Trail didn't waste much time eliminating those fears. He is already up to 238 pounds.

But he realizes he is physically one of the least impressive freshmen defensive linemen. It's not a knock on him as much as a compliment to the others. Trail knew most of his freshmen teammates at the position from playing in all-star games and camps, but that doesn't mean they are any less impressive.

"These guys are amazing," Trail said. "Sharrif Floyd will take on a triple team if he has to. Ronald Powell is one of the most physical defensive ends I've ever seen in my life. Dominique Easley has the quickest step off the ball out of anyone here. He can literally snatch the snap from the center if he wanted to."

Trail knows his role in the freshmen class is to provide a pass rush. Now that his weight has been straightened out already, he will do his best to make an impact this fall. There are veterans ahead of him on the depth chart, but Trail is keeping the right mindset heading into camp.

"We've got to see how camp goes," Trail said about his playing time. "If not, I'll just get better and work on my technique. I'll gain a little weight and be ready to rock by next year."

Speed changes production at any position, and it has made Trail the type of player he is.

"As far as pass rush, I keep my motto I've always had," Trail said. "You can't block what you can't touch."
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