A 6'0, 208-pound outside linebacker, Atkins, and Brown, a one-time Miami commit, committed to Illinois just before Ron Zook was fired. After Zook's dismissal, Atkins and Brown made an official visit to Louisville that helped seal Atkins decision.
"We liked the area of the school and the coaches," Atkins said of Louisville. "We felt like we had a good relationship with the coaches. I just liked the players on the team. The players told us it was great."
Atkins could redshirt next season while he gets stronger and adjusts to the college level.
"They told me I wouldn't play much my first year," Atkins said. "They want me to get bigger, stronger and faster my first year."
Atkins, who made 69 tackles, 4 sacks and an interception in his lone season at Norland – he transferred from Palmyra, New Jersey – projects as an outside linebacker. As a junior, Atkins recorded 65 tackles, two sacks and four interceptions.
"I see him as an outside linebacker," Norland coach Daryle Heidelburg said. "That's how we used him. He's very physical."
"I'm good at reading things and knowing what's going to happen before it does and just making plays," Atkins said. "I have to focus on the weight room. I did alright this season. I made a lot of plays. We had a fun season."
After transferring from New Jersey for his final season, Atkins earned a starting job for Norland's undefeated Class 5A state championship team.
"Lamar is getting bigger and stronger," Heidelburg said. "He just came to our school this year from New Jersey and you can already see the growth. He's put on ten pounds this year.
"He was a starter for us, which is impressive because we had a pretty good team. So for him to know nobody and make that adjustment to work into the starting lineup was good.
"Once he got better as the season went on we moved him around. The last four or five games we slid him down as a rush end on third down passing situations to get more speed off the edge. He had no problem with it. He's a team player and just wants to get on the field however he can get there."
Atkins didn't have any other scholarship offers, but FIU, a couple MAC schools and some Division 1-AA programs were showing interest. Atkins, who is expected to attend the same school with Brown, recently took the SAT and should qualify academically.
"He should be okay," Heidelburg said. "He passed our state test with no problem."