OL Names Early Favorites

Every night from 4-7 pm these days, the players at Booker High School get together in preparation for the upcoming season. Perhaps the best player on that field is two-way lineman Dumaka (Duma-ka) Atkins.

"We're getting there," Atkins said. "I think we have a pretty good team but things still have to come together."

Atkins, who scored a 940 on the SAT to become a full academic qualifier, also competes in track where he throws the shot put (46 feet) and discus (135 feet). "I just do it for something to do in the spring before football starts."

At 6-foot-4 and 280 pounds, Atkins is one of the top two-way linemen in the state. Two years ago, his brother Baraka was in a similar situation as a top recruit.

"I learned some things from when he was being recruited," Atkins said. "Right now I'm in the process of weeding out the smaller schools that I'm not real interested in. Then I'll be able to move on from there."

Dumaka provided an update on his older brother.

"Man, he's hungry," he said. "They have two summer sessions that players can work out in and he's staying for both of them. Both their defensive end spots are up for grabs and he really wants to win one of them. There is lots of competition and he understands that. He thinks he can win a spot and did some nice things in the spring. He's up to about 6-5 and 260."

Atkins received numerous calls from college coaches during the month of May.

"Some of the ones that called were Florida, Auburn, Florida State, Ohio State, Michigan, N.C. State, Auburn, Oklahoma, and I think Miami," he said.

Atkins said eight of the schools recruiting him have already extended scholarship offers.

"Florida State, Florida, Auburn, Tennessee, Michigan, Ohio State, Georgia Tech, and North Carolina all said that I have a full scholarship to go there and most of them sent the stuff in the mail too," he said.

The talented lineman talked more about the Hurricanes and what he meant by his comment on Miami calling.

"The reason I think they called is because I didn't actually talk to them but I think they called here when I wasn't home," he said. "They came to watch practice too."

Atkins is being recruited on both sides of the ball but said all three Florida schools like him on one side. "Miami and Florida State want me on offense and I think Florida wants me on offense too. The ones that like me on defense are some out of state schools."

Atkins, who plans on camping at Down & Dirty as well as Auburn or LSU, was asked about his early favorites.

"I'm really open to all of them," he said. "I like the in-state schools and some of the ones from out of state, especially the ones that have offered."

Does that include the Hurricanes?

"Yeah, Miami's definitely in the running," he said. "My brother goes there but that doesn't mean I will. I'll do my own thing but it's good to know he'll be there. They're one of the ones I'm looking at."

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