UM Gaining Ground For DB

Avery Atkins is enjoying life right now. His Daytona Beach (Fla.) Mainland team, the defending Class 5A state champions, is heading into the state playoffs this week as district champions. He's having an All-State type of season and he's one of the most heavily recruited players in the state.

"We finished with 2 losses but we won our district so we have homefield advantage to start the playoffs," Atkins said. "We wanted to get some momentum going into the playoffs but Chaminade beat us last week. I'm not trying to make excuses but we're not used to playing at 3 like that. I've never played a game that early in my high school career. Their field doesn't have lights and they're used to that. When we took the field, it took us awhile to get into the flow of the game. That's OK, though, because we're ready to make a statement and get back to the title game."

Atkins, 5-11 and 180 pounds, is having an outstanding senior season. There was no senioritis for the talented defender.

"I was a senior and had to be one of the leaders this year," he said. "I had to step up and play well. I have the most interceptions (seven) in the area and I have about 700 yards rushing while splitting time at running back. I've scored four non-offensive touchdowns this year too."

Atkins remains one of the state's premier defensive back prospects. After a summer commitment to the University of Florida, Atkins is keeping his options open.

"I'm still committed to Florida but I wanna take some other visits just to make sure I'm not missing out on anything else," he said.

Atkins talked about each of his current favorites.

Florida -- "I'm committed to them and want to see what happens with the new coaches. They'll get a good coach. I really like the gameday atmosphere there."

Miami -- "They're ready for me to come on a visit. Even after I committed to Florida, Miami stayed on me real hard. I was a fan of theirs growing up. I wondered about the depth chart but then I realized that doesn't matter. If I go in there and do my thing, I'll play anywhere."

Auburn -- "I'm actually supposed to go up there this Saturday for a visit. They're having a great season and they've been recruiting me hard. I want to compare the gameday atmosphere to what I saw at Florida."

Georgia -- "I'll get a chance to watch them against Auburn. They're always winning and one of my teammates from last year (Kelin Johnson) is playing there now."

Florida State -- "I've always been interested in Florida State. They're close to home and I think I fit into their scheme and everything."

So what's it going to take for someone to beat out the Gators in the end?

"I'll take my visits and then see what happens from there," he said. "If I find somewhere better than Florida, that's where I'm going. I won't know till I take all my visits."

Atkins is scheduled to visit UM on Dec. 16.

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