Michigan To Evaluate Top Fla. Cornerback

The Spring Evaluation period begins! Over the next six weeks, colleges can pick four in which to send it's assistant coaches out on the road. Their destination? The high schools of their recruits and potential recruits. At the schools the recruiters will meet with high school coaches and watch film on recruits, or they'll watch the kids in person if they are in a spring sport or if that state has spring football practice.

(One more thing: can the recruiters 'have contact' with the recruits themselves during their high school visits? NO -- except for an "incidental contact" to say hi.)

Last night we spoke to one of the top cornerbacks in the country, Avery Atkins from Daytona Beach, Calif., Mainland. At the recent Miami Nike Combine, Atkins had eye-popping stats of: 6-1 (stocking feet), 190 lbs., 4.39 in the 40, a camp-best 3.90 in the shuttle, and a 35.2 inch vertical jump. He was also the most impressive corner in the WR-CB drills, showing the best 'break to the ball'.

We talked to Atkins last night.

We see you have several big-time scholarship offers. Has Michigan offered you?

"Michigan, or Michigan State? Michigan has not offered me, but they are coming down here to my school soon. After this week -- we're on spring break this week. Michigan State has offered me."

Have you ever been to the state of Michigan?

"No , I haven't. If Michigan recruits me hard, I'd like to come up for both camps this summer, Michigan and Michigan State. I want to do both camps."

What is it about Michigan that interests you?

"I like Michigan football program, the way they do things. My head coach, Coach Maronto, likes Michigan a lot. Coach Maronto is from Massillon, Ohio (Maronto also coached in the Detroit Catholic League for over ten years). Coach talks to us about Michigan, how they do things there. He likes the Michigan Head Coach, Coach Carr -- Coach Maronto says Coach Carr has a good relationship with his players, and with his staff."

Your team also has a linebacker, Matt Lewis (a 6-2, 245 pounder), who is talking about Michigan as well? Have you guys talked about visiting Michigan together?

"Yeah, Matt is interested in Michigan. Actually, he and I were going to go to the Michigan spring game. But we couldn't make the arrangements in time."

We see you burned up the Miami Nike Camp! How did the day go for you?

"First they measured us -- measured 6-1 in height. Then in the 40 we ran two heats: the first time I ran a 4.5, and the second things went better and I ran a 4.39. In the shuttle I had a 3.90, and in the vertical jump I did a little over 35 inches ... 35.2 I think."

How would you describe yourself as a player --what are your strengths as a cornerback?

"My strengths? My speed ... and I'd say my field vision, my field awareness -- I know where the ball is at all times out there."

What other camps are you thinking of attending, and who else has offered you?

"I definitely plan to camp at LSU and Miami. I have offers from Florida State and Miami (they both offered after his soph. year), Florida, Georgia, LSU ... (and that's just in the South)."

As a junior Atkins made 39 tackles, three interceptions, and six pass breakups, in helping Daytona Beach Mainland to the 5-A (largest classification) State Champtionship. He was also the back-up running back for his team (the first teamer made All-State), gaining 513 yards (8.4 yards per carry) and eight touchdowns. Atkins also has a 3.0 GPA, and a 300 lb. bench press.

Conclusion: We believe that after his Miami Nike performance Atkins will move from a regional star to a National Star. Atkins will be tough to get away from the Florida schools and LSU ... but the interest in Michigan is there.

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