Pack Makes The Cut

Fort Lauderdale (FL) St. Thomas Aquinas defensive lineman Geno Atkins had a huge senior season but a win in the state title game would have made it even better.

Fort Lauderdale (FL) St. Thomas Aquinas defensive lineman Geno Atkins had a huge senior season but a win in the state title game would have made it even better.

St. Thomas Aquinas and Lakeland played one of the most anticipated Florida high school championship games in recent memory. The game was billed as the high school national championship. Lakeland entered the game ranked No. 1 nationally by USA Today, and St. Thomas was ranked No. 4, and Lakeland dominated throughout, winning 39-10.

"It was a tough game, they executed well in their plays," Atkins said. "I had five and a half tackles, and I forced an interception but that didn't matter. We still lost."

Atkins finished the year with 67 tackles, 7.5 sacks, 18.5 tackles for loss, four forced fumbles and two fumble recoveries as he was named Florida Class 5A Player of the Year. With more than a dozen scholarship offers on the table, Atkins has narrowed his list to four colleges.

"I'm down to NC State, Michigan State, Pittsburgh and Auburn," said Atkins. "Those have been on me the longest, and I am comfortable with all of them."

Atkins is in his first season as a defensive lineman, as he played linebacker his junior season for St. Thomas Aquinas. Standing 6-foot-2 and 265-pounds, he has the frame to play right away at end and could even grow into a defensive tackle on the next level.

"Most are recruiting me for defensive end," he said. "I'll play wherever, but I think it will be defensive end."

Atkins talked briefly about the four programs that are under consideration.

Pittsburgh: "They have a nice facility and a good coaching staff."

Auburn: "They have a good academic program and a solid football program."

Michigan State: "They have very good academics and the program is okay. They have a nice program."

NC State: "They have a nice defensive program. I really like their defense. Academics are good there too."

The Wolfpack will have the first chance to impress Atkins, as he is in Raleigh this weekend. What is he looking for on his trip?

"I'm going up there to see the campus life, how close the dorms are and how they coach the team," Atkins said. "I want to see if I like the school and the surroundings."

Atkins is scheduled to visit Auburn (1/14), Michigan State (1/21), and Pittsburgh (1/7) in January. He plans on taking all four visits before making his decision.


#94 Geno Atkins Video


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