DL Geno Atkins from St Thomas Aquinas High School in Ft Lauderdale, Fla quietly put together a stellar senior season in 2005. On the year he collected 67 tackles, eight sacks and 17.5 tackles for loss along with four forced fumbles and two fumble recoveries. In a state loaded with division one talent, Atkins came away as the class 5A state player of the year. The award caught the senior lineman somewhat by surprise.
"To be honest, it was kind of shocking and I was kind of surprised," said Atkins. "I wasn't really trying to get it but I had a good year."
In addition to all-state honors, Atkins was also named all-county and Broward defensive player of the year. That kind of recognition usually results in big-time college recruiting interest and that certainly has been the case for Atkins.
With interest coming from programs around the nation, Atkins has narrowed his choices down to NC State, Pittsburgh, Auburn, Michigan State and Miami. He has set visits with Pittsburgh (Jan 6), Auburn (Jan 13) and Michigan State (Jan 20). Atkins made his first official visit to NC State back in December and Pack Pride caught up with him recently for reaction on his trip to Raleigh.
"The thing that stood out to me was just being around the team and watching them practice," said Atkins. "I got a chance to see how they practice up there.
"I really liked the area. The facilities are really nice and I liked their locker room and weight room. The coaches said they need defensive ends because they're going to lose two this year."
Atkins stated that all the schools on his list are "even" right now although a new name has emerged in the mix.
"Miami just started talking to me but they haven't offered yet," he said. "I wouldn't say it's a given that I would go to Miami if they offered and, really, it looks like I'm going out of state. Distance isn't going to be a major factor in my decision."
With several schools vying for his commitment, Atkins said he plans to make his decision a week before signing day.