Joyner Coming To Columbus This Saturday

This weekend's Herbstreit Classic in Columbus will feature the top ranked team in the country in Ft. Lauderdale [Fla] St. Thomas Aquinas. Aquinas, led by all-everything athlete Lamarcus Joyner, will face Upper Arlington on Saturday. Joyner spoke to Bill Greene about his upcoming season, and how recruiting is going for him.

Ft.Lauderdale (Fla.)St. Thomas Aquinas heads to Columbus this weekend to play Upper Arlington in the Herbstreit Classic on Saturday. St. Thomas Aquinas, looking to defend its 2008 national championship in the season opener in Ohio, is led by superstar athlete Lamarcus Joyner.

Joyner, who has scholarship offers from nearly every school in the country, is excited about showing his talent to the fans of Ohio, especially since Ohio State is one of his final college choices.

"We should be really good this year," Joyner told "In the past week we are starting to look like the No. 1 team in the nation. We are coming together as a team and the chemistry is where we want it to be right now. I'm excited to come to Ohio to play Upper Arlington. We want to show people that we deserve our high ranking. Our coaches have been preparing us that every team we face is shooting to knock us off. It would make their season to take us down, so we have to be ready to go every single week."

Joyner transferred to St. Thomas Aquinas from Miami Southwestern, but still figures to be the focal point of his new team.

"My role will be exactly as it was last year at Southwestern, maybe even more," he said. "I'm playing free safety and wide receiver, and I'm in on all the return teams. It's great because I have two great players on each side of me in Keion Payne and Cody Riggs at each cornerback spot. They have me shade the wide side of the field and try to force the quarterback to look to the short side. We play mostly man-to-man in the secondary. We have a college coaching staff at St. Thomas, to be honest. I thought I knew a lot about how to play the game, but I found out I didn't know much, once I got here and saw how Coach [George] Smith does things. Anybody that plays at St. Thomas will be ready to play college football."

Joyner is driven to succeed, both on and off the football field. After transferring to St. Thomas in the fall Joyner posted a 3.5 GPA and earned the respect of the players and coaches.

"I give all the credit to God for all the good things that are happening in my life," Joyner said. "I'm a Christian and I'm taking that part of my life very seriously these days. I know God has a great plan for my life and as long as I live the life He wants for me, I should be fine. I know how blessed I am and I give thanks to God every single day. My work in the classroom is due to my faith and the strength God has given me."

Joyner is one of the heaviest recruited players in the country, but admitted the stress of recruiting has taken a toll on him.

"I'm happy to have my season get under way so I can get away from all the recruiting stuff, to be truthful," Joyner said. "It got to be pretty crazy last summer and I was starting to feel the pressure. I was happy to see the season get under way so I can concentrate on winning another national championship for St. Thomas. I'm going to put the recruiting stuff aside until after my season for the most part."

It was once thought that Joyner might be making his commitment public before his senior season, but those plans have changed.

"I will not be making a commitment in the next few weeks," he said. "My coaches at St. Thomas have helped me see that it's best for me to not rush my decision, and I'm going to wait it out until after our season is over. I am going to take some official visits this season. I have three planned, but I only have one set up for sure. I want to go to Florida State to see them play Miami, and I want to go to Georgia to see the LSU game, but those are not set up yet. The only visit that is set is to Ohio State to see them play USC on September 12th. It's already been cleared through the NCAA clearinghouse and I'm good to go with Ohio State.

"I really want to wait and see where things are after my season before making my decision. I don't sign until February, so why decide today?"

Joyner was hesitant to even name a leader at this point in time, having done that for so much of this year. He simply said there are three teams he thinks about more than the others at this time.

"I'm not going to name a leader because every time I do that, it seems like things change and it isn't what I said," he said. "Let's just say there are three schools on my mind right now. They are Florida State, Ohio State and Florida. I think about those three every day it seems, but I'm not driving myself crazy about it. I don't want to have a No. 1 school though. All three schools have the potential to give me what I'm looking for in a school. Florida has jumped up there after I went to Friday Night Lights in Gainesville. I've been in contact with Coach [Urban] Meyer a lot, trying to give him the chance to catch up to the time I've talked with Florida State and Ohio State. I know this will all work itself out in due time and I will announce my decision after my season is over."

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