Florida RB ready to pick up where he left off

Gerard Hamlett, a running back at Fort Lauderdale (Fla.) St. Thomas Aquinas, will be a name that recruiting fans will be quite familiar with once the season begins in the fall.<p> Don't expect the 5-10, 175-pound slasher to get early offers this spring, due to a knee injury last season, but once the season starts and he proves he's healthy, the offers will start to flood in.

Last season, the St Thomas Aquinas junior tore his ACL in the second game of the season. Before the injury in that that game, he was off to a solid start rushing for 53 yards on three carries.

With some solid rehab, he will most likely be named the starter for the 2003 season. According to an assistant coach, Hamlett has the potential to be one of the best in school history when healthy.

"I'm about 80% now," Hamlett said. "I shouldn't have any problems practicing this spring."

Even though he missed most of the season, that hasn't deterred colleges from sending him a ton of mail. Some of the interested schools are Notre Dame, Michigan State, Georgia, Tennessee, Auburn, Florida, and Pittsburgh.

Hamlett, who rushed for 220 yards on 14 carries as a sophomore, talks about his main strength.

"My strength is my vision," he said. "I have the ability to see the hole and make my cut."

As a freshman on the JV squad, he rushed for over a 1,000 yards.

"He's a real humble kid," his mother Cynthia said. "He doesn't like to brag but I can tell you he fights for the extra yards, and you can't tackle him by the ankles."

Hamlett, who carries a solid 2.8 grade point average, doesn't have a favorite team and is very open to recruitment.

Dave Peters

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