Florida TE Heading to Toledo

It's been a rough couple of months for Gerard Atkins after signing with South Florida in the 2009 recruiting class. Things did not work out for Atkins at USF, but he had several options to choose from heading into January. He recently made the decision to become a Toledo Rocket.

Gerard Atkins graduated from Hollins High School in St Petersburg, FL last year, expecting to be on the South Florida campus soon after. The 6-5, 250 pound tight end signed with the South Florida Bulls, but was not cleared by the NCAA Clearinghouse.

Then he found out that South Florida had signed 28 players in February, but could only bring in 25 on scholarship according to NCAA rules. He was now in a position where he would have to pay his own way to South Florida in the fall and then go on scholarship in January, but USF never admitted him. By that time it was too late to go to a prep school. So what did Atkins do?

"I took some classes at a community college," Atkins told Rocket Digest in a phone interview this evening. He did not have anywhere to play football, and he slipped through the cracks in regards to BCS schools.

Other schools did not forget about Atkins though and several stepped up with offers to come in January on scholarship. Bowling Green, Eastern Michigan, FIU, FAU, Northern Illinois, and Toledo all offered Atkins the January scholarship option.

Two weekends ago he made a trip to Toledo on an official visit. Florida native David Pasquale was his player host. Atkins knew Toledo was the right place for him.

When asked about the reasons that he chose Toledo, Atkins quickly responded. "The coaching staff and the players there that I met during my visit," he responded.

Gerard was recruited to Toledo as a tight end by assistant coach Jason Candle. He has a full four years of eligibility.

Atkins was ranked the #99 tight end prospect in the country coming out of high school. He saw time as both a tight end and wide receiver in high school, and also played some one defense. In fact, he returned an interception 99 yards for a touchdown while in high school.

Atkins will start classes at Toledo in January and will participate in winter conditioning and spring practices for the Rockets.

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