Ventura (Calif.) St. Bonaventure sophomore wide out Ladell Atkins was an unknown in most Pac-12 recruiting circles, but with coaches from California and Oregon State on hand for the Seraphs win over Redlands East Valley Friday, the secret is out.
At 5-foot-7, 160-pounds, Atkins may be small, but after gashing
Redlands East Valley for a 64-yard touchdown run on a fly sweep and
50-yard reception on a deep pass from quarterback Ricky Town, his name
will be associated with big plays.
“I balled out on the freshman team last year, so that’s what I’m trying
to do playing varsity this year,” said Atkins. “The main focus is just
to win as many games as possible and lead our receiving corps. in
Atkins speed, and more specifically, his quickness made him a nightmare
for the Wildcats to defend. However, in addition to playing wide out,
Atkins also had several big pass breaks ups on Redlands East Valley four-star running
back and Oregon commit, Malik Lovette.
That speed is already well documented among his teammates. St.
Bonaventure also features Lavan Alston at wide out, who is a 10.74
sprinter in the 100-meters for the Seraphs track team.
“In the 100-meters, Lavan will get him,” said junior Seraph linebacker
Daelin Hayes. “But on the football field, or the 40-yards dash, Ladell
is gone. No contest.”
Atkins doesn’t have a preference for which side of the football he
plays, but he is cognizant of how much more time consuming the
offensive playbook is.
“I’m really trying to get better playing the slot this season because I
still have a lot to learn at that position,” Atkins. “I want to improve
because you never know everything no matter how much success you have.”
But Atkins wasn’t a complete unknown coming into the season. Last
summer he worked out at the Arizona Wildcat Camp.
“That was exciting because it was my first time having a conversation
with a college coach,” said Atkins. “It was great to feel like I was
finally getting a chance to set up my future life. I was getting a chance
to accomplish my goals to play college football.
“I talked to Coach Rich Rod, and he gave off a really good vibe. The
coaches really like my performance. Then the players there showed me
around campus and were really friendly too. It was really nice.”
Friday night, Cal and Oregon State were on the side lines, with the
Beavers mascot also at the game for good measure.
“Those coaches talked to my coaches after the game asking about me,”
said Atkins. “I think they just wanted to see who I was and what I was
Going forward Atkins has two more schools he’d really like to hear from.
“USC and the other would be Oregon,” said Atkins. “USC is close to home
and it’s a really nice school. The campus is amazing. I went to one of
their camps, but I was just watching, I didn’t participate.
“With Oregon, I just love their offense. It’s all about speed, and me
being that type of athlete, I feel like that offense would fit me. I’m
a fast, hard working two-way player. I work really hard to achieve my
goals, but I make friends with everyone.”
Atkins, who managed to win five Pop Warner Super Bowls in a row playing
youth football, grew up playing quarterback.
“The transition to receiver has been easier than I thought it would be,” said
Atkins. “Right now, I’m lined up in the slot, so I’m usually lined up
against a linebacker or a safety.
“I walk up to the line and I read the defense and figure out what
coverage they're in. Then I know what route I’m going to run. From there
I tell myself that I know I’m getting open.”
Sophomore speedster Ladell Atkins
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