LCHS' Divens talks about his change of heart

Earlier this week, Lincoln County (Tenn.) High School DT Lamar Divens withdrew his commitment from Ole Miss and re-committed to Vanderbilt. Will it hold up until signing day? The 6-4, 280-pound All-Stater talks about the reasons for his change of heart.

After Lamar Divens made an official visit to Ole Miss on Jan. 10, the Lincoln County High School star was sure where he wanted to go to school, and made a verbal commitment to David Cutcliffe and the Rebels. Just a few weeks later, however, with a little more time to think and reflect, Divens wasn't so sure.

A fellow's allowed to change his mind, ain't he? This past Tuesday Divens announced he had was no longer a Rebel commitment, and instead would be heading to Vanderbilt-- a team to whom, ironically, he had already committed once.

"I committed to Vanderbilt earlier [in early November], but they wanted me to cancel all my visits if I was going to commit," the 6-4, 280-pound defensive tackle told Wednesday. "But I was still wanting to take some visits, and just make sure that that was where I wanted to be.

"Then when I went to Ole Miss, I ended up liking it a little more. But that was before I really thought things over. Because when I went down there, they were talking about me playing on offense."

Divens said he was impressed by the successful season Ole Miss had had with Eli Manning in 2003-- but once back home in Fayetteville, Tenn., Divens was haunted by second thoughts.

"I guess I just got caught up in their Western Division championship and all that, and I went ahead and committed to Ole Miss," Divens explained. "But after I got back, I really started thinking things over. Playing offense is really not what I wanted to do."

At Lincoln County Divens played both offensive and defensive tackle, and when his Tennessee 5A All-State honors came, they were for his work on the offensive side of the ball. But Divens saw his future at the next level on the defensive line-- which coincidentally was Vanderbilt's greatest area of need for 2004.

"At Vandy they want me to play strictly defense. So I'm going with Vandy."

As a Commodore, Divens said coaches told him he will likely play in a rotation between defensive tackle and defensive end. They also told him he has an outstanding shot to contribute right away.

Divens finished the 2003 season with 67 tackles, 16 sacks of either the running back or quarterback, 2 pass deflections, 2 fumble recoveries, and a host of quarterback hurries.

His commitment is a testimony to Vanderbilt's persistence-- even after his commitment to Ole Miss, the Commodore coaching staff continued to assure Divens he had a scholarship in Nashville were he to change his mind. Coaches Robbie Caldwell and David Turner continued to call him once a week to check his pulse, and made an in-home visit in an attempt to sway the Lincoln County star. Eventually, it paid off.

Divens' teammate and fellow defensive tackle Theo Horrocks made a verbal commitment to Vanderbilt last week, but Divens said that didn't really play into his decision. The education he would receive at Vanderbilt and the chance to play on the defensive side were the biggest factors, he insisted.

"You get a good education at Vanderbilt, and I should get a chance to go ahead and play early," Divens said. "Personally I think they're going to turn that team around. You've got a great recruiting class coming in. I see a chance to help turn things around there.

"It's in the SEC, and it's pretty close to home."

Not surprisingly, Ole Miss hasn't give up on Divens easily, and has continued to call; but Divens said he has told all the other coaches to quit calling. "My mind is made up," he said.

Is he 100 percent certain he'll be signing with Vanderbilt on signing day?


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