Monday, June 17, 2013
Gators lead for juco D-linemen after visit
By Jeff Barlis
GAINESVILLE, Fla. -- When Abu Lamin and DaVonte Lambert heard they would be paired for an official visit to Florida this past weekend, they sought each other on social media and struck up the beginnings of a friendship. After all, the juco prospects have a lot in common.
They're from the South, they play on the defensive line and they're coveted prospects itching to prove themselves at college football's highest level.
"We've got a real strong bond now," Lamin said on Sunday as he headed home. "We've been with each other all weekend, we all went out together, so we're definitely close now."
Juco prospect Abu Lamin is a 6-foot-3, 300-pound defensive tackle.
They now have one more thing in common. After a weekend with the Gators, Lamin and Lambert each emerged with Florida as his top school.
"It was an amazing trip," said Lamin, a 6-foot-3, 300-pound defensive tackle at Fort Scott (Kan.) Community College. "Florida is definitely No. 1, they're my leader. Me and DaVonte Lambert, we both had a blast. We loved it. I expect to come back for a big-time game.
"We looked at it like if we both were here we could do big things. We both really like the school. It's definitely a great school. We talked about it. We loved it. We enjoyed ourselves. It was a great time, great facilities, great everything. The coaches are going to be upfront with you."
Lambert (Milledgeville, Ga./Georgia Military), a 6-2, 275-pound defensive end, agreed wholeheartedly with his newfound friend.
"Everything was perfect," he said. "They had everything laid out for me, so I really loved it."
The visitors toured campus, met with academic advisors, had dinner with the coaches and their families inside the Swamp and had breakfast at head coach Will Muschamp's house on Sunday before departing.
Lambert and Lamin also spent quality time on and off campus with several players, including tight end Tevin Westbrook and running back Kelvin Taylor. They forged a stronger connection with their hosts, defensive tackle Damien Jacobs and offensive tackle Trenton Brown, two fellow junior college transfers.
"They went the same route that I took -- they were in juco and now they're Gators," Lambert said. "They were telling me about everything that they went through, and they're getting plenty of chances to play on the field. Knowing that they'll be going and I'm coming in and I'll have playing time, that's very good."
Juco defensive end DaVonte Lambert called his visit to Florida "very influential."
Lambert, who took an unofficial visit to Georgia the weekend before he visited Florida, will continue his tour of the SEC East and officially visit Tennessee this weekend. He hopes to visit Arkansas in July and said he is "thinking about visiting Auburn in July as well."
Lambert said he'd like to make a decision in August or September and focus on his season and academics.
"This [Florida] visit was influential, very influential," Lambert said. "... You never know, I might be loving Tennessee next week, but the Gators are No. 1 right now."
Lamin will officially visit South Carolina this weekend, hopes to visit Arizona State and Nebraska and said he is saving his final visit for either Georgia, Tennessee or LSU. He plans to take all of his visits in the summer and is also leaning toward making a decision before his season.
But he came close to calling an end to his recruitment during his time with the Florida coaching staff.
"The coaches told me they want me, they need me, they want to do big things with me here," he said. "But honestly, there was a temptation. I sat down with Coach Muschamp and I told him, 'I've seen what I needed to see and I want to come here now. I want to kinda commit now.' But I was telling him I couldn't, not yet because my mom hasn't seen it. I talked to my mom about it. It's a little ways away from Carolina.
"But if it wasn't for that, if my mom was here right now, I'd probably be a Florida Gator committed right now today."