Sunday, June 10, 2007

Avery Atkins, Proof That Talent Isn't Everything

In 2005, Avery Atkins was a talented recruit who had committed to play football for Urban Meyer at the University of Florida. He stepped onto the practice field that spring as a top 10 nationally ranked cornerback recruit, ready to contribute immediately on defense and special teams.

Throughout 2005, he contributed heavily on the special teams unit, and when given the chance to start against Florida State he intercepted a pass and recovered a fumble. He was expected to challenge for a starting cornerback role on the eventual national champion team of '06, but problems with the mother of his child in Daytona Beach and run-ins with the law lead to him asking for, and being granted, a release from the team.

Since then he had been arrested three times. Twice for domestic battery and once for felony aggravated battery. Last night, he was arrested for the fourth time, on charges of "possession of a stolen firearm, possession of cannabis under 20 grams, possession of cocaine and possession of drug paraphernalia". Atkins had re-enrolled at Florida in January with the hopes of returning to the team, but that second chance seems all but gone.

Here is a player that, had he stayed out of trouble, would have SEC and National Championship rings. Would currently be competing for a cornerback position on a team that lost its two starting cornerbacks. And, would be having his coverage skills, which are impressive, showcased to NFL scouts on a high profile team in a high profile conference. Atkins is the prime example of someone who has the talent to beat most opponents, but can't seem to get past his biggest opponent, himself.

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