The final product of college football recruiting is difficult if not impossible to predict. For further evidence of that reality, focus on four-star running back Adarius Lemons.
As a highly-touted ball-carrier from Clearwater (Florida), Lemons holds over 20 offers, scholarships that he picked up from programs such as Auburn, LSU, Michigan and others. With a litany of schools hot in pursuit of a reliable player to tote the rock, he has a lot to consider, both on and off the field.
According to some recent tweets from his personal Twitter account, he may still have more thinking to do. Late at night on August 22, Lemons tweeted out an informal decommitment from the Florida program, citing personal reasons as the factor fueling his de-pledge.
I would like to de-commit from Florida Gators and worry about my priorities first I got so much going on right na.
— adarius zabri lemons (@adariuslemons) August 22, 2016
Remember, earlier in the recruiting process he also decommitted from North Carolina in favor of the opportunity in front of him at Florida, so he has traversed the committed-to-uncommitted waters a few times already–and back. While his time as a Tar Heel commit was short-lived — a stretch from March until July 24 — Lemons’ time as an uncommitted prospect after de-pledging from Florida was even shorter.
On Tuesday morning, just hours after decommitting from Florida on Twitter, Lemons clarified his status and indicated he would like to remain a committed recruit in Florida’s 2017 class.
“I would like to say I’m gong to just focus on school and keeping my nose clean,” Lemons posted on Twitter. “Damn near lost my career, seem like I gotta do everything right. It’s hard when you ain’t never picture yourself in this position, but I still do wanna be a Gator. Nun’ changed, I just gotta keep focus and gain to maintain. I will be off social media.”
According to a report by SECCountry.com, Lemons spoke with the Florida coaching staff after decommitting from the program. Based on the results of that conversation, the Gators’ staff was quite influential in convincing him to stay aboard as one of the school’s 14 committed recruits in the 2017 class, a group ranked No. 15 in the country and No. 7 in the ultra-competitive SEC according to 247Sports.com.
Fertile recruiting hotbeds such as Florida are always focal points for SEC powers. Florida typically strives to keep its most talented players, and the Gators currently have 10 in-state players in the fold out of 14 overall. Lemons fills a key role in that class as the only running back, so the Florida coaches worked hard to keep his commitment intact while he sorted through his own issues out of the social media spotlight.
Unlike most running backs, Lemons is a tall runner, checking in at 6-foot-1 and 195 pounds. With those dimensions, the four-star prospect has a high center of gravity but does well to maintain his balance when either avoiding or minimizing contact. He bursts through the hole and picks his alley quickly, even shifting gaps midway through the line when his blocking breaks down. With natural tackle-breaking ability, he’s explosive and difficult to bring down in one-on-one situations, a predicament defenders won’t relish this fall.
Lemons’ highlight tape, which can be viewed on Hudl here, does not showcase much of his ability in the receiving or blocking game, likely the byproduct of his many long, riveting touchdown runs. Lemons does make a slick and focused one-handed grab when exiting the backfield towards the end of the tape, and he also shows he is comfortable returning kickoffs (if he is asked to do so in college). These qualities put Lemons into clear four-star category — the Gators will be pushing to hang onto his pledge as the 2017 recruiting cycle continues.
Lemons will begin his senior season this Friday on the road in a non-conference game against Tarpon Springs (Florida) according to MaxPreps.com.