May 13, 2012

Spring Tour: Couple of new offers for UF commit

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ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. - Cory Moore shakes his head when he talks about how last season ended.

The head coach of the St. Petersburg (Fla.) Lakewood Spartans watched his team surge to a 6-0 start. A handful of weeks later, they missed the playoffs. He said his team largely quit on the season after loss to Tampa (Fla.) Jesuit. Watching his team this spring, he is optimistic the troubles of the past are gone.

"There's no prima donnas; that hurt us last year," Moore said. "Last year we beat Countryside, won six in a row and then lost our last four due to guys looking at stats, guys being selfish. They see what happens when you're like that."

Moore credits players like Florida wide receiver commit Rodney Adams for the quick turnaround.

Adams made his public commitment to play for the Gators public on Feb. 18 as part of a huge Junior Day harvest for head coach Will Muschamp and his staff. He had decided long before that day that Gainesville was where he wanted to be.

"Florida was my dream school from the get-go," Adams said. "It was pretty easy (to decide). People tell me to keep my options open, but Florida feels like home. I want to be a Gator."

People have been telling Adams things he doesn't want to hear for years. When he started playing high school football, coaches and friends told him to play safety. They told him he didn't have a future past high school on offense.

He started at corner before talking coaches into moving him to wide receiver.

"I just blocked them out, did what I had to do on the football field and it paid off in the end," he said. "I'm committed to Florida."

There are no gentleman agreements in the Southeastern Conference. A player committing to Florida does little more than alert other schools they should recruit said player even harder.

With that being the case, few things have slowed since Adams went public with his commitment.

On Friday, Alabama defensive line coach Chris Rumph stopped by Lakewood to check in on Adams. Although Moore said Rumph was respectful of Adams' commitment, the intent was clear. Schools aren't going to give up on his services.

Lakewood was the home of Gators signee Dante Fowler Jr. in the 2012 class. He infamously flipped from Florida State to Florida on National Signing Day after months of speculation. Moore assures nothing like that will happen with Adams, one of Fowler's best friends.

"He told [Rumph], 'I'm solid. I made my word I'm going to Florida. I'm going to Florida,'" Moore said. "That's what we want. We want kids like that. … "I'm honest with the coaches that come in here. If a guy's committed, he's done. If a kid wants to do something else, that's on him. If the kid says he's committed, that's also my word, too."

Adams named West Virginia and Alabama as school that have recently offered him.

Moore said Alabama extended its offer on Friday morning.

For Lakewood, the goal for 2012 is familiar: win a state championship. For six games, that appeared to be the goal in 2011. Behind soft-spoken and humble leaders like Adams, Moore believes he has finally found the right combination.

"Rodney is a kid that if he gets a bunch of balls, he's happy," Moore said. "If he doesn't get a bunch of balls, he's happy. He's literally not a stat guy, which is great."

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