Lynden Trail has known all along where he wanted to play college football. From the first time he spoke to Florida coach Urban Meyer, Trail wanted to be a Gator.
"I knew Florida was the school I was choosing when Coach Meyer first got on the phone with me," the 6-8, 215-pound defensive end said. "He didn't ask me about football at all. He asked me how my grades were, how my mom was doing and he even asked me about my girlfriend. His personality shows that it goes beyond football."
The Booker T. Washington High School star's commitment to Florida is all about loyalty. The Gators were the first team to offer him a written scholarship offer. He was so impressed that he convinced his Miami Booker T. Washington teammate Quinton Dunbar to also choose Florida. Dunbar, a silky smooth wide receiver with serious jets, and Trail both committed to the Gators following Booker T.'s upset win over Miami Northwestern.
"There are a lot of schools in my top ten, but out of all of them, Florida was the first school to offer me a scholarship before I exploded on the scene," Trail said. "That means they saw the potential in me. They've been communicating with me more than any other school."
The treatment Trail has received from Coach Meyer has played the biggest role in his final decision. No other head coach in the country was as immediately involved in his recruitment like Coach Meyer was, and Trail knew it from the beginning.
Trail and Meyer spent hours on the phone and what convinced Trail he wanted to play for Meyer was the fact the conversations were rarely about football.
"Coach Urban Meyer is the head coach from the number one team in the nation, and he actually picks up the phone when you call him," Trail said. "You can talk to him about anything. That's the relationship that means a lot to me."
Booker T. Washington has long been a stronghold for the University of Miami. Meyer spent plenty of time at the school in 2008 trying to recruit Brandon Harris, Davon Johnson and Thearon Collier but all three signed with the Hurricanes.
That didn't deter Meyer, whose relentless efforts to break through in Dade County got Trail and Dunbar to commit.
"[Quinton and I] will be the first kids from Booker T. Washington to play football in Gainesville," Trail said. "I always promote Florida around here. We've got some underclassmen here Florida is looking at, and I tell them Florida is where it's at. Don't go to UM and just sit on the bench. When you've got a lot of speed, they'll use you at Florida."
Just because they know how to use speed at Florida doesn't mean Trail thinks he will get on the field without working. The first thing he knows must improve is his strengtht. He weighs only 215 pounds right now so he knows he needs to add muscle and pounds.
Even though he's underweight now, he loves the weight room so he should add the pounds.
"I love to workout," Trail said. "I know a lot of guys don't really like it, but I enjoy doing it. I like to get in shape and looking good. Plus I like to eat too. I know that'll help."
Once the weight comes, Trail expects to explode on the scene. His burst off the line is what makes him special, and his straight-line speed is almost unfair for a defensive end, which he showed off during a 75-yard return.
While Trail brings plenty of speed and athleticism, he's got a way to go when it comes to learning the nuances of the defensive end position. And that's actually what gets him excited. Trail knows just how raw he is but he has the burst and speed that coaches dream of having in a defensive end.
"A lot of people think that how talented I can be is very scary," Trail said. "I haven't even got my techniques down yet. I've got the speed rush obviously, but I'm just learning new moves now. My coach just taught me a new move the other day that he saw John Abraham do to Jake Long in a game. It's where I line up out wide in a speed rush so the lineman gets on their heels, then I just hit them and they will fall. It's been working for me, but it's really one of the only moves I have."
Trail insists that he will most likely stay committed to Florida, but he does plan on taking some visits. He will take official visits to Florida, LSU, USC, and either Florida State or Miami. The visit to Florida will most likely come after the regular season is over.
Trail will take the visits with Dunbar, his teammate and fellow Gator commitment.
"We both agreed that us committing doesn't mean we won't take our visits," Trail said. "Both of our mothers got together with us and told us that we should still take our visits even though we committed to Florida."
Now that the Gators have made their way into Dade County, it's going to take a lot for the Florida staff to let Trail leave.
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