Cummings has several ties to Florida

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Cummings officially visits UF this weekend. (Photo by Rivals.com)

Is Darious Cummings destined to be a Gator?

Talk to him about UF and it sure seems that way. He admits it, too.

The JUCO defensive tackle will take his official visit to Florida this weekend, but it won’t be his first time in Gainesville.

Cummings was in attendance for Tim Tebow’s final game in The Swamp during his high school recruitment. However, he wasn’t there to see the Gators.

“I didn’t even give them a chance, or any school for that matter,” said Cummings, who committed to Florida State way back in July of 2008. “I never really considered anybody else, and that was basically because of bad advice.”

He arrived in Tallahassee in the summer of 2010 as a consensus four-star recruit and an ESPN150 member out of Astronaut High School in Titusville, Fla.

Two years later, he was gone.

“Things didn’t work out the way I thought they would and people weren’t who I thought they were,” Cummings said. “Things were said and done that weren’t as I was told they would be. I was recruited as a defensive end, but once I got there they tried to make me a defensive tackle. Now I have the weight for it, but at that time I didn’t.

“I just thought things were going to happen differently with my position. But they didn’t, so I packed my stuff up and moved on.”

Now at East Mississippi Community College in Scooba, Miss., Cummings signs his letter of intent on Dec. 19 and will have two years of eligibility left.

Cummings, who is currently committed to Ole Miss, was offered by Florida coach Will Muschamp two weeks ago. He has been building a relationship with him and defensive coordinator Dan Quinn since then, and Cummings is intrigued by the idea of playing for defensive line coach Bryant Young.

“That appeals a lot to me because he was just nominated for the NFL Hall of Fame, so his track record speaks for itself,” Cummings said. “I’ve talked with all three of them about the things they’re trying to do and the expectations they have of the team for the coming years. They really want me to be a part of it because they feel the team could have great success if I jump on board.”

The UF coaches are stressing the opportunity for playing time to Cummings. Florida will only have two returning defensive tackles next year if Sharrif Floyd and Dominique Easley turn pro after this season.

“They tell me that all the time and that’s huge, because obviously you get that exposure,” Cummings said. “I only got two years left, so I’m trying to find a program where I can play right away. So it’s a big factor for me, and I think that’s one of the reasons I have taken a closer look at Florida.”

Will Cummings end up a Gator like fellow Astronaut-alum Wilber Marshall?

Shortly after receiving his offer from the Gators, Cummings’ father wanted him to speak with one of his close friends.

“My dad was like just talk to him about everything with Florida,” Cummings said, “and one day I got a call.”

On the other line was Wilber Marshall. The legendary linebacker, who is one of five Gator Greats in Florida’s Ring of Honor, grew up in Titusville and went to the same high school as Cummings.

“He wasn’t trying to convince me to go to Florida, but he let me know it was a good place,” Cummings said. “He enjoyed his time when he was there and told me the Gator Nation is everywhere and it’s something good to be a part of.”

Marshall isn’t the only person Cummings knows that played at UF. His uncle, Dwayne Dixon, played receiver for the Gators from 1980-1983 and then coached the position at Florida for 15 seasons (1990-2004). He currently serves in the same role at Ohio University.

Cummings said the opportunity to play in-state matters a lot him.

“It will play a big part just to be back at home because I have family that stays in Alachua County,” he said. “So that would be a big thing for my family to be able to come to Gainesville instead of having to drive all the way to Mississippi. My family will come as far as they have to, but location definitely helps Florida.”

What also helps Florida is junior defensive tackle Damien Jacobs, who came from the same community college as Cummings. However, their relationship doesn’t stem from Scooba.

“Me and him never played with each other there,” Cummings said. “I’ve only been at East Mississippi for six months. Damien actually signed with Florida State the same time I did, so me and him met then and became close friends during our recruiting process.”

Cummings has kept in touch with Jacobs since that time and he’s looking forward to seeing him again.

“It will be nice just to hang out and connect with him, because he could be a potential teammate,” Cummings said. “He was just telling me that once I get on campus and see how everything is, my mind will be completely blown. He said things have turned around there and I will love the vibe.”

Cummings and Jacobs have been linked to two different colleges so far. Will they finally get to be teammates the third time around?

“It kind of seems like we were destined to play together,” Cummings laughed. “It would be cool to beat our old school. I don’t even refer to that school by name. I text Damien the other day and said, ‘Man, if I go to Florida, that school out west is going to get smashed.’ ”

The 6-foot-2, 305-pounder said he’s not looking to decommit from the Rebels, but he won’t waste their time if he finds that Florida is the right place for him.

“I just have to go in with an open mind,” Cummings said. “This is the biggest decision of my life because now I have no room for error. So I’m going to take a hard look at them. If I feel it’s a better fit for me, I’m not going to wait on telling anybody.

“If I was to get to Florida and I just see myself there and I know that’s where I want to be, it could be over this weekend. I wouldn’t want to prolong it and have Ole Miss think that I’m coming there. So I would do it as soon as I could. I just need to look at all the pros and cons this weekend and make the best decision for me.”

21 COMMENTS

  1. This kid left FSU because he got buried about 4 deep on the depth chart. He’ll probably be a decent addition to the DT rotation at UF, but he’s probably not going to be a starter. I like how he says “they wanted me at DT and I wanted DE” yet here he is playing DT. Sounds like the FSU coaches said you’re not cut out for DE, you have a better chance at DT, he saw what the depth chart looked like at DT and got his feelings hurt. Turns out the FSU coaches were right.

  2. I used to lift weights with Wilber Marshall during summers in the early 1980s at the O’Connell Center. What a class guy, he use to call my name just to say hi while walking down Museum Road. Two Super Bowl rings, think he still holds some kinda NFL sack/interception reord, not sure why he isn’t in the NFL Hall of Fame. Cool dude.

  3. He definitely sounds much more mature about this decision. Granted he is a couple years older than most recruits (as he is a JUCO), but very refreshing to read. All the signs definitely point him as to being a Gator. Heck he even already dislikes “that team out west”!!!! 🙂

  4. With all those connections to UF, it would be a shame for him to end up at a school with no chance of winning a national championship. Come on down to G’ville and see for yourself that “It’s Great to Be a Florida Gator!”

  5. Any chance of us getting Dwayne Dixon back here as a receivers coach? Considering the receivers we cranked out for the 15 years he was here it would be a good idea for Champ to hire him back. Certainly would be better than the kid we have coaching this year.

  6. Dammit, now we’re picking up FSUs? sloppy seconds? I don’t see so much need for him. There are so many big time DT prospects anymore, seems like they’re as common as wide receivers. I could understand if this kid was an absolute stud, but he couldn’t cut it at FSU. What makes us think he’ll suddenly be a stud here? In my opinion, JUCOs should be limited to absolute studs and major needs. Are we this hard off at DT? Now I’ll have to hear about it from all the Noles.

  7. I love guys that take responsibility for their own choices, and their own actions. That’s true class. And Darius doesn’t have of any of that. Instead of telling the truth – many players at his position were simply better than him while he was at FSU – he blames “bad advice” for choosing FSU, FSU coaches for (correctly) moving him to DT, and makes it like the coaches misled him. Anyone who’s been around Florida State under either Bowden or Fisher will tell you this simply doesn’t happen. Many, many players have choosen to play their “favorite” position, and FSU allows them to play the position they want to play. James Wilder is a good current example. Five star linebacker, four star RB, but that’s where he wanted to play. If it weren’t for Chris Thompson’s injury, and Devonta Freeman’s cousin being killed, Wilder would barely be seeing the field. If he played linebacker, he’d be starting at Sam.

    Young guys need to learn other men have reputation’s, too. How would you feel, Darious, if FSU coaches claimed you just wouldn’t work? Or that you had a bad attitude?

  8. @Gest, man you seem to have a thing for this guy, do you know that his claims are not true that he was given “bad advice” and that he says that his weight was not right fot DT at that time. It’s very posible that the coaches knew better but they could not relay that message to him effectively. Give the kid the benefit of the doubt, I hope that you are not saying all these things about him because he is not returning to FSU. But I must say I do agree with you about James Wilder, to this day I still do not see him as a great RB. I watched him in HS and he did not play with a high motor as a RB, now that could be because he was playing both ways then. But he’s not playing both ways now and I’m still not impressed with him as a RB. Hey Darious, GO GATORS, good addition.

  9. I started this post this morning but had to come back…just saw that Cummins announced his desire to join Gator Nation as a player representative – Welcome Aboard, this is a relationship with no end and one you’ll NEVER regret! He’s just what we need at the DT position, quality depth that allows D. Easley (up 10-20lbs and back inside in 2013) and the others to stay fresh and bite hard! He comes to us physically ready, and requiring little development; should be an immediate ROI! BTW, having NFL aspirations and being offered an opportunity to join THE GATOR NATION and be coached by B. Young…BRYANT YOUNG!…NO BRAINER! There are NFL guys who pay for his type guidance EACH off season!