UF leads for JUCO D-linemen Lambert, Lamin


Florida could be the verge of turning into JUCOU.

This past weekend, UF brought in junior college defensive linemen DaVonte Lambert (Milledgeville, Ga./Georgia Military College) and Abu Lamin (Fort Scott, Kan./Fort Scott C.C.) on official visits.

UF took the lead for them during their trips.

Lamin's conversation with UF coach Will Muschamp sold him on the Gators. (Photo by Zach Abolverdi/The Gainesville Sun)

“It’s Florida,” Lamin said. “Top-notch school and one of the best teams in the nation every year. There’s not one game they don’t play on T.V., and I love that.”

The highlight of Lamin’s stay in Gainesville was speaking with coach Will Muschamp.

“He just kept it 100 with me,” said the 6-foot-3, 295-pound defensive tackle. “He brought me in his office and we talked about my role in the defense. He told me they need me and I’m their type of guy. To hear that from the head man, it was amazing.”

As for Lambert, he enjoyed seeing Florida’s strengh and conditioning staff at work.

“That really stood out to me. They train their players like an NFL team. So knowing I would be ready for the next level if I come there, that impressed me,” said the 6-foot-3, 278-pound defensive end.

Florida's recent history with JUCO players appeals to Lambert. (Photo by Zach Abolverdi/The Gainesville Sun)

They two visitors were hosted by UF’s Damien Jacobs and Trenton Brown, who was Lambert’s teammate in 2012. The former JUCO players made an impression on the D-linemen and got them thinking about joining forces at Florida.

“They were telling us it’s the right move to make,” Lambert said. “They had to go to junior college, but so what. Now they’re at the University of Florida and they have an big opportunity. So it shows that it doesn’t matter if you go to Florida through the JUCO route. You still have a chance to ball out.

“Me and Abu talked about doing it together. Playing with him would be a blessing. I wouldn’t mind lining up next to him any day of the week. He’s a player.”

Although the Gators gained the edge for both prospects, they aren’t making their decisions just yet.

Lambert has trips planned to Tennessee and Auburn, while Lamin will visit South Carolina and possibly Georgia. But those schools seem to have their work cut out for them.

“They can try their best to see what they can do,” Lamin said, “but I just don’t see anybody living up to the expectations of Florida. My heart right now is with Florida.”

Lambert shared the same sentiment.

“Someone is going to have to turn their school upside down for me if they’re trying to take the lead,” he said. “Florida set the bar real high.”


  1. There’s a lot of talent that comes out of JUCO’s. I’m glad to see Muschamp develop such a good connection with these guys. It’s been proven that if they come to UF, they will get a fair shot at playing with the big dogs. Hopefully, we land these guys, because we are going to need them, to prevent a major drop-off on the DL, in depth.

  2. To GI’s point, my bias is toward the High School kids. IMO we shouldn’t be chasing JUCO guys unless they are legit 4 or 5 star suds. We’ve only got 2 years to develop them and reap the rewards of such development. A two or three star kid out of H.S. has a longer run-way to develop. Sounds cold and close minded, but with a limited number of scholly’s seems like going long on a kid (4 or 5 years) is a better bet.

  3. GI Gator, JUCO players are high risk and low/no reward. Especially in the SEC at top tier SEC programs that compete for titles. The competition, preparation, sophistication difference is too big. The learning curve is steep and the players most often aren’t around long enough to master the curve. With the exception of Reggie Nelson, who was a Gator recruit out of HS and only spent 1 year in JUCO, no JUCO player has had any impact for the Gators. Virtually all of our JUCO players have done nothing. The most highly decorated JUCO player we ever recruited was Carl Moore (WR). Big, fast, JUCO All American. He received an extra year because of injury and even in 3 years he didn’t do anything of note. The rest of the JUCO guys have done nothing at all. Muschamp is going after JUCO guys because he hasn’t been able to get enough quality linemen in his 3 recruiting classes. It is an indicator we are thin on our lines and our recruiting hasn’t been what we need in a key area: offense and defensive line. They also mess up your recruitment cycles. You end up having to bring in a new player 2 years later rather than have a junior experienced in your program and the SEC. Meyer and Spurrier didn’t win titles relying on JUCO guys. If we have to rely on JUCO players and OL transfer from Maryland, we have some problems.

  4. SIDNEY, you’re wrong. Bama has had several JUCO’s on the line of scrimmage the past few years and have done extremely well with them.

    This is all about scouting and film work more than anything, and having a good eye for talent and ability.

  5. High school and JUCO players have a lot in common: quality of the high school or college, player’s mental and physical attributes, drive, commitment, dedication to the program’s principles. The main difference is what the student-athlete has done for UF before he leaves the program. Freshmen and Sophomores can perform well before declaring to leave as juniors. A JUCO player doesn’t have that opportunity.

  6. Gator Todd, can you give me names and examples of JUCO players the Gators have had success with? As Big Gator stated, Carl Moore got on the field his Sr. year, unencumbered by other star receivers and was mediocre at best. Carl remains the highest profile JUCO guy we have had, not named Reggie Nelson, who most people do not consider a JUCO guy because he was a prior Gator recruit out of H.S. I don’t think you are going to be able to name one JUCO player that played SEC level caliber of football for UF, who helped UF maintain or achieve the level of play where we compete for SEC East, SEC, and National titles. If we as Gator fans lower our standards and define a successful recruit and team as one that is 8-4 or 9-3, then JUCO guys could possibly help as backups on a team that consistently reaches that mark. Check and see how many JUCO guys Meyer has recruited to play for him at OSU. Great programs are built on great HS recruits. Not JUCO guys and transfers from programs like Maryland.