Flipping Lemons: Florida Gators Reel in Top RB Target


It was an interesting Sunday morning for Gator Twitter as fans and recruits got the hashtag #Lemons2TheSwamp trending early. The goal was simple: to get top running back target Adarius Lemons to flip his commitment from North Carolina to the home state Gators.

By early afternoon, fans got their wish as the now familiar Gator Bat Signal went out from head coach Jim McElwain signaling a new commitment. 

And it didn’t take long to put a name to the commitment.

Lemons himself took to Twitter to caution rival fans who might be critical of the flip.

Lemons (6-1 195) from Clearwater (FL) has long been the Gators top in-state target at running back but committed to North Carolina back in March while the Gators staff appeared to wait on another highly touted out-of-state back to decide.

Adarius had taken a trip around the southeast making unofficial visits to several schools when he surprisingly made the Tar Heel commitment.

Despite that commitment, the Gators staff never wavered continuing to recruit Lemons hard while selling location and opportunity to him.

“Florida has been recruiting for me the longest time and are recruiting me hard,” Lemons told Andrew Spivey of Gator Country back in April. “Florida is showing their loyalty to me and I like that about them so that’s why I talk to them. I’m starting to look at the staying home thing so my family could come and see me play.”

At Friday Night Lights, Lemons arrived ready to compete, an unusual move for a top recruit who already has an offer, and he didn’t disappoint. Showing quick feet, agility, and good burst out of cuts, Lemons gave fans a glimpse of why he is the staff’s top target.

And while he was showing out in drills, the staff was busy showering him with loads of attention and they did a great job of not only making him feel welcome but also hitting home that he is their top target and the only back they’re looking to sign this cycle. 

“I have them telling me how if I committed, I would be the only back they take in 2017,” Lemons told SEC Country’s Zach Abolverdi. “They told me if I didn’t commit they would have to recruit other backs.”

Now they don’t have to worry about that. With a small class size this cycle, the Gators are effectively done at the position.

There were many reports out of camp that Lemons was not only blown away at FNL but ready to commit. Cooler heads prevailed, however, and he decided to go home to discuss it with his family before making the flip. 

As a prospect, Lemons is a 247sports composite top 150 recruit and many consider him the top running back in the state.

He is a north-south runner with a long, lean frame and a good combination of power, speed, and agility. He also has great hands out of the backfield and is a physical blocker who seeks out contact.

He’s one of those dangerous backs who can beat you in different ways. He can run over you, through you, or around you. He can also cut on a dime leaving defenders grasping at air and once in the open field he has breakaway speed. 

Lemons is the Gators 12th commitment in the 2017 cycle and second resulting from FNL after linebacker James Houston committed on Friday. 

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