It all started as a joke for Quincy Wilson and Ermon Lane. Then Chris Lammons wanted to join in on the fun.
The South Florida trio ended a summer of speculation regarding college decisions before their senior seasons by orally committing to playing for coach Will Muschamp and the University of Florida on Monday.
“When Quincy’s dad, [Chad Wilson], took us up for the spring practice in [March], I just felt [at] home when I stepped on campus,” said Homestead’s Lane, considered the second-best wide receiver in the country by ESPN, during a radio broadcast on WQAM. “I was just looking at the wide receivers, and I just felt I could go in and compete and play as a true freshman.”
Added Quincy Wilson: “I felt like I could go in there and make an impact early,” citing the Gators’ depth at cornerback and his relationship with UF defensive backs coach Travaris Robinson. “I just felt comfortable making the decision to go to Florida.”
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For Lane and Wilson, a Davie University School cornerback with more than 45 offers from schools around the country, the idea of playing together started off as a laughing matter during their days on the South Florida Express 7-on-7 travel team.
“I would ask him, ‘What school are you going to go to?” said Wilson, who had reported scholarships offers from Ohio State and USC like Lane. “And he would say ‘wherever you’re going.’”
Lammons, a cornerback for Plantation who also played on South Florida Express team, announced his pledge to UF during ESPNU’s College Football Blitz earlier in the day. He narrowed his list on Saturday to South Carolina, Tennessee and Alabama, but picked the Gators over reported offers from more than 15 schools total, including the University of Miami.
“[Florida has] great coaching, great facility and that’s just somewhere I feel comfortable,” Lammons said.
From Lammons’ smile and exuberant personality, you couldn’t tell the four-star defensive back sometimes needs extra encouragement to get through the day.
“I just pray every night to God with my decision and just my life,” said Lammons, whose parents died when he 11. “I find a way every day.”
Lammons credited Plantation coach Steve Davis, University School coaches and former UM players Chad Wilson and Kevin Beard for being “like father figures [to me], keeping me on the right path and just leading me where I need to go.”
Davis described Lammons, who lives with his sister and her children, as a “really well-rounded, level-headed kid” who has not let his situation hamper him.
“I haven’t really seen it affect him outwardly, but I’m pretty sure it would affect any kid,” Davis said. “Your parents aren’t there going through these big points in your life when you’re getting ready to sign a scholarship or announce you’re going to a major college or seeing him play, but I’m pretty sure it affects him.
“I love him to death. He’s like son to me.”
Chad Wilson, who coaches the defensive backs at University School, including his son Quincy, took it upon himself to bring Lammons along on road trips to universities around the country.
Lammons and the Wilsons visited Tennessee, South Carolina and Florida during the last week of July, where Lammons tried to commit to the Gamecocks on July 25 but was told they didn’t have any room for another defensive back, according to 247Sports.com. Later that night, Lammons wrote on Twitter: “I’m trying to go to college with quincy.”
Chad Wilson said his son and Lammons were “like two peas in a pod” and “inseparable” during the trip. Lammons described his relationship with Quincy Wilson like “LeBron [James] and Dwyane Wade.”
While Lammons’ is a bit more outgoing at first, Wilson and Lane’s fun-loving attitudes start to shine through with time. Wilson, who lives in Miramar about 45 minutes north of Lane’s hometown of Florida City, said he and Lane communicate every day through texting and social media.
“We’re really competitive when we go at one another,” Wilson said. “He makes me better, and I make him better. I feel like I’m the only one who can really check him.”
Miami Central running back and fellow UF oral commit Dalvin Cook said Lane’s joking manner is one of his best qualities along with his competitiveness. Cook said he and Lane became close after playing against each other in October 2012.
“Once you get to know Ermon, that’s a fantastic guy,” Cook said. “He’s a guy people want to be around. He just brings a crowd around him and he’s got a positive attitude.”
Added former Homestead coach Patrick Burrows, who has known Lane since he was an eighth grader: “His main focus is [helping] his mom and taking care of his family in a couple of years — either with football or with a degree. That’s his main goal, and that’s what pushes him every day.”
Staying close to home and attending the University of Miami was an option for Lane and Lammons. As for Wilson, whose father played cornerback for UM from 1992 to 1994, an offer never came.
Chad Wilson, who used to attend UM games after his playing days with a younger Quincy sitting atop his shoulders, never expected an offer his alma mater. But the inquiries from budding Canes fans still come to both Wilsons, who cannot provide a clear response because of a lack of communication from UM’s coaching staff.
“The only thing that disappointed me — and I don’t want to make a big deal out of it because it starts to make it look like I feel like I’m entitled to something — but as an alumni At the very least, pull me aside, bring me upstairs and talk to me about something,” Chad Wilson said. “Even if it’s to tell me ‘We’re going to continue to look at him’ or ‘We don’t like him as a prospect’ and that’s fine.
“I would’ve easily told people if I would have known this for sure, out of their mouths, if they don’t like him as a prospect,” Chad Wilson said, “and I would have been fine with that.”
As of now until Feb. 5, 2014, when recruits can send in their national letters of intent on National Signing Day, Quincy Wilson, Lane and Lammons plan to make their parents proud for UM’s rival and opponent on Sept. 7, the Florida Gators — even more so the case for Lammons.
“I think about them every day,” Lammons said, “but you’ve got to stay strong and live life.”