football Edit

Hometown Handshake

It's been a productive year for  linebacker Jaleel Laguins
(Watkinsville, Ga./Oconee County). After impressing coaches with his ability during camps last
summer and during his junior season, he's now one of the most highly sought
after linebacker prospects in the southeast. Offers are in from programs such as
Auburn, Florida, Georgia, Nebraska, Penn State,
Tennessee and others.
During this past football season, Laguins made trips both Florida and Tennessee,
but he was a regular at Georgia's home football games as Sanford Stadium is
located less than 20 minutes from his house.
"It was nice. It's nice that it's so close to home. I lost count of how many
games I've been to there," Laguins said.
Having attended so many games this season, the three-star prospect became pretty
familiar with Georgia's defense in Jeremy Pruitt's first year as coordinator. He
picked up on a pattern with the Bulldogs defense.
"They would start off a little slow, go back to the sidelines, gather themselves
and make adjustments, and went back out there and kick butt the rest of the
game," Laguins said. "I really enjoyed seeing them rally together as a team. I
think they took a big step forward this year."
Laguins has formed a good relationship with several members of Georgia's
coaching staff, but speaks with linebacker coach [db]Mike Ekeler[/db] more than the
others. Ekeler left a lasting impression on Laguins.
"My hand still hurts from when I saw him," Laguins said with a laugh. "He's a
very intense guy, but I like him. I like all the coaches, but every time I see
Coach Ekeler, I have to tighten my hand up and just give him a fist bump."
With signing day for Laguins still over a year away, he's shying away from
naming favorites and doesn't plan to commit any time soon.
"I haven't seen enough to have any favorites," Laguins said. "I'd like to have a
top three by the time next season starts and I'll probably commit after the
season. I'm looking for a school that feels like home and where I feel welcome
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