One month ago today, Adam Lane became the first member of the Florida Gators’ 2013 recruiting class. The running back from Winter Haven, FL (Winter Haven) wasn’t alone for long; only four weeks later he was one of 10 recruits committed to the Gators. Along with Kelvin Taylor, Lane hopes to run wild for Florida for years to come.
Name: Adam Lane
Position: Running Back
Hometown: Winter Haven, FL
High School: Winter Haven
Rankings: 247Sports – 3 stars, No. 42 RB | ESPN – ESPNU 150 | Scout | Rivals
Status: Committed to Florida
An injury can do more than just force a player to miss time. It can impact the initial rankings he receives from recruiting services. While those services are just a guide and not always accurate predictors of how a prospect will turn out, they are a starting point and Lane starts with some ground to make up. Thought to be one of the better running backs in the nation entering his junior season, an ankle injury didn’t allow him to prove it. With so much time away from the field, Scout and Rivals didn’t rank him initially while 247Sports believes Lane is the nation’s No. 42 running back worthy of three stars and ESPN puts him in the ESPNU 150. From unranked to one of the 150 best players in the nation; if that doesn’t give you a prime example of the differing opinions available in the recruiting world, not much else will.
Lane is a powerful package in a small frame. At only 5’7″, he lacks the height of someone like 2012 recruiting class member Matt Jones, but already weighing in at 207 pounds gives Lane a great amount of power. Due to his size, Lane is something of a bowling ball-type runner making him difficult to completely wrap up and tackle. It doesn’t hurt that he isn’t afraid to take a hit and even initiates them himself. Lane will run directly at much larger linebackers almost daring them to try to bring him down. Because of his bulk, they tend to overestimate how easy it might be the bring him down. It usually ends with Lane bouncing off the would-be tackler or making a last-second move and leaving them wondering where he went.
That agility is great to see in someone with his build. Typically, lankier wide receivers are the ones with the best moves on the field, but Lane’s low center of gravity keeps him near the ground, allowing him to maintain balance when making a cut at full speed. What’s more impressive is that Lane doesn’t always use that agility just because he can. He’s smart about when he needs to make a move and when he needs to lower his shoulder and run into the tackle. Numerous times, Lane will find himself near the sideline with defenders cutting off his forward path. While most backs would take the easy way out and go out of bounds, Lane will typically cover the ball, lower his shoulder, and take on the defenders in order to fight for more yards. That’s something fans, but more importantly coaches, absolutely love about a young player.
Lane is also an intelligent player that lets the play develop before charging ahead too hastily. He is able to make quick decisions and find the best hole in the offensive line. For Florida fans this is a welcome trait as we’ve spent the last few seasons watching running backs hurl themselves into the back of linemen multiple times each game. Lane will adjust his run if the hole that was supposed to be there closes quickly. He is able to find a new path to yardage. In addition to that, he has a great ability to avoid the rush. Many backs don’t have time to react when taking a hand-off. If a defensive lineman or linebacker is in the backfield, they tend to go down fairly quickly. Lane has the ability to avoid the rush and frequently make something out of nothing. Sometimes just making it back to the line of scrimmage is a positive play.
In the past few seasons, the Gators have relied too much on the screen to the running back. While we’d all like to see its use limited, Lane is a player that can run it. He is a solid receiver out of the backfield and his agility will serve him well if the defense reads those plays. He could be worked into the passing game early in his Florida career.
You always remember your first and for 2013 Lane is number one. He was the snowball that got the avalanche started and now we can sit back and watch him rise the recruiting rankings.
To read additional reports on both Florida Gators commits and prospects, visit our 2013 Football Recruiting Reports page.