Chad Ricardo: Mr. Lamont Atkins, before we even get started, I have to make clear— I’ve had the opportunity to get to know hundreds of student athletes in the last 3 years, but in terms of total package, YOU sir, are head and shoulders above all but a select few.
One of the things I’ve always been most impressed with about you is your respectfulness–your demeanor and general way of being. How have you reached this level of maturity at such a young age? Where does that come from?
Lamont Atkins: My father has been an officer in the Air Force for almost 20 years so a lot of that comes from him. He and my mom raised my brother and I to be respectful to everyone and to treat everyone right. I also have a lot of other people around me that make sure I stay grounded from my teachers at school to my coaches on the field.
Chad Ricardo: That goes to show the importance of a solid home life/foundation. Major shout-out to your family and your entire circle for the guidance they’ve provided thus far.
I want to talk about your next step for just a moment. You’ve a University of Virginia commit. What about that coaching staff–that institute of higher learning led you to choosing UVA?
Lamont Atkins: I had several opportunities and met a lot of great coaching staffs. My family and I went to UVA this summer and spent the day with the entire offensive coaching staff. The first thing we noticed was the family environment they shared between each other and with the players. I left there knowing I wanted to spend my next 4 years with Coach Mendenhall, Coach Atuaia, and the entire staff. From an academic standpoint, it doesn’t get much better than UVA. I want to major in Business and they have a Top 10 Business School. I went into the decision process focusing on academics first and it I feel it worked out for me.
Chad Ricardo: You know what man, personally, I briefly played for and graduated from JMU… back when I was in school, the running joke from UVA students was JMU stood for, “Just Missed UVA”! That’s ok though. Now that you’ll be attending, I’m willing to let that pain go!
Over the last 3 years, I’ve watched you develop from a somewhat raw, albeit talented, student athlete–into one of the best all around football players in the DMV. How have you been able to make this transformation? To what/who do you owe credit for your development?
Lamont Atkins: I think I would have to acknowledge two people for any improvements over the years. My Head Coach, Coach Poythress, has pushed me to reach my maximum potential and demanded nothing less. “Cut and get up field fast”, “Cut and get up field fast”. I hear that ringing in my ears now. Secondly, I’ve been working with Coach Leonard Stephens from Perfect Performance since my Freshman year. He made sure I worked on RB drills as well as WR drills which has benefited me a lot over time. We spent the this entire off-season working on getting stronger and faster. I’m grateful to both of them.
Chad Ricardo: The great Leonard Stephens! He’s a heck of a trainer. In some ways, looks like he could still lace em up’ if given the opportunity!
One of my podcast is called, “Rivals”. On it, my guests are two individuals from opposing teams who have or will play against one another. I love it because it allows listeners to see the same coin from each of its’ sides. You all have a huge game against C’ville this week, following your big one last week. South County is still lurking on your schedule. I know you only focus on playing one game at a time, but when the schedule first comes out at the beginning of the season, which team do you look for first? Is there a particular player you love matching up against?
Lamont Atkins: I really don’t think about the schedule. I feel that we have 10 games to prepare ourselves for a playoff run. We don’t have any trick plays and it’s no surprise what we want to do on offense. We just have to work every week to perfect our execution. I think our execution is what decides if we will win on any Friday night.
Chad Ricardo: That’s a text book answer if I’ve ever seen one! Not only are you great on the field and in the classroom, but you’re already media savvy as well!
Alright, fine! I’ll get you outta here on this; No one makes it to this level of success on their own. Who has helped you become the young man you are OFF the football field and if they’re reading this right now, what would you like to say to them?
Lamont Atkins: That’s easy. My parents have supported me 100% along the way. They have sacrificed so much of their time to help me reach my goals. I tell them all the time but I want the world to know that I love both of them.
Chad Ricardo: Lamont Atkins, you’re a phenomenal young man. I was interviewed on a radio show the other day and when they asked me about the top players in the area, I mentioned your name—but then went on to add that whether you ever play a down in the NFL, I have ZERO DOUBT that you will be successful at whatever path you choose to take in life. Thank you for being an example. I wish you health, happiness and success!
Lamont Atkins: Thanks for the opportunity to do the interview.