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Michael Carvell

‘Hand-to-hand combat’ over Lorenzo Carter

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Lorenzo Carter's parents were surrounded by Florida and FSU coaches at a Norcross basketball game. Mother Lisa (yellow shirt) sat next to FSU's Charles Kelly while father Leo (arms folded) was next to Florida's Joker Phillips (Hyosub Shin/AJC)

Lorenzo Carter’s parents were surrounded by Florida and FSU coaches at a Norcross basketball game. Mother Lisa (yellow shirt) sat next to FSU’s Charles Kelly while father Leo (arms folded) was next to Florida’s Joker Phillips and DJ Durkin (Hyosub Shin/AJC)

It looked like a scene straight out of a Hollywood movie at Norcross High School’s basketball game last week.

Lorenzo Carter, the state’s No. 1 overall football prospect, also plays basketball for Norcross.

His parents sat in the bleachers surrounded by at least six assistants from Florida and Florida State.

It’s what veteran recruiters call “hand-to-hand combat” – neither college backing down an inch while in a fierce battle for an elite recruit.

New Florida State defensive coordinator Charles Kelly sat next to Carter’s mother. Only a few feet away, Florida assistant Joker Phillips was strategically sitting next to Carter’s father.

Because there was such a small crowd for the road game at Mountain View High School, it was hard not to notice. It looked a little bit awkward from afar seeing all the rival coaches with different-colored shirts around Carter’s parents but it didn’t appear to be confrontational situation.

Also sitting nearby were Florida defensive coordinator DJ Durkin, and FSU defensive line coach Sal Sunseri.

It was just another competitive day in the wacky world of recruiting.

“That was pretty funny; It was a little awkward at first, but then you just relax,” Carter’s mother, Lisa, told the AJC. “They’re people, we’re people, and you just have normal conversation. It will all work out how it supposed to in the end. But they are good people at Florida and Florida State. Both sides have great coaches. I enjoy talking to both of them. They have funny stories.”

What on Earth did Florida and FSU talk about for two hours while being seated within three feet of each other?

“I met with Florida the other day, and our meeting kind of ran a little long. And they were late trying to get to the airport. I asked them if they made it on time. And talking with Florida State, they have a chaplain who is a very nice guy. We asked about him because my husband is a minister.”

Lorenzo’s father, Leo Carter, smiled when asked about the environment: “All these guys, we’ve talked to them all before. It’s no surprise. They know each other anyways. Everybody is cool.”

And what did they talk about? “When I’m watching basketball, I’m watching basketball. We talked about basketball.” (Note: Carter’s father played basketball at LeMoyne-Owen, while his mother played volleyball at Jackson State).

After the game, Carter walked up to the coaches and thanked them for making the trip. Both FSU and Florida took advantage of the opportunity to give a sales pitch for their schools — fearlessly right in front of each other. Carter listened intently for about 10 minutes, and then was rescued by a Norcross assistant who yelled “Your teammates are freezing from the cold on the bus.”

Carter took an official visit this past weekend to Florida State. He has an in-home visit with UGA’s Mark Richt on Monday, and Florida’s Will Muschamp on Thursday. He will take his final recruiting trip to UGA on Friday. Carter is also considering LSU.

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