Posted: 3:37 pm Wednesday, February 2nd, 2011

Pahokee’s Rontavious Atkins signs with Western Michigan 

By Jeff Greer

Western Michigan had perfect timing.

Atkins

Atkins

After USF told Pahokee’s multi-talented star Rontavious Atkins that he’d have to greyshirt for his first year, Atkins switched his college plans and decided to sign a National Letter of Intent with Western Michigan. Atkins visited the Broncos’ Kalamazoo, Mich., campus over the final weekend of January and said the staff treated him like family. That sold him.

He was the only Pahokee senior to sign on national signing day, one year removed from the Blue Devils’ 14-player ceremony.

“We had 14 guys do this last year, but to have this one is special,” Pahokee coach Blaze Thompson said. “We’re really proud of Rontavious.”

Atkins (6-1, 190, No. 34 on the Big Board) originally committed to USF before the 2010 season. The Bulls told Atkins and his mother that his ACT scores did not meet USF’s requirements, but they did not wait to receive Atkins’ newest scores, which came in January. Those scores, Atkins’ mother said, would have qualified him for USF.

But on national signing day, it was all smiles for Atkins and his family.

Atkins gives Western Michigan a versatile, aggressive and physical defender. He lined up at both defensive back and linebacker for Pahokee in 2010. He even played a little running back. One area coach called him “one of the most physical kids I’ve ever seen.” He’s slated to play safety at Pahokee.

“That’s great to hear a coach say that,” Atkins said. “That’s exactly the kind of football I try to play, and hopefully I can bring that to Western Michigan.”