It's been one tough summer for one of Florida's top defensive backs. In early July safety Vladimir Emilien was working out when he jumped in the air and heard a pop. He tore his ACL and wondered what would come next.
"It was a major injury," Emilien said. "It happened at a camp and I had surgery two weeks later.
"Honestly, it took a big toll on me. It was very hard at first. But everyone has been supportive and they all say to keep my head up. I have tried to do my best."
Article Continues Below
Emilien, 6-1 and 186 pounds, is from Lauderhill (Fla.) Plantation High School. Emilien is a four-star prospect with super grades (3.8 overall GPA and 3.5 core GPA). Most schools have continued to recruit him despite the injury.
"Most schools have kept their scholarship offers on the table for me. That means something to me but I still want to show them how serious I am about the next level. I am going to graduate early and play spring ball. I get all my credits out of the way. I could also rehab better at a college then I could here if it comes to that."
Emilien's plan is to possibly play at the end of the season. But that's only if he's ready.
"I don't want to rush back and make the situation worse. If I feel I am 100% I will play. If not I won't."
The injury has also giving Emilien time to think about the schools and really go in-depth with research and thought. In turn he know has narrowed down his college choices to six schools – North Carolina, Wake Forest, Tennessee, Ohio State, Florida and Stanford.
"I love the coaching at North Carolina. I also like their depth chart because they will graduate two safeties and then it's wide open so I know I will have a chance to play early there. Butch Davis is known has a good recruiter and he developed some great players at Miami, he has NFL connections, and I would love to play for him.
"I love coach (Ray) McCartney at Wake Forest. He was first to call after surgery and he said that Wake would stand by me no matter what happens. The scholarship still there and that meant so much. They are also graduating five defensive backs after this season. To see Alphonso (Smith) do so well there helps too."
"Tennessee plays in the SEC and I would love to play in that league. Their coaching staff is wonderful and I coach (Philip) Fulmer just signed an extension. They have stability and that means something too.
"I really like the coaches at Ohio State. They have never have lied or stretched the truth. Ohio State has put things out there that have really made me think.
"I love coach (Jim) Harbaugh at Stanford. He's honest and preaches academics. Stanford graduates players and you can never go wrong with a Stanford degree. I can also get some early playing time there."
"There is tremendous talent at Florida. They have some good, young defensive backs. They seem to always win and they are going to win in the future. Florida has taken some great players over the past few seasons from Florida and everywhere. They also have good academics.
"Florida hasn't offered yet but September 6th could be the moment of truth. I am visiting (unofficial) for the Miami game. If they don't offer then I will likely drop them."
Emilien will set up all of his official visits in the next week or so and he wants to commit to one of the six schools listed above on his birthday, November 23rd.