Fort Lauderdale (Fla.) St. Thomas Aquinas defensive end Jelani Hamilton has remained relatively quiet during the spring season. That is because Hamilton's focus has been on the field, improving as an individual and getting better alongside his teammates.
"Spring has gone real good," Hamilton said. "I think I have gotten much better against stopping the run. My pass rush has always been good, but I feel I have gotten better at being aggressive off the line. I have also gotten better at staying low, which is something I had a problem with last year."
Hamilton and the Raiders will wrap up their spring with the Blue-Gold Game on Thursday. That game is likely to be well attended by college coaches showing interest in Hamilton and his teammates. It has been a revolving door of coaches throughout the spring at St. Thomas Aquinas. With new coaches dropping in, Hamilton says his offer list is in the low teens, to the best of his knowledge.
"I have 13 offers that I know of," Hamilton said. "I am sure there are some other schools that have come through that have offered, but I haven't heard yet from my coach."
The 6-foot-5, 250-pound defensive end knows that he holds offers from Florida, Florida State, Georgia, Illinois, LSU, Miami, North Carolina, Notre Dame, Oklahoma, Rutgers, South Carolina, Tennessee, and Texas Tech, among others. Schools such as Auburn and Oregon are also showing interest. At this stage in his recruitment, he is going about things at a timid pace.
"Some schools are standing out a little bit but I am still trying to take this one day at a time and not rush anything," Hamilton said. "I am taking everything slow and worrying about my team right now. When my season is over, then I will focus on my recruitment."
"All schools are even right now," Hamilton added. "It is a big process, I am really just taking things slow and talking with my coaches and parents to see where things are at."
While all schools are even for the Rivals100 prospect, he said that a trio of colleges have been very aggressive with regards to staying in regular contact.
"LSU, FSU, and Miami have all been pretty aggressive," Hamilton said. "They all talk about how they need aggressive players on their lines because that is where it all starts. They have also talked with me about their tradition."
This Sunday Hamilton plans to camp at Miami. During the summer, Hamilton said he hopes to camp at or visit Florida State, Georgia, and Alabama. He has previously visited Florida, Florida State, and Miami. When he is on campus at colleges, he is looking at a variety of factors to help make his decision.
"For me it is going to be football, but for my mom it is going to be academics," Hamilton said. "Academics will be another big thing, because I've always been told to keep academics first. That is important, because if my football career abruptly ends, then I need something to fall back on. So that is going to have a big influence too."
"I know I want to play defensive end," Hamilton added. "Some schools want to use me in different ways on defense, but if I had my choice it would be to play defensive end."
As a junior, Hamilton had four sacks, 37 tackles, two pass break-ups and a fumble recovery.