If you’re looking to find Chris Rainey these days down in Lakeland, you might start in the least likely place. Long known for his aversion to the weight room, that’s exactly where you’ll find him. He’s planning to add some power in the form of much-needed muscle to go with that go the distance speed he’s famous for before he arrives at the University of Florida in the summer.
Rainey topped out at about 160 pounds as a senior at Lakeland High School where he led the mighty Dreadnaughts to a third consecutive 15-win season. Rainey scored 32 touchdowns and gained 2,478 yards as a senior, finishing up with an electrifying performance in the state championship game in which he gained 276 yards and scored touchdowns on runs of nine, 73 and 55 yards. For his high school career he had more than 7,000 yards and 90 touchdowns as the Dreadnaughts won three straight state championships and two national titles in a row.
The goal now is to gain weight without losing his signature speed and quickness.
“I’m up to 168 as of today,” said Rainey Wednesday evening. “I’m fast as I’ve always been but I’m a little bigger. They (Florida coaching staff) want me to gain weight and put on muscle so that’s what I’m doing. I’m eating a lot of food and working out every day.”
Rainey did his official visit to the University of Florida this past weekend along with Lakeland teammate and Florida commitment Steven Wilks, who will be his college roommate in Gainesville. He spent most of the weekend hanging around with his former Lakeland teammates Maurkice Pouncey, Michael Pouncey, Ahmad Black and Paul Wilson but he also spent some time with James Wilson, Tim Tebow, John Brantley and Lorenzo Edwards.
“We had a lot of fun hanging around,” said Rainey, a US Army All-American who is rated five stars by Scout.com. “Tebow’s kind of crazy but he’s a fun guy.”
Saturday he spent time with Dr. Keith Carodine at the academic advisement center and got some perspective on what he will need to study to earn a degree in sports management. Rainey is already fully qualified for Florida with solid core scores and a 26 on his ACT.
Saturday night he enjoyed the time at Urban Meyer’s home.
“It was nice … really nice,” he said. “When I’m in the NFL I’ll get a crib just like that one.”
He got a lot of personal attention from Meyer, who wants Rainey ready to play from day one when he arrives in Gainesville.
“He says I’m a playmaker and he wants his playmakers ready to go and I need to be ready to go when I get there,” said Rainey. “He wants me to gain some weight and some strength. Whatever he needs me to do, I’ll do it.”
Rainey had 15 touchdown runs of at least 50 yards as a senior and he had 20 runs of 50 yards or more called back because of penalties. At Florida, he will play a role like Percy Harvin, which means he will be in the slot, at tailback and wide receiver in an attempt to mismatch his speed and get him in space where he can turn on the jets.
He said to tell everybody in Gainesville, “I’m coming to help bring another championship to the Gators. They got a ring this year. I’m coming to get mine.”
In Lakeland, he says he will be doing some recruiting for the Gators over the next couple of weeks. Lakeland’s five-star defensive tackle John Brown has narrowed his choices down to Florida and Alabama. Brown will be visiting Gainesville this weekend.
“I’m working on him,” Rainey said. “I think he wants to be a Gator. I think he’ll decide that’s what he’s going to do this weekend but I’ll be talking to him.”