GAINESVILLE, Fla. – Darious Cummings is a rare breed.
Once an enemy of Florida fans, Cummings is now a Gator. And it's not like the former standout at Astronaut High in Titusville used to play for Illinois or Texas Tech or Mississippi State.
No, Cummings began his college career at Florida State. Yes, that's right, that “school out West” as a former Florida coach used to say.
In the storied history between the Gators and Seminoles, there have been others to play for both schools, but not many. Perhaps the most notable was former defensive back Vannez Gooch, who started his career in Tallahassee in 1996 and transferred to Florida, playing cornerback and special teams for the Gators in 1999 and 2000.
"The fans take it a little more serious than the players,'' Gooch told the Florida Times-Union in 2007. "They take it to heart. The majority of us [players] are friends."
Cummings played three games for the Seminoles as a freshman defensive tackle in 2010 and two more in 2011 before a knee injury wrecked his season. The 6-foot-1, 305-pound Cummings transferred to East Mississippi Community College in the summer of 2012 and rejuvenated his career with 26 tackles and three sacks in 10 games last fall.
He signed with the Gators and is expected to help fill the void left by the departures of defensive tackles Omar Hunter and Sharrif Floyd from last season's team.
Here is our Q&A with Cummings:
Q: Are you getting comfortable in your new surroundings?
A: I'm adjusting to it. There's not too much that's too different coming from where I came from.
Q: What's it been like for you since very few have played for both the Gators and Seminoles?
A: It's pretty funny. At first nobody really like paid any attention to it because I don't think anybody really thought it would be in motion. And then, after a while, everybody started talking about it. I was actually kind of getting harassed about it after a while. I took it in stride, so I've adjusted to it pretty well.
Q: Whom did you know best coming into school here?
A: Damien Jacobs [a transfer from EMCC in 2012]. Damien and me signed with each other out of high school. We were supposed to play with each other in 2010 but it never happened, so it kind of fell into place now. But I knew some of the kids from my signing class like Sharrif, Dominique [Easley], [Matt] Elam, Cody [Riggs] and all them boys.
Q: How did the year in junior college help your game?
A: Physically it didn't really help that much but mentally it did. I got a better understanding of the game and I became a student of the game. That helped a lot.
Q: When it came down to your decision, what was the biggest factor for Florida?
A: They had the resources and all the proper things that I need to get to the next level. And my mom liked it and she is not normally a Gator fan. I figured if she liked it, there must be something.
Q: How did becoming more of a student of the game help you in junior college?
A: At Florida State I was honestly just trying to see where I could fit in. I guess you could say I got a little frustrated and was just trying to make plays, but once I got to junior college, I realized more NFL scouts look at who plays their responsibilities and if you tend to play your responsibility, the play is going to come to you. I just had to realize that and develop myself as more of a student of the game. Instead of trying to be a know-it-all, just sit and listen and try to soak up everything.
Q: What would be a good start to your career here at Florida be in your eyes?
A: Getting into the rotation. That is something you always want to do. After that, I don't really have any personal goals other than just establishing myself and letting everybody know that our defensive line is going to be a force and I'm going to be a part of it.
Q: What is something about you people don't know?
A: I'm a real big Maroon 5 fan.
Q: What's the best day you ever had on a football field?
A: I would probably say when I was younger and my dad was coaching. I always liked the relationship my dad and me had and I always wanted to play for him. I got that opportunity when I was younger.
Q: Your position coach at UF is Bryant Young, who had a distinguished NFL career. How much do you know about him?
A: I knew that he played for the 49ers and I knew that he had a good NFL career. From what I have heard, I heard he could get me to the next level. People are always referring back to when he had Jaye Howard for a year when he first came in and how much Jaye Howard improved in that one year. I figure since I have two years I can make that big step just like he did. Also with [defensive line] coach [Brad] Lawing coming in, we have a good relationship from back when he was recruiting me at South Carolina.