2013-12-25 / Front Page

WAR EAGLE!

Lambert opts for Auburn
By Anne Marie Kyzer


DaVonte Lambert DaVonte Lambert At 2 o’clock that morning, even he didn’t know which way he’d go.

But by the time DaVonte Lambert slipped an Auburn University cap on his head last Wednesday afternoon, he knew he’d made the right decision.

Lambert, a former Burke County Bear and the top defensive end recruit in the nation out of junior college, made the decision public last Wednesday when he officially signed with the Auburn Tigers.

It was an early Christmas present for Auburn and a surprise for most. Lambert had verbally committed to Tennessee back in August and was confident in that decision until about a week ago when he started to wonder if it was really the right choice.

Since his senior year at Burke County High School, Auburn assistant coach Rodney Garner has courted Lambert. Garner, a former longtime assistant at the University of Georgia, brought Lambert up to visit the Bulldogs his senior season. Lambert went to play at Georgia Military but Garner never lost contact.


DaVonte Lambert, center, makes his announcement while surrounded by family, from left, aunt Janice Wright, uncle Fredrick Grant, mom Tammy Lambert and cousin DaJiah Streetman, and Burke County Head Coach Eric Parker (standing). DaVonte Lambert, center, makes his announcement while surrounded by family, from left, aunt Janice Wright, uncle Fredrick Grant, mom Tammy Lambert and cousin DaJiah Streetman, and Burke County Head Coach Eric Parker (standing). “No offense to the Tennesee coaches but Coach Garner and I have had a relationship since I got out of high school,” Lambert said. “The night I committed to Tennessee was pretty wild. Coach Garner called and said he was going to stay on me until I put my name on the dotted line.”

Lambert said he bonded with the players at Auburn as well when he visited there twice this year. The last time, he was on the sidelines during the Iron Bowl and watched as the Tigers’ Chris Davis returned Alabama’s 57- yard field goal attempt for a touchdown to give Auburn the 34-28 victory over the then- No.1 ranked Tide. As Lambert's signing day drew near, he began to wrestle with the decision.

“I stayed up until two or three this morning just thinking and praying,” Lambert said minutes after he signed on for a full athletic scholarship at Auburn. “It was hard. But I just thought about that I only have two years left. Why not play for the best in the league?”

Bears Head Coach Eric Parker said he could tell lambert was starting to waver early this week, granting that this was a tough decision.

“Either way, I think he was going to end up in a good spot,” Coach Parker said.

Next month, Lambert will move to Auburn, where he plans to major in physical therapy.

That degree is what his mother, Tammy Lambert, has been pressing all along.

“I told him it was his decision. I’m one-hundred percent behind him wherever he goes,” she said. “Football is going to make itself. It’s up to him to get an education.”

She admits she’s a little relieved that he’ll be closer to home and to some family that lives in Alabama.

“I’m going to wear that road out,” she said with smile.

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