Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

Mother Asks Lott from Talented Son Defensive Back Becomes All-Star

Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

Mother Asks Lott from Talented Son Defensive Back Becomes All-Star

Article excerpt

GAINESVILLE -- It was always so much easier when no one knew who

the shy kid with the bright face was. When football, like most

games, was more a ritual of childhood than a rite of passage.

How could things have changed so suddenly with so much turmoil?

This was still the game he played in parks growing up on

Jacksonville's Northside, the game that earned him a scholarship

to college, which, in his mind, was much more important than

playing football anyway.

How would Anthone Lott, the softspoken young man with natural

athletic ability most kids dream of, the bright bookworm in

Who's Who's Among America's High School Students, handle his

once private life becoming so public because of something he had

no control over?

"I probably should've handled things differently," Lott says

now. "But I don't like the limelight."

Unfortunately, it found him -- in a precarious, unfair position.

It has led to a shrouded career of one of the more likable,

genuine and talented players on the Florida football team.

An only child and an introvert, Lott's life was turned upside

down as a starting cornerback for the Gators in his freshman

season of 1993. The Florida defense struggled, and Lott, in the

high-pressure world of playing cornerback, had most of the heat

deflected his way.

Two years later, he finished last season as the only unanimous

selection by the Southeastern Conference coaches on their

all-star team. He begins his senior season as a legitimate

All-American candidate, and still precious little is known about

the quiet star who hid from the media and the limelight and

eventually developed into one of the best defensive backs in

Only those close to him know about his crazy passion for

professional wrestling, or that he draws comic book characters,

or that he really is an outgoing, friendly person once you get

to know him.

"The worst part -- the absolute worst part -- of him not

talking to the media or not being accessible in general, is the

fact that no one knows who he really is," said Ron Zook, former

secondary coach and defensive coordinator at Florida, and Lott's

confidant the past three years.

"People only see what they want to see, not what's right in

front of their noses if they look hard enough. Not only is

Anthone Lott a helluva football player, he's a helluva kid."

There were complications that day 22 years ago when Anthone

Vouchan Lott entered the world. His mother, Barbara, would not

have another child because of them.

This child, she knew then, was going to be different, a

difference maker.

His first name, Anthone, is from the Bible. Anthone the

scholar. His middle name is from professional wrestling. Growing

up in Miami, Barbara and her family used to watch wrestling

matches at the local armory, and her favorite wrestler was Mad

Dog Vachon -- who coincidentally, never lost.

"It's almost like I had everything planned out for him before

he was even born, I guess," Barbara said.

She still does. Pick a game -- any game -- and Barbara Lott can

tell you how many tackles her son had. …

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