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Norcross' Akins commits to Cal football

Ashley Ambrose's connections to Atlanta worked out well for Norcross senior Shon Akins.

The speedy cornerback committed to the California football program, thanks in part to his relationship with Ambrose, the Golden Bears' defensive backs coach. The Pac-12 program doesn't venture into the South much in recruiting -- no current player on the roster is from Georgia -- but that didn't stop them from offering Akins in a recruiting process headed up by Ambrose, a former Atlanta Falcons cornerback who spent 13 years in the NFL.

"Me and Coach Ambrose really connected and part of my family's from California, so they're always telling me about Cal," Akins said Monday while on a family trip to Florida. "I have a great relationship with Coach Ambrose. ... I heard ny recruiting coordinator got the tape and looked at it and decided to offer me. ... Coach Ambrose has ties here. His family lives here (in Gwinnett) and I work out with one of his ex-teammates (former Falcon Ray Buchanan)."

Akins' father said Connecticut and Wake Forest had extended offers as well, but other colleges continued to show great interest. The 5-foot-9, 170-pounder's speed (4.44 seconds in the 40-yard dash) was a big factor in that interest, as were highlights as a two-year starter at both cornerback and punt returner.

"(Recruiting) just started to pick up heavily," said Akins, who made 46 tackles last season for a state playoff team.

Akins hasn't visited California yet, but plans to travel there over the summer.