Recruiting never stops, and if you take a day off, you fall behind. Join us every night for a daily recap of Ohio State recruiting news, insight on what’s happening behind the scenes and a glimpse at what’s coming next.
All quiet on the Jersey front
The weekend came and went without any news from New Jersey defensive end Tyler Friday, one of Ohio State’s most prominent remaining targets. The 6-foot-3, 263-pound prospect from Ramsey Don Bosco Prep was rumored to be making a decision between the Buckeyes, Michigan, and Alabama as soon as last Friday, but he has not yet locked in a decision date. I’m told that Friday’s decision between the trio of programs could occur at any time.
Ohio State defensive line coach Larry Johnson made his way to Jersey despite weather concerns and had an in-home visit with Friday, his coaches, family, and those close to him. I’m told the trip went well for Ohio State. Nothing has changed to make my confidence in the Buckeyes waver at this point, and I still expect Friday will choose Ohio State when he makes his announcement.
Meanwhile, Ohio State’s other defensive line target from New Jersey had plans of his own. Oradell Bergen Catholic defensive end Javontae Jean-Baptiste made his scheduled official visit to Nebraska. The trip to Lincoln seemingly went well, and there was much to enjoy about the Cornhuskers under new coach Scott Frost.
The trip to Nebraska was Jean-Baptiste’s third official visit, and he remains on track to take his fourth to Columbus to see Ohio State this weekend. From that point on, questions remain whether Jean-Baptiste will take another trip. Shortly after adding his Ohio State offer earlier this month, Jean-Baptiste picked up offers from Texas A&M and Wisconsin. Those two programs, as well as Pitt, are vying for a chance to host Jean-Baptiste for that final official visit. It’s unclear if any of the three will be successful.
“We had off of school [Monday], so [Tuesday], we’re going to sit down and hash out a plan,” said Bergen Catholic coach Nunzio Campanile, referring to Jean-Baptiste’s plans for both his final official visit and a potential decision date. “I know he at least wants to see Ohio State.”
Interestingly enough, Jean-Baptiste reached out to Friday on Twitter immediately following his Nebraska official visit. There’s likely little to read into about the exchange between the two New Jersey natives, but the only common school remaining in the recruitments of both is Ohio State. It’s only tertiary information at best, but my confidence remains high that both end up as Buckeyes.
— dontMessWithOcho (@Javontae_JB) January 15, 2018
Super sophomore ‘falling in love’ with Buckeyes early
It’s never too early to prepare for the future, certainly a sentiment that Mark Pantoni and the Ohio State recruiting staff has always taken to heart. While signing day for 2018 is just around the corner and the 2019 class’ importance grows by the day, that doesn’t mean the Buckeyes have been slacking on pursuing targets even younger than that.
Lejond Cavazos (pronounced like the word legend), a 6-foot-1, 190-pound safety in the 2020 recruiting class, already holds offers from many of the country’s blue-blood, elite programs. Cavazos is a Texas native who’s spent the last several months at Bradenton (Fla.) football factory IMG Academy, where his recruitment has blown up. He already counts Ohio State, Oklahoma, Alabama, LSU, Notre Dame and Clemson as some of the programs recruiting him most actively.
“I went to the Ohio State-Penn State game and also their spring game back in April. I keep falling in love with [Ohio State] every time I go there,” Cavazos said. “If you visit there, you’re going to want to go back there. That’s all I have to say really.”
While it’s incredibly early, Cavazos has opportunities few high school sophomores could dream of. He’s already building a close, personal relationship with Buckeyes coach Urban Meyer and views Meyer’s abilities and personality as two of the biggest selling points Ohio State has to offer.
“I talk with Coach Meyer. His personality definitely [is what separates him]. He’s a great guy. It’s going to be hard to tell him no, and that’s like any other school, but he’s got a great personality. … I think Coach Meyer builds and goes strong for what he wants and Coach [Nick] Saban does that too, but it’s kind of in a laid-back way,” said Cavazos.
Luckily for Ohio State, Cavazos views his relationships with potential college coaches as one of the most important factors in his eventual decision.
“Definitely the relationship with the coach and the depth chart of the school. I’m not going to go somewhere and waste my talent,” Cavazos said. “Depending on where I can go in and get a feel of the position — you know, like [Ohio State freshman safety] Jeff Okudah, he plays a lot as a freshman. That’s what I want to do anywhere I go.”
Cavazos says he hopes to decide before his senior year. There’s still an eternity left in his recruitment, but the Buckeyes are already making serious headway with one of the country’s most coveted sophomores.
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