Southward Reaffirms Ohio State Commitment
By Brandon Castel
In the weeks before Urban Meyer was hired to coach the Buckeyes, Ohio State’s 2012 recruiting class was in danger of falling apart.
Bri’onte Dunn was looking around, Se’Von Pittman was committed to Michigan State and Ohio State still had not landed a commitment from a single offensive tackle.
They were also hurting at another position of need, but even before Meyer was announced as head coach, his presence helped the Buckeyes land a commitment from Ricquan Southward.
The three-star Lakeland (Fla.) wide receiver has largely been off the grid since making his commitment to OSU assistant Stan Drayton the night before Meyer was announced as the new head coach.
There were even rumors Southward was considering a trip to Gainesville for a closer look at the Gators, but the 6-2, 190-pound wideout told FlaVarsity.com’s Tom Loy that he is still a Buckeye and has no plans to change his mind.
“I’m still very solid to the Buckeyes and ready to sign,” Southward told Loy, who is a friend of The-Ozone and a recruiting analyst for FlaVarsity.com.
Southward grew up rooting for the Gators, but committed to Miami (Fla.) early in his recruitment. An offer from the Buckeyes changed things for him, and the opportunity to play in Meyer’s system at Ohio State was too much to pass up.
There were still question marks about Southward’s academics, but he told Loy on Friday that he is “fully qualified and ready to go” for National Signing Day, which is now less than two weeks away.
He is only rated as a 3-star prospect by Rivals.com, but Loy considers Southward to be one of the truly underappreciated prospects in the state of Florida. He was not even a starter until his senior year because of the fact Lakeland had four Division I prospects paying ahead of him.
Ben McRoy ended up at Texas Tech and his brother Javares McRoy is at Florida. Jarred Haggins went to Florida State and Teddy Wright is at UAB. All of them played receiver on the same team as Southward when he was a sophomore.
Because of that, FlaVarsity initially had Southward ranked as the 145th best prospect in the state of Florida. Loy expected Southward would make a jump in the final FlaVarsity Top 160, but even he could not have imagined it would be from 145 all the way to 61.
“He is a true playmaker with the ball in his hands and always a threat to score on special teams,” the FlaVarsity staff said in their evaluation of Southward.
“He is going to be the type of playmaker that the Buckeyes have lacked over the past few years.”
Southward is one of four receivers expected to sign with the Buckeyes on Feb. 1. He joins a class that also includes Roger Lewis (Pickerington Central) and Frank Epitropoulos (Upper Arlington).
Michael Thomas (Fork Union Military Academy) is already enrolled at Ohio State and will take part in spring practice with the Buckeyes.
(For more great stuff from Tom, check out FlaVarsity.com or follow him on Twitter @TomLoy2002.)
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