Will 2014 Be Devoid of a Florida Superstar?
By Michael Chung
Eleven of the last twelve Ohio State recruiting classes have had at least one superstar player from Florida. In 2002, Ohio State signed Santonio Holmes and Nate Salley. Albert Dukes represented the Sunshine State in 2004 (Dennis Kennedy was also part of the class but had his offer pulled and later went to Akron). Maurice Wells came north to Ohio in 2005, Chimidi Chekwa and Walter Dublin followed in 2006. 2008 brought many oranges to OSU with Michael Brewster, Travis Howard, Orhian Johnson, and Etienne Sabino.
With the exception of 2003, a Florida player has been a part of every recruiting class. 2014 could be a repeat of 2003 , though even in that year Louis Holmes was committed but could not sign.
Who are the candidates to keep the Florida streak alive? For ten straight years, a Floridian has graced the Ohio State recruiting class but this year could be the end of the 10 year run. There are a lot of uncommitted Florida superstars who still have OSU offers, could any of them keep the streak alive?
In terms of states that produce the most FBS (formerly D-1) recruits, Florida is number 2 behind Texas and ahead of California (Ohio is #5). Between 2008-2013, Florida produced 1,922 recruits for FBS schools, which averages 320 players a year and almost 14% of all college football players in the FBS. This is more than double what Ohio produces.
Despite vast amount of talent available, Urban Meyer’s Florida legacy, and Ohio State’s strong presence in the Sunshine State, no one from this breadbasket of talent is committed for 2014.
Ohio State has five prospects with OSU offers from the Sunshine state but only three have scheduled an official visit. Those three are:
Johnnie Dixon (5’11” 175, WR, 2014, Palm Beach Garden, FL)
Dixon told me that Ohio State has not stopped recruiting him since Noah Brown committed. He also told me that his fastest 40 time is 4.37, slightly behind Curtis Samuel’s 4.36. He is the most likely prospect from FL that would commit to OSU and with his sub 4.4 speed, could form the foundation of a future spread set that would be virtually indefensible based solely on speed. Dixon interviewed with us last fall. At that time, it looked like the contenders would be Miami (FL), Florida Gators, and the Buckeyes. Miami and Ohio State are definitely up there. He told the-Ozone that he was very close to the Miami coaching staff but also grew up following Florida and Urban Meyer. It is not a surprise that he has OSU and Miami high on his list. Right now, Alabama, Miami (FL), and the Buckeyes are his top 3 but he also had a great visit to Arkansas, which already stole Jermaine Eluemunor from OSU. His Scout.com bio reads, “Dixon has some unique physical attributes, he has plus speed (4.4) and a very strong, durable frame. He has continued to add mass while not sacrificing speed. This is a potential big play weapon at the next level and Dixon will be able to stretch the field. He has a lot of potential over the middle of the field. We would like to see him play bigger in all facets of the game. Could also be DB down the road.”
Travis Rudolph (6’0” 190, WR, West Palm Beach, FL)
The Buckeyes do not have a Florida star for 2014 and would love to have Rudolph. He is considering Alabama, Florida, Florida State, and Vanderbilt along with the Buckeyes. You always want to recruit against Alabama and Nick Saban has done well at WR. Can Rudolph continue the string of FL stars to OSU? His scouting report by Scout.com reads, “Rudolph is coveted on both sides of the football (wide receiver, cornerback) due to his competitiveness, overall athleticism, and consistent play-making ability. This is a player that produces night in and night out. He will need to be more explosive off the line and that he can get down the field against top competition. There is very little risk with Rudolph and he should be able to produce early in his career.”
It was reported that he will make his official visit this weekend instead of Oct. 26 for the Penn State game. Could this be the weekend he commits to keep the streak alive? Urban Meyer is known to have players not on the recruiting radar commit and there has not been too much talk about Rudolph.
Shawn Boone (5’10” 175, DB, Palm Garden, FL)
Dixon’s high school teammate also has an Ohio State offer. He has already visited during the summer and had a great time. Ole Miss, Arkansas, NC State, and FSU are also vying for his services. Reports are that OSU coaches love his play and he could be good protection in case Erick Smith decides to go to another school. He and Johnnie Dixon would like to play with each other in college and with Dixon considering Alabama and Miami—who are not on Boone’s list—OSU maybe the only destination where the two friends can continue playing together. If OSU has room for two more safeties, they would love to add Boone. It looks like he may not be able to make his visit. I asked Johnnie Dixon and Dixon was not too sure if Boone would be accompanying him. Boone told me in an interview that he was still not 100% sure he would make the OV and needed to talk to OSU coaches.
The ten-year streak could be in jeopardy but if the Buckeyes will sign a Sunshine State Superstar, it will likely come from this above list.
Ohio State Florida Commits Over the Last Ten Years (Based on Rivals.com)