Football

Recruiting Stars Gone, Julian Fleming Looking to Earn a Spot

Julian Fleming Ohio State Buckeyes Receiver

Ohio State freshman receiver Julian Fleming was the nation’s top receiver prospect by every recruiting service in the 2020 recruiting cycle.

In fact, ESPN even had him as their top prospect overall.

Any time a player is the tops at his position, the expectations are raised in a commensurate manner. While there are no “sure things,” signing the nation’s top wide receiver would seem like one of those things that has the potential for a pretty good return.

But while the expectations remain, the rankings don’t quite carry into the football facility.

And Fleming is excited about that.

“Yeah, it’s gone — all the stars are gone, all the rankings are gone everything like that,” he said recently. “So it’s starting from scratch. It’s kind of build your way up and you’ve got to earn everything.”

That’s all a freshman can hope for. If they put the work in and impress, then a coach will take notice and put them on the field.

Given everything that Fleming could do, it should come as no surprise that his coaches are already noticing.

“I think he’s physical. He’s big. He’s strong. He’s mature,” said head coach Ryan Day. “I think so far his work ethic has really shown that it matters to him. He really cares. And his attention to detail is strong already, as a young player, but we’ll see. We haven’t got to the field yet, but play-making ability — God gave him some great talents. And then how does he create the discipline and skill that he needs to play at this level? That will be between he and [receivers coach Brian Hartline]. I think he’s got the right tool set and the right mentality.”

Discipline hasn’t been a problem for Fleming, who has spent his high school years in a run-heavy offense, but has still been able to produce. He finished each of the last two seasons with over 1,500 yards receiving, and finished his career at Southern Columbia High School in Catawissa, Pennsylvania as the state’s career leader in touchdown catches (77) and receiving yards (5,514).

“I guess there were a couple frustrating times, but I love — I love — my high school, so I like my offense a lot,” Fleming said. “It helped me develop other aspects of football besides just playing receiver and catching the ball.”

It is often said that a wide receiver won’t see the field until he can block, which is something Fleming has spent the last four years doing. He takes pride in his blocking and he made sure Hartline was seeing that on film.

“That was always the first thing I was sent him for sure,” Fleming said. “You know there’s a lot of other things that go into playing receiver than just catching the football and being able to do things with the football, so that was one of the things I liked.”

Southern Columbia made Julian Fleming a more complete receiver, but now he’s getting ready for some graduate level courses at Ohio State.

There is already a solid foundation built, but Hartline is going to get to work on adding some levels.

“A lot of it has been just being able to get in and out of of the breaks faster, being able to break down,” Fleming said. “And those are two of the big things that I really needed to work on. So I’m gonna have to get my route running a lot more crisp. That’s the thing we’re going to focus on at this moment.”

And that learning process is the same for Fleming as it is a walk-on. He knows the critiques don’t stop because one guy has more stars next to his name. He also knows that if a freshman shows that he is worthy of playing time, he’ll get it.

“Coming in here now, I’m not rated anything,” he said. “I’m not any stars. I’m a freshman. I know how to stay looking to earn a position, so it’s a completely different thing from high school because you know those rankings go out the door very quick.

“But you know I’m excited. I’m excited for the new offense, excited to learn.”

2 Responses

  1. an’t wait to see this kid on the field! O-H!

  2. welcome Mr Flemming… student of the game!

    ;-{)}

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