Lejond Cavazos didn’t play cornerback until his final year of high school, but a number of the nation’s top schools saw enough well before then to believe he could make the transition from safety.
Ohio State, Alabama, Florida, LSU, Texas, Michigan, and dozens of others had thrown their hats into the ring because the projection was easy to make.
Part of their belief was the 4.40 40-yard dash Cavazos recorded at a combine, along with a 4.16 shuttle and a 44″ vertical leap. Being 6-foot-1 and 190 pounds didn’t hurt either. His own desire to play corner was what sealed it, of course.
As the saying goes, you can lead a safety to water, but you can’t make him play press man.
Cavazos wanted the challenge, and so he got it.
“It’s definitely a harder position, but I felt like I adjust really well,” he said back in February. “The biggest adjustment I had to make was definitely trusting my technique. Because I know I’m so fast, if somebody beats me at the line, I know I’m going to come back and catch them. So just trusting the technique that my coach taught me, it separated me when I started listening to what he was telling me.”
With the last three decades as proof, if a college cornerback wants to become a professional cornerback, there is no better place to be than Ohio State.
Even though Cavazos decommitted when Urban Meyer retired, he did eventually recommit and realign himself with the future he saw for himself.
“It’s just big here. Knowing that you have a first-rounder every year at the position I play, you have to step up, regardless of if you’re ready or not,” he said. “You have to step up and hold the legacy there. There’s going to be first-rounders this year, next year, the year after me and so on. This is a cornerback school. There’s a lot of position schools but when you think of Ohio State, you think of Cornerback U. So that was a big thing for me.”
The football side of things was a no-brainer for Cavazos. If you’re a cornerback, you go to Ohio State. No different than if you want to be a lumberjack, you head out to the woods.
But there was more depth to his decision, because it wasn’t just football.
Cavazos wants to play professional football and nobody will prepare him to do that like Ohio State will. But such things are not guaranteed, which is why his decision came down to more than just on-field desires.
“It was more of me just wanting to better myself as a person and a football player definitely, because knowing what we have here, like Real Life Wednesdays, say football wasn’t to work out for me, I know I’ll have a job after that,” he said. “So it was bigger than football for me.”