One of the biggest out of state visitors competing at Friday Night Lights last week in Columbus was Cocoa (Fla.) 2015 defensive back Jamel Dean. A 6-foot-1, 180 pound cornerback that holds offers from Ohio State, Florida, Miami and others, Dean decided to travel north to check out the Buckeyes instead of attending Florida's own version of FNL.
"I wanted to see how the campus was and I like to travel," Dean said of his decision to visit Columbus rather than Gainesville. "I was amazed how big (campus) was and I took the trip to see if I would like it up there. I did."
While most of the stars from the Florida high school ranks continue their careers in Florida or somewhere in the southern part of the United States, Dean is not beholden to that concept. In fact he says he'd much rather leave the state of Florida.
"I'm most likely leaving Florida. They play NFL football in Ohio, New England and Wisconsin," he said of his future plans. "I know most people want to say in Florida because of the weather, but I like doing new things so I don't mind leaving Florida."
Of course that doesn't mean the Florida schools are backing off. On the contrary, two schools that stand out to Dean are in-state, but he has others that he'd like to hear from soon.
"Miami and Florida are near the top of my list," he said. "I hope to hear from LSU and Georgia, too."
So what school is at the top the list for Dean following his visit to Columbus? He's pretty clear about that, too.
"Ohio State is number one on the list now," he said when asked if his visit to Columbus opened his eyes to what being a Buckeye is about. "I like it up there. I like the environment around campus and the coaching staff. They make sure their players will perform at their full potential every single rep, helping them get better for the team's sake. I like their coaching style too, they are intense. I'm talking to my coach about maybe making a visit up there for the Wisconsin or Penn State game. After watching their games, I know the fans are wild (laughs.). I would like to experience that."
As the saying goes, being number one on the list means the Buckeyes become the primary target for every school to recruit against, and it appears they'll have to fend off the competition for a while. Dean is in no hurry to make a decision.
"I think I'll be waiting a while until I decide," he said. "There's no reason to hurry."