It's not easy to get the best players from Florida, and Urban Meyer knows that as a well as anyone. In February, the Buckeyes signed Johnnie Dixon from Miami and shocked a number of people who believed that in no way would Dixon end up playing his football up north.
Ohio State has made South Florida a major priority in 2015 and the same problems exist this time around: how to convince the south's best players that football in Columbus is on par with the football in SEC country. One player Ohio State is hoping to bring north is Miami (Westminster Christian School) tailback Jordan Cronkrite.
Like Dixon, Cronkrite has offers from a who's who of college football powerhouses: all three major Florida schools, Alabama, Auburn, Notre Dame, Clemson and many others. Also like Dixon, Ohio State's Zach Smith and Urban Meyer are on the case.
"I talk to (Smith) almost every day," Cronkrite said of the Buckeyes coach who handles South Florida for Ohio State. "Ohio State is a great program with great tradition and that gets your attention."
Johnnie Dixon's almost immediate success is another thing that has caught Cronkrite's attention. In fact, it's one of the things he and Urban Meyer discussed earlier this week."
"I talked to Coach Meyer on the phone earlier this week," the 5-foot-11, 196-pounder added. "He said they really love my film and that he could see me in scarlet and gray. He wants me to get up there as soon as possible. He also talked a little bit about Johnnie and how great he's doing up there. He said that the South Florida guys can do that if they come up to Columbus."
Like Dixon, Cronkrite faces some pressure to stay home for college. He's visited Miami four times in the past month but says the Hurricanes have a built-in advantage due to their proximity.
"I've been there a lot because it's ten minutes away from my house," he said of the Hurricanes. "Plus, I like to see anything football related, football is football. If the best place for me isn't in Florida, I have no problem leaving."
Ohio State hopes that the first step in signing Cronkrite is an unofficial visit, as Meyer eluded to during his recent conversation. Cronkrite thinks that could happen sometime soon, and if it doesn't the Buckeyes are going to be involved anyway.
"I'll most likely go up there in June," he added of a visit. "Coach Meyer wants me to call him once a week."