In 2014, Ohio State identified Johnnie Dixon early as one of their priority recruits for the class despite the long-shot odds they had to pull the South Florida star north. Zach Smith and Urban Meyer felt Dixon was worth the effort and it paid off in December when the Miami star committed to the Buckeyes. It was Dixon's relationship with Meyer and Smith that pushed him away from conventional wisdom — that he'd stay home in sunny South Florida — and towards Columbus.
The Buckeyes are aggressively pursuing a number of talented wide receivers in 2015, and one of them is Houston's Kemah Siverand. Although he was offered by Ohio State in October of 2013, Siverand is a relatively new name but one that bears watching as the summer approaches. He was visited by Zach Smith last week and he says the Buckeyes are doing things the right way.
"I hear from (Ohio State) the right amount of times," Siverand told Eleven Warriors of his relationship with the Buckeyes. "They contact me at the appropriate times and Coach Smith is a cool dude that I can clear conversation's with."
With 17 current offers, Siverand — a consensus four-star wide receiver ranked 17th nationally — has a lot of schools contacting him regularly. His 247Sports.com "crystal ball" currently has him leaning heavily towards the Aggies of Texas A&M, but he says he's wide open. Last year, Siverand told the Aggies 247Sports site that he was unlikely to look out of the state but that too, has changed, according to the 6-foot-0, 185-pounder.
"Whereever I feel suits me best, that's where I'll end up," he said. "I'm looking for a place that feels like home since I'll be there three-to-five years."
In order for the Buckeyes to make themselves a true threat to the Texas schools, Siverand will need to find the time and opportunity to visit Columbus. He says that is something that could happen relatively soon, if things work out the way he'd like.
"I'm thinking heavily about going to the NFTC in Columbus, I'm not sure how (a potential trip to Ohio in a month) positions my parents financially, and I'm not the kid to have them bend over backwards to accommodate me," Siverand said. "I really want to go to The Opening and I know I have to earn that invitation. I went to the NFTC in Houston but only three people got invites that day."
Aside from his developing relationship with Smith, Siverand thinks Ohio State's proud tradition and Urban Meyer's influence make the Buckeyes an attractive option.
"Ohio State is a prestigious university, they've always accomplished a lot and they've done that since (Urban) Meyer has been there," he said of the Buckeyes. "I remember watching the 2007 national championship game when Ted Ginn, Jr. returned the opening kickoff for a touchdown. I like how they spread the field and I know they like to get running backs and receivers involved in their offense."
Siverand, who caught 25 passes for 611 yards and seven scores as a junior, was a first team all-district selection in Houston. His game, as you can see from his highlights, is more than just speed and running routes. He blocks well and he leads his team with competitive fire.
"I know college coaches evaluate players on film and a lot of the time it seems like it happens more for the guys who get the ball more," he said. "With me, a lot of coaches tell me that my character on and off the field, the way I handle my grades and the way I play the game that I am different. I have to make the most of the opportunities that I get."