Ohio State Commit Lejond Cavazos Says He's Having His "Best Season Yet" At IMG Academy While Continuing To Lobby For Buckeyes

By Derrick Webb on September 27, 2018 at 2:15 pm
Lejond Cavazos

By all accounts, last Friday's meeting between Mater Dei High School (Santa Ana, Calif.) and IMG Academy (Bradenton, Fla.) lived up to its billing ... and then some.

Mater Dei, now the No. 1 ranked team in the nation, handed IMG a 28-24 loss after trailing 24-21 with three minutes to play. The loss snapped IMG's 40-game winning streak as the Ascenders, previously ranked No. 1, dropped to No. 3.

But after his team's loss, IMG Academy safety and 2020 Ohio State commit Lejond Cavazos wasn't dwelling on the night's outcome. Instead, his focus shifted to Mater Dei cornerback Elias Ricks, who's been a good friend of his since the two met this past summer.

"It started with just the coaches telling us about each other and then we finally met at Rivals100 Five-Star Challenge [on June 27-28 in Atlanta, Ga.]," Cavazos told Eleven Warriors when asked about the friendship. "After that, we’ve been close ever since."

Cavazos, a four-star commit that's considered the ninth-best safety in the country, has his future plans set after committing to the Buckeyes in June. Ricks, a five-star 2020 recruit that's considered the nation's top corner, hasn't decided on where he'll play at the next level yet.

So, as he's done continually since committing, and even after a hard-fought loss, Cavazos went to bat for the Buckeyes in the attempt to lure Ricks to Columbus. That's easier said than done considering Ricks has long been considered one of USC's top targets, a university that's habitually funneled Mater Dei talent into its football program.

But Cavazos is keeping the faith that his friend will one day be playing alongside him in the Buckeyes' defensive secondary.

Lejond Cavazos
Lejond Cavazos/247Sports

"I think the chances are higher than everybody thinks," Cavazos said. "Elias wants to be the best he can be and wants to compete at a high level every day. It’s common at Ohio State."

Cavazos also said he's targeting Julian Fleming, a five-star 2020 wide receiver out of Catawissa, Pennsylvania. According to many, Fleming is considered a lock to eventually become Penn State's next big-time commit ... but stranger things have happened.

When he's not standing in for Ohio State on the recruiting trail, Cavazos is playing on one of the nation's best defenses. And even with last Friday's loss, he says there's no reason why IMG doesn't finish at No. 2 in the final national rankings.

"In my eyes, we're still the best team in the nation," Cavazos said. "This team is special and everybody plays a role. I think I’m having my best season yet. The highlight of my year was probably playing against Mater Dei. Regardless of the outcome, it was a great learning experience and I love competing on big stages."

He'll certainly have the chance to do what he loves in Columbus. Looking ahead to 2020, what will be Cavazos' freshman year, the Buckeyes will travel to Oregon, Michigan State and Penn State while hosting Michigan and Iowa.

"In my eyes, we're still the best team in the nation. I think I’m having my best season yet."– Lejond Cavazos

But before then, he'll have to continue perfecting his craft.

"As a defensive back, I always work on technique so I can be perfect at what I do. My strengths are my speed and physicality," he said. "There’s definitely pressure because I’m 'the Ohio State commit,' so people are going to always try me. But I do what I do and ball."

Cavazos said he keeps in contact with Ohio State coach Urban Meyer, who "played a big role" in his commitment, cornerbacks coach Taver Johnson and multiple current players including Taron Vincent, Tyreke Smith, J.K. Dobbins and Chase Young.

His next meeting with that group of names is less than two months away and, of course, he's been watching their success from Florida. 

"The Buckeyes have been balling," he said. "I’m looking forward to the game when they play Michigan [on Nov. 24 in Columbus] because I'll be there."

He'll also be watching this coming Saturday when his future teammates travel to Happy Valley with the task of taking down No. 9 Penn State in hostile territory.

His thoughts on the eventual outcome?

"I think Ohio State is going to win again, obviously," he said. "And Urban is back, why wouldn’t we?"

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