Jaheim Singletary chose to follow in the footsteps of fellow five-star Jacksonville cornerbacks Shaun Wade and Tyreke Johnson by committing to Ohio State.
Singletary's recruitment was fairly quiet until the past couple of weeks, but his game certainly talks a lot.
Let's take a look at what the Buckeyes' latest commitment gives them on and off the field:
On the field
Ball skills (especially considering he plays a lot of receiver too), length and physicality are Singletary's top traits, making him another prototypical outside cornerback prospect that Kerry Coombs has landed – although his skillset lends itself to allowing him to possibly fill multiple spots on the back end of the defense.
In eight games as a junior, the 6-foot-1, 170-pounder – who is ranked No. 10 overall and No. 5 at cornerback in the 2022 class – snagged three interceptions and racked up six passes defended for Robert E. Lee High School.
In a lofty comparison, 247Sports' Andrew Ivins believes Singletary has some of the same physical gifts as All-Pro cornerback Jalen Ramsey and that Singletary has the potential to become a first-round NFL draft pick.
“A physically imposing defender with plenty of length. Owns a 74-inch wingspan,” Ivins wrote. “Has spent some time in the weight room, but should be able to only add more mass once in college. A ball magnet of sorts that has shown at the high school level that he’s capable of shutting down an entire side of the field. Smooth with his footwork. Relatively fluid in the hips. Will put his hands on wide receivers and try get them off schedule. Fights to make plays in coverage.
“Understands how to break down and make a tackle, lunging at ball carries before wrapping up. Limited verified testing data, but speed doesn’t seem to be an issue once he gets going. Shows good control of his body once airborne. Anticipates throws and has plenty of success timing his breaks, but often times relies a little too much on his length to mask any of his mistakes. Picked off eight passes as a freshman before teams started looking in a different direction. Should develop into an impact player for a Power 5 program and eventually play on Sundays.”
Good reasons for the five-star prospect and Under Armour All-American to be rated so highly.
Off the field
Singletary and Coombs seem like a good match. One has a burning desire to play in the NFL one day, the other was an elite cornerback recruiter/developer and coached cornerbacks in the league.
That's far and away the No. 1 thing that brought Singletary to the Buckeyes. He knows that arguably the best pathway to get to the pros and get a heavy contract comes by way of Coombs and Columbus.
And even though he has never had visited Ohio State's campus, Singletary established good relationships with Coombs, Tony Alford and Ryan Day to where he felt comfortable making an early pledge about a year away from the early signing period.
In the class
The race heats up for the 2022 vs. 2021 classes at Ohio State.
The Buckeyes signed seven players ranked in the top 55 overall in the 2021 class (with No. 3 overall player J.T. Tuimoloau still on the board) and three ranked in the top 20 overall.
Already, with Singletary's commitment, the Buckeyes now have six players committed who are ranked in the top 55 overall (including C.J. Hicks, Gabe Powers and Dasan McCullough), and that includes three players ranked in the top 15 overall (Quinn Ewers, Caleb Burton, Singletary).
Singletary also represents the third cornerback prospect ranked in the top five at his position to commit to the Buckeyes in the past two cycles, following Jakailin Johnson (No. 47 overall, No. 3 CB) and Jordan Hancock (No. 67 overall, No. 4 CB) in the 2021 group.
Though it's not Coombs doing all the work, to be sure, him coming back to Ohio State really did signify the return of the Buckeyes' elite level cornerback recruiting after a dip in the 2019 and 2020 classes. There really is no sign of this program slowing down in its recruitment of the position now, and there are a trio of five-star cornerbacks still on the market that it will be gunning for the remainder of the cycle in Domani Jackson (No. 3 overall, No. 1 CB), Denver Harris (No. 6 overall, No. 3 CB) and Will Johnson (No. 8 overall, No. 4 CB).