When reports surfaced last month stating defensive coordinator Greg Schiano was going to be named the next head coach at Tennessee, four-star safety commit Jaiden Woodbey was openly wounded by his decision to accept the job.
“I’m kind of hurt right now,” he said. “He was the main reason why I was still 100 percent with Ohio State.”
And though the Volunteers backed out of the deal just a few short hours later amid protests on campus and social media posts questioning Schiano's past as an assistant at Penn State, it clearly created doubt in Woodbey's mind about the coach's future in Columbus and opened the door for him flip his pledge to Florida State this evening.
The 6-foot-2, 204-pound Woodbey chose Ohio State over finalists Nebraska, Oklahoma and USC in February, but he's been the subject of much speculation ever since, as his father, Donnell, played for the Trojans in the early 1990s.
Woodbey repeatedly said he wanted to take a few visits before signing his National Letter of Intent in order to make sure Columbus is the right place for him, so he made a trip to USC on Friday and then flew to Florida State — which made a late offer — on Saturday.
Woodbey was recruited by new Seminoles head coach Willie Taggart when he was at Oregon, but few believed they'd be able to overcome his nearly two-year long relationship with the Buckeyes. Florida State was Woodbey's "dream school," though, and that was apparently enough to land his pledge this evening.
As for Ohio State, Woodbey's decision — while certainly unfortunate, especially this close to the Early Signing Period — does not quite have the same impact as Brenton Cox's decommitment earlier this month.
The Buckeyes still hold pledges from four-star safety Josh Proctor and three-star cornerback Marcus Hooker, who plans to switch positions at the next level and following in his older brother Malik's footsteps. Four-star defensive back commit Tyreke Johnson, though he's listed by recruiting sites as a safety and set to play cornerback in Columbus, also has the body type and athleticism to play either position.
With only a few spots remaining in the class, it's unlikely the Buckeyes pursue another safety to take Woodbey's place. However, there's still time for a new prospect to emerge by National Signing Day in February.