The future stars of Ohio State football officially begin their Buckeye careers as standouts from all over the country put pens to their National Letters of Intent.
The Felder File
- Class: 2016
- Size: 5-11/170
- Pos: CB
- School: St. Frances Academy (Baltimore, MD)
- Composite Rating: ★★★
- Composite Rank: 76 (CB)
The Buckeyes' search for a cornerback in the 2016 class started with Baltimore's Kareem Felder. A relatively unknown commodity early on in the process, the Ohio State staff trusted their own instincts and evaluations far more than the recruiting services; and for good reason.
Felder pledged to the Virginia Tech during a junior-day visit last February, but interest from Ohio State and Clemson presented a hefty challenge for the Beamer-led Hokies.
Clemson had a lot going for them in the Felder sweepstakes. The three-star corner had visited during the summer before his junior year and former teammate – linebacker Rahshaun Smith – had already been committed to the Tigers.
After receiving a Buckeye offer in February, the 5-foot-11, 170-pounder would make the trek to Columbus for an unofficial visit in April. Shortly after, he would officially open his recruitment back up.
Clemson received another unofficial just days after the trip to Columbus, so the Tigers definitely remained in the picture. The Buckeyes' interest in the three-star defensive back was interesting to some, as they had passed on a number of other more highly-touted defensive backs.
On May. 3, Kareem Felder became the first cornerback commit of the Buckeyes' 2016 class. His father, Kareem Felder Sr., shared his thoughts on Ohio State and his son's decision to make the switch.
"Ohio State wasn't worried about the rankings," Felder Sr. said. "We were somewhat surprised that they were recruiting him after he had already committed to VT, though. (Ohio State getting involved) was a blessing and an opportunity that he couldn't pass up on. Kareem was very thankful, humble and grateful for the opportunity. He realizes dreams do come true."
In Felder, the Buckeyes are getting a player who, despite being just 170 pounds, isn't afraid to throw his body around. His father noted that off the field he is known more as a listener and a thinker, but on the field he plays with a "raw, hunter mentality."
Former St. Frances Academy defensive back coach Cory Robinson – who now holds the same position at the University of Toledo – had some extremely high praise for his former star player.
"Kareem is a 'dawg,' he's the kind of player that opposing coaches wish they had on their roster," Robinson told 11W. "He has the ability to impact the game from anywhere on the field. He plays with reckless abandon, yet is coachable and trust-worthy. His technique in the line of fire – and I've been blessed to coach over 25 Division 1 defensive backs so far – stands among the best I've ever coached; and he still has so much left still to develop. There is a reason why Urban Meyer and Kerry Coombs believe he is one of the country's best for 2016."
When Robinson left for Maryland last July, there was some concern that the Buckeye commit could follow suit. Alas, he maintained regular contact with the Ohio State staff and never wavered on his Buckeye pledge. In fact, he was on campus the weekend of Jan. 15, the same time as fellow Maryland standout Keandre Jones. With an assist from their cornerback commit, the Buckeyes pulled off the flip shortly after Jones returned to Terp territory.