High School Teammates Simeon Caldwell, Naeem Burroughs and Corbyn Fordham Interested in Ohio State, Potentially Playing Together in College

By Dan Hope on June 8, 2024 at 8:35 am
Simeon Caldwell
Simeon Caldwell

There aren’t many high schools in the country with more talent in their junior class than The Bolles School in Jacksonville, Florida.

Bolles is one of just eight schools with three prospects in the top 300 of 247Sports’ composite rankings for the 2026 recruiting class. Bolles safety Simeon Caldwell is ranked as the nation’s No. 64 overall prospect, wide receiver Naeem Burroughs is the 78th-ranked player in the class and tight end Corbyn Fordham is ranked as the class’ 273rd-best prospect and 13th-best tight end.

All three of them have offers from Ohio State and are interested in playing for the Buckeyes, and all three of them have talked to each other about the possibility of playing together in college.

“It would be a great opportunity. We always talk about, what if we just all go to the same school?” Caldwell said Thursday after camping at Ohio State. “But at the end of the day, we all got to make our own decisions and whoever us fits best. And if it ends up being all at the same school, then it'll be a great opportunity. I love Naeem and Corbyn. I know they’re some of the top athletes at their position also, so it would be a great opportunity to see where they go, to see where I go, and just to see just where the pieces fall.”

While the three Bolles Bulldogs would love to continue playing together at the next level should it work out that way, they don’t plan on making a group decision, knowing they each need to make the decisions that are best for themselves in the end.

“Everybody makes their own decision, going where they’re comfortable at,” Burroughs said. “But if we do end up at the same school, it’s like a feeling of comfort, knowing I've got somebody there for me, somebody to actually care for me, not just people I'm just now meeting. So it would be a great thing.”

That said, it’s well within the realm of possibility that any or all of them could end up playing for the Buckeyes.

Their collective interest in Ohio State was apparent Thursday as they woke up at 2:30 a.m. to board a plane to Columbus and camp at OSU together.

“Long day, but it was worth it. Definitely worth it for sure,” Caldwell said. “And we'll be here until Sunday, just checking out the city, campus, just everything.”

“We always talk about, what if we just all go to the same school?”– Simeon Caldwell on his high school teammates Naeem Burroughs and Corbyn Fordham

Fordham and Caldwell were both offered by Ohio State in January. The Buckeyes offered Burroughs in May. Each of them indicated Thursday that Ohio State is high on their respective lists entering their junior season.

“They're up there. They're up there. That's all I can say,” Burroughs said.

Caldwell has a close connection to Ohio State’s coaching staff as the nephew of OSU secondary coach Tim Walton. He says it would be “a great experience” if he got the opportunity to play for Walton in college.

“Me and him have a great bond,” Caldwell said. “And he's a great coach, one of the best coaches in the country. He coached in the league. So it's just a great opportunity. I'll know that he'll be able to coach me to the best of my ability. I know he has my best interests at heart, so it would be a great opportunity to play for him.”

Caldwell said he is “very proud” to have an Ohio State offer, knowing that OSU has one of the best programs in college football. He’s still considering plenty of other schools, though. He plans to visit Alabama and Michigan later this month and said Notre Dame is “up there” in his recruitment because he loves what Marcus Freeman and his coaching staff are doing in South Bend. Caldwell said Texas, Georgia, Florida State and Tennessee are other schools he remains interested in.

Burroughs said he doesn’t currently have any other visits planned; “usually those just pop up,” he said. He’s keeping all of his options open right now, but is intrigued by the opportunity of playing for Brian Hartline and joining a wide receiver unit that has produced four first-round NFL draft picks over the past three years.

“Ohio State's always been Ohio State,” Burroughs said. “They develop players, and as Coach Hartline has gotten here, receivers have gotten way better in the first and second round, really a lot of first-rounders. And I watched a lot of Marvin Harrison over the past two years, three years, and he's taught me a lot, just like watching his film before games and just like watching a lot of his stuff.”

Fordham says the biggest things he’s looking for in a team are the brotherhood of its players and how they compete, and he says Ohio State checks both of those boxes. He had the opportunity to go to Topgolf with Ohio State’s tight ends during his previous visit to Columbus in March and says he has built a friendship with 2025 Ohio State tight end commit Nate Roberts, who also participated in Thursday’s camp.

Fordham says he also camped at Georgia, Clemson, North Carolina and N.C. State and plans to announce his top 10 schools on June 15. He chose to include Ohio State in his list of camps because of the way Ohio State tight ends coach Keenan Bailey and head coach Ryan Day have been recruiting him and his desire to see what it would be like to be coached by them.

“They've been recruiting me pretty hard and they came down and watched me practice and invited me to come here and I wanted to get work with Coach Kee,” Fordham said of why he chose to camp at Ohio State. “He's a great coach.”

While there’s no guarantee that any of them will end up playing at the same college, the three high school teammates regularly talk to each other about their visits and compare schools, so it certainly doesn’t hurt Ohio State’s chances of landing any or all of them that all three of them came away from Thursday’s camp with positive impressions of the Buckeyes.

“We always do,” Fordham said when asked if they talk about playing together for the same college. “We're like, ‘What if we went here together, what if we did this?’ It's cool, but it's all going to work out on our own to see where we feel is home.”

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