Though it's still very early in the 2015 recruiting cycle, it's no secret that Urban Meyer and his staff want to make a big splash in the state of Florida.
Not along have the Buckeyes extended more offers to players from the Sunshine state than every other school from the Midwest, but they are in top top group for many of these elite prospects from down south including Fort Lauderdale (FL) St. Thomas Aquinas wide receiver Devante Peete.
The 6'5, 195-pound wideout already has scholarship offers from most of the nation's top programs including the likes of Alabama, Cincinnati, Florida, Florida State, Houston, Louisville, LSU, Miami, North Carolina, Ohio State, Purdue, South Carolina, Tennessee, Central Florida, and West Virginia.
Many of these programs have stopped by prestigious St. Thomas Aquinas high school- former home of Joey Bosa, current home of 2016 standout defensive end Nick Bosa, former Ohio State wide receiver Duron Carter, and countless other elite players, to see him.
"Since the contact period started, I've gotten visits from Florida State, Syracuse, Central Florida, Illinois, Notre Dame, and Bowling Green," Peete said. "Last month Ohio State, Clemson, Miami, Alabama, and a couple of others came by as well."
When Florida State visited his school a few days ago, they extended him a scholarship offer, which is one he had been hoping to add for a quite some time.
"It was a really good visit," he said. "They just told me how much they liked me and said I could be like Kelvin Benjamin was for them last year and offered me."
He came out with a top five about a week ago, which features Alabama, Florida State, LSU, Miami, and Ohio State. Here's what he had to say about his current top five teams:
Alabama: "They've been producing a lot of good players and send them to the NFL. The other big thing with them is they've been winning a lot since coach Saban got there and I want to go somewhere that I can win."
Florida State: "I've been able to watch them a lot being from Florida, they also produce a lot of good players, and they had a very successful season last year."
LSU: "I've been watching those guys forever. It's just a great school and one of my best friends, Rashard Robinson is on the team there and is trying to get me to come play with him."
Miami: "I grew up a Miami fan, so I've been watching them my whole life. It's a great football program and I've been able to develop tight relationships with pretty much everyone on their coaching staff."
Ohio State: "I came out to watch their practice (for the Orange Bowl) and that gave them an advantage after watching the practice. I had a great conversation with coach Urban Meyer when we met and think I would be a good fit in their offense. I also really like coach Smith the receivers coach."
He was able to see Urban Meyer's success at Florida up close and personal because he grew up in the Sunshine state.
"I just feel like he's a hell of a coach and gives 100% for the team. He's a great guy," Peete said of Meyer.
Peete was only able to take one visit during the football season, which was to Mimi to watch the Hurricanes take on the Florida Gators. He had a great time watching the Hurricanes pull off a win. He wants to take more visits this spring, summer, and fall and has a few schools he'd really like to see.
"As of right now, I'm going to try and take two (visits) this spring, then maybe more in the summer and fall," he continued. "Ohio State, LSU, and Alabama are a few I really want to see."
Changing times have led to more recruits making earlier college decisions. That's likely not going to be the case with Peete as he, "wants to lead his team to a championship" then decide either later in the fall or on National Signing Day 2015. There are a couple of factors that will weigh heavily into his decision, however.
"The biggest factors are the eduction side of the school and the school atmosphere," he told Land-Grant Holy Land. "Other important things will be my relationships with the coaches and how I fit into the offense."
I think the Buckeyes are in good shape right now, but it's always going to be a battle when it comes to pulling top prospects from the south. It's interesting that Ohio State is the only program from the Midwest that Peete mentioned when we spoke, which says a lot about the job Urban Meyer and company are doing down south. Also, Peete didn't play with Joey Bosa in high school as he transferred to St. Thomas Aquinas last January.
If you haven't seen the big wide receiver in action, make sure to check out his highlights below:
- Ohio State recruiting: Devante Peete, '15 WR, talks Buckeyes, top 5
- Ohio State recruiting: Nate Craig, '16 WR, talks recruitment
- Ohio State recruiting: RayRay McCloud III, '15 RB, talks Bucks
- Ohio State basketball: Are you watching?
- Former Ohio State Pres Gordon Gee suggests radical NCAA restructuring