Imagine my reaction and, from the looks of it, the reaction at Bucknuts and Rivals.com. When I read Durham’s portfolio, I expected the Buckeyes could secure a verbal from a Southern talent when other offers and interest came from the likes of West Virginia, Texas A&M, Illinois, Colorado, Georgia Tech and UNC. Louis, on the other hand, is already an Under Armour All-American with offers from Florida, Alabama, Tennessee, Miami, LSU, Georgia and more. When his name first came across my path, I wrote him off, telling myself “he’ll have fun in the SEC”. The Buckeyes have been on bit of a recruiting roll of late, but plucking a talent like James Louis from the southeast and from the likes of those heavyweights is rare. Michael Brewster and Jaamal Berry are exceptions and not the general rule.
James is a 4-star wide receiver prospect from Delray Beach in Florida. The area is not far removed from Boca Raton, where Louis is originally from and where the Bellisaris used to roam. What makes this commitment even more curious for me is that no one — not Scout.com, Rivals.com or Bucknuts — has been able to contact Louis and say why he made this decision. I suspected he’d end up a Florida Gator. I’d be interested to know what happened on this regard. I was under the impression he had already committed to Florida.
Video is here, if you’re interested. James Louis compensates for the Buckeyes missing out on Andre Debose, an athlete (receiver) from last year’s class that the Buckeyes wanted but ultimately lost to Florida. The video reveals an explosive wide receiver prospect with good size and great speed. He excels at just about every aspect of the receiver game and would be the consummate home run threat, especially on underneath routes.
For the meantime, this is an excellent get. For the future, I’d love to know why1 and if he’s even visited Ohio State previously.
EDIT: The Orlando Sentinel confirms what I had suspected. Urban wanted James Louis as a contingency plan, specifically eyeing Chris Dunkley. With Louis absent from Friday Night Lights, Urban decided to put the move on Dunkley who had a great performance there.
Now they can focus on Dunkley all right, as Louis has decommitted from the Gators in favor of Ohio State after weeks of hearing he wasn’t wanted. Pretty interesting stuff about how, according to Louis, Urban Meyer told him not to talk to the media about the commitment, all the while not returning calls. This is when you wished coaches could talk about recruits per NCAA rules.
When he called Florida to inform the school that the Gators were his pick, the coaching staff was happy, but head coach Urban Meyer asked him not to talk about his decision with the media for a few days. Louis didn’t really think much about that comment, until this past week.
After being unable to attend Florida’s Friday Night Lights Camp, Louis started to see numerous stories popping up online about how Florida wasn’t going to accept his commitment and how he might have to wait until the staff saw who else ended up committing. That set off alarms in his head and he immediately began calling and e-mailing Meyer and his coaching staff.
After five or so days of silence from Florida’s end, Louis said to heck with it and called the Ohio State coaches to let them know he will be a Buckeye next year.
“It was really frustrating,” Louis said. “I wasn’t just going to sit around and wait for [Florida].”
Louis and Atlantic coach Andre Thaddies said after news surfaced that Louis had decided to go to Ohio State, now the Florida coaching staff has called and e-mail numerous times. Louis hasn’t returned any of those calls or e-mails saying, “it’s too late for that.”
This accounts for “why not Florida”, but I’d love to hear more about “why Ohio State”.
- Taylor Graham did some “recruiting” at the ESPN Rise Games in Orlando. I’m not sure if James Louis was there, and if he was, and I’m not sure how much of an impact he would have. [↩]