As a Buckeye fan, you could almost foretell a move like this.
In a recruiting class ranked in the top five on ESPN.com, Rivals.com, and Scout.com, with 26 recruits heading into Wednesday’s signing occasion, it looks like there is one clear-cut sour apple who does not want to give Jim Tressel his John Hancock.
Kentucky Male High School athlete Justin Green has reportedly swung his vote of faith over to coach Ron Zook of the Illinois Fighting Illini. The four-star recruit is on schedule to devote his services to the men from Champaign tomorrow.
The news was reported by several BuckeyeSports representatives.
This comes as sort of a shock to the Buckeyes, as Green’s brother Marcus Green is a former Buckeye. There were numerous times when Green was confronted about a possible switch. He either shook them off or denied them.
Despite a summer’s commitment to the Buckeyes, Green contemplated other schools and took a January visit to Clemson. The Tigers’ staff did not woo him, and he stuck to his Buckeye guns.
The move could be the result of Illini cornerback Vontae Davis’ early jump to the NFL. Davis is forgoing his senior year and is considered a mid-first round pick. Zook has also been known to give underclassmen good amounts of playing time.
Standing at 5’11″ and 180 pounds, Green would have been the fifth defensive back on track to wear Scarlet and Gray.
He would have joined four-and-a-half-star recruit Corey Brown, and four-star recruits C.J. Barnett, Jamie Wood, and Dominic Clarke (all rankings courtesy of Rivals.com) and current Buckeyes to compete with for a starting spot in the secondary. The secondary was a must-bolster after the departures of Malcolm Jenkins and Donald Washington.
Green was suggested to contribute on special teams and returns also this year.
Truly the Buckeyes will miss Green, as his tenacity and speed were two key reasons he was so heavily sought after out of Louisville.
Although Signing Day usually brings about drama, do not expect any other big changes from Green or any other recruits. Green would join Bradley McDougald and Darrell Givens as two other defensive backs to back out from their Buckeye pledge.
McDougald is now heading to Mark Mangino’s Kansas Jayhawks, and Givens is Penn State bound.
Other Buckeye Recruiting Tidbits
The Buckeyes are still in the running for top receiver Marlon Brown. Brown recently dropped the Florida Gators from his list, and now only Ole Miss, Georgia, Ohio State, and Tennessee stand. Georgia and Tennessee seem to be front-runners, with Ohio State having a fighting opportunity.
Brown certainly wants early playing time, and his wish could be granted at any of the four colleges.
If the Vols get a signature from Je’Ron Stokes, that could either sway Brown to play alongside another great receiver or find somewhere where he would be the top receiver.
As a Buckeye fan, I never like admitting when someone is turning the Tressel’s sweater vest club down, but I feel Tennessee will land Brown.
Morgan Moses, a 6’7″, 350-pound tackle from Virginia, will also be considering the Buckeyes. His two top choices are Virginia and North Carolina.
Moses desires early time on the field, and with a deep and better Buckeye offensive line, chances that Moses crosses over to Columbus territory are slim.
Brown and Moses are the two big names. There are a few smaller names still looking at the Buckeyes.
Pending other Buckeyes do not stray, and Brown and Moses shock the college football gurus, the class of ’09 featuring 25 commits and one transfer will be one for the ages.
A sad sight it is to see Green cancel his reservation, but the restaurant dubbed College Football should be plenty busy with classes like Ohio State’s this year.
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