The chase has been renewed for 4-star cornerback Lejond Cavazos. This one will be unique.
Everybody that was REALLY in it before now essentially gets a mulligan with Cavazos.
The two-sport standout junior from IMG Academy in Florida chose Ohio State last summer. Cavazos, also a gifted hurdler, was pretty sure he found the finish line on his decision last summer.
That was before Urban Meyer made his decision to step down as the leader of the Ohio State program.
Cavazos chose the Buckeyes because his family had known Meyer for decades.
Those ties stretched back to the days when his father was a high school coach in the Dallas Metro area. Meyer had been known to recruit that area as a young assistant.
Kirby Smart and UGA made a strong push but wound up with the silver. Oregon also factored heavily into that decision.
The Cavazos recruiting 2.0 storyline began when he hit the reset button on that choice.
In order to properly frame up his new decision, there are a few key elements to also keep in mind.
- He is a connected recruit. The 4-star corner has a long-standing relationship with Georgia freshman OLB Nolan Smith.
- Cavazos is also tight with elite WR target Jermaine Burton in the 2020 class.
- Burton is another 2020 priority for the Bulldogs. When Burton became an immediate starter at IMG Academy during his sophomore season, those two wound up roommates.
- Cazavos will also be a mid-year enrollee in January of 2020.
- He carries the exact size and speed types that Kirby Smart and his staff are looking for in a defensive back. The junior had the fifth-best Nike football rating of anyone from outside the 2019 class a year ago.
- When he worked out for the Bulldogs last summer, he shared what Smart told him: “He said I’m what they want,” he said. “Coach Smart told me that I checked off all the boxes.”
The IMGs standout spoke with DawgNation last month about his next decision. This one will also likely require the slow-motion button, too.
“Truthfully I am starting my whole process over,” Cavazos said. “I am giving everybody an equal opportunity. Knowing when I de-committed I had final finishers like UGA, Oregon, Alabama and LSU in there. I just gave everybody a zeroed-out opportunity when I de-committed.”
Most recruiters saw Meyer’s move as an opening. This was an extra chance to sign an impressive athlete who had all but shut down his process.
When he tested for the Nike Opening last March, he was coming off an injury.
Cavazos was still able to post a 4.61 laser in the 40. The special feat came when he paired that time with a truly elite 4.03 showing in the pro agility 5-10-5 shuttle.
“I had so many messages when I de-committed,” Cavazos said. “It felt like September 1 and my freshman year [with all his first offers] all over again.”
“So I’m just going to give everybody an equal opportunity to recruit me again. To see who’s genuine and who’s not.”
Give him credit here. He’s learned the hard way about the college recruiting game.
“I’m going to make an announcement late this time,” he said. “So I can see who all is going to be on the staff. You just never know what is going to happen at the end of the day.”
Please respect my decision… pic.twitter.com/xU3YyIcqkE
— Lejond Cavazos (@lejondaryy) December 4, 2018
Lejond Cavazos on Georgia
The Bulldogs were a strong second place finisher. They did nothing to lose their luster for him along the 2018 season.
“They are there,” he said in regard to UGA. “They are where they are supposed to be and should have been in the [college football] playoffs this year. Ohio State probably could have been in the playoffs but Georgia should have definitely made the playoffs. Regardless of anything that happened during the season.”
“They are getting a lot better. They have a great recruiting class this year and they are only going to go up from here and I like that. Because Georgia will play young players, too.”
He plans to take just a few unofficials during the spring period. Look for him to use all of his officials during the 2019 season. Spring officials will also be tough because of his track schedule.
When he was at the Nike regional a year ago, he measured it at 5 feet, 11 inches. That should read like old news. Cavazos has grown at least two inches over the last year.
“When I got hurt, I got a lot of sleep and that’s all I did,” he said. “When I got healthy and started working out again I felt a lot stronger and a lot more powerful. Bigger. Taller. It was just all for the best.”
His Hudl profile page now lists him at a verfied 6-foot-1. He’s also right at 185 pounds.
Cavazos initally felt Georgia or LSU would get his first unofficial visit of 2019. Yet he wound up taking a visit to chomp it up with Dan Mullen in Gainesville.
— Lejond Cavazos (@lejondaryy) February 2, 2019
He has very few questions about Georgia. Smith, his good friend, makes sure he does not run low on real-time Intel about how things are going in Athens.
“You know Nolan,” he said. “He doesn’t leave me alone with this. So he asked me what my actual thoughts on Georgia are. He wanted to know if I would actually still look at Georgia as a contender. The answer there is obviously a ‘yes’ because it is the University of Georgia. Like you know?”
“I want to go somewhere I have friends there and if the football wasn’t there then would I still want to be at school there. Here’s how I feel: Would I like going there? Regardless of football? Football isn’t always given to you. I don’t know if I will have a fully healthy career. God willing I do. But I just want to know if I will actually like the school itself and it will stand on its own and I will love it in my heart outside of football.”
The next lap for Lejond Cavazos
Cavazos slaps hands with just about everyone he comes across at a camp or any All-American event.
It does seem like he has “boys” everywhere. That pack would include 5-star DE Bryan Bresee, among many others.
Smith isn’t the only connection he has with a 2019 prospect.
Trey Sanders told DawgNation when he made his final decision he was going to try to be sure to lure Cavazos to join him.
Sanders signed with Alabama. Cavazos could be a Spider-Man with webs tying him to just about every elite team.
Ohio State is still building a stellar 2020 class in Columbus. Cavazos was all but embedded with several 5-stars who were committed to playing in Columbus or trending hard in that direction.
His next decision? Maybe that one will park itself at the intersection of fit, comfort and a championship chase.
But it might not.
Cavazos made it clear that won’t totally be it. He will not be a package deal anywhere. Not to Smith. Or Bresee. Or Sanders.
“I am doing my decision off of me and what’s best for me and my family,” he said. “I’m going to ask the guys the right questions, though.”
Those will be:
- Are the coaches genuine? Do the act the same way they did when they recruited you?
- Are they different? How much different?
- What are they like in practice?
- Is it as fun playing there as you figured it was going to be?
“I am glad that I have friends at every college that is recruiting me,” Cavazos said. “That will be really good for me.”
The name Derrick Ansley is drawing a lot of headlines. He’s now linked as a new hire for those Volunteers at Tennessee. If he does wind up leading the defensive backs in Knoxville, I’d expect Cavazos will also give Rocky Top a good look.
“Coach Ansley knows his stuff,” Cavazos said. “He recruited me when he was at Alabama. Back then, I wanted to go to Alabama because of him.”
Resetting the 2020 DawgNation recruiting watch
Cavazos is one of many targets for the Bulldogs in 2020. The program aims to reclaim the mythical 247Sports Team composite rankings title that it earned in 2018.
Check out the work that is already on the site in regard to 2020 targets.
- 5-star junior DE Bryan Bresee will return this weekend to UGA
- Nation’s No. 5 DE Jacolbe Cowan and Tray Scott: Those two go back to 2015
- Nation’s No. 1 WR Julian Fleming uses the word “great” a lot about UGA
- What does the nation’s No. 1 QB DJ Uiagalelei think of UGA?
- Sam Pittman is on the mind of elite OL target Andrew Raym
- Arkansas prep QB Jacolby Criswell has been a UGA target since last summer
- 3-star 2020 DT Warren Brinson de-commits from UGA
- Dream school? Favorite team? 4-star Alabama wideout says that about the Bulldogs
- 70-yard field goal? Georgia offers North Carolina kicker Jonathan Karty
- “RBU Reload” anyone? Why 5-star RB Kendall Milton hears from UGA almost daily
- 5-star OT commit Broderick Jones feels “amazing” about UGA right now
- How the Justin Fields storyline will affect UGA recruiting in 2019
- Tiny Schley County has produced quite a find in 4-star DE Zykeivous Walker
- WATCH: Why Warren Brinson was attracted to UGA
- 5-star Bryan Bresee is the biggest UGA target for 2020