Uncommitted: Jordan DiamondHigh School: Simeon (Chicago)Position:
6-foot-6, 310 poundsTom Lemming's Top 100: No. 68 overall
(No. 9 tackle
Arkansas, Auburn, Michigan, Ohio State, WisconsinMore Uncommitted: Josh Harvey-Clemons
, Darius Hamilton
, Trae Elston
, Devin Fuller
, Josh Garnett
, D.J. Foster
, Aziz Shittu
When Top 100 offensive tackle Jordan Diamond announces his college decision on national signing day at Simeon Career Academy in Chicago, it won‘t be just for show.
Diamond‘s choice among Arkansas, Michigan, Ohio State, Wisconsin and Auburn doesn‘t appear to be some well-protected secret that he has kept inside a close circle of family and friends for months. In the last two weeks, he has taken official visits to Wisconsin and Arkansas. He didn‘t take his official visit to Ohio State until December, when Urban Meyer was already announced as the Buckeyes‘ new head coach.
He is likely still deciding on that perfect place, where Diamond wants to play virtually immediately and not sit. Educational values will be a high priority, Diamond said in a preseason interview with MaxPreps.
What is certain is that the winning school will be getting a monster of an offensive lineman, with intelligence. "Big J," as he is nicknamed, is 6-foot-6 and just less than 300 pounds, down from about 350. He helped lead Simeon -- better known around Illinois and the nation as a basketball power -- to a rare 11-1 football record in 2010, and then to a 10-4 record in 2011 and two appearances against Mount Carmel at Soldier Field, the home stadium of the NFL Chicago Bears.
He is ranked the No. 68 overall recruit in the nation by CBS Sports recruiting expert Tom Lemming and the top recruit in Illinois. More than 30 scholarship offers have come Diamond's way, including nearly every Big Ten Conference school. He played in the U.S. Semper Fidelis All-American Game.
His leadership is so strong that he was a captain at Simeon for three years.
"He has a take-no-prisoners attitude, never lets up, shows good hand/punch in pass protection, can seal and sustain blocks, and he's exceptionally strong at the point of attack," Lemming says. "One of the most dominating LTs in the country."
"It's amazing, the way this kid came in for these four years and did absolutely everything that we asked him to," said Dante Culbreath, the head coach at Simeon.
But where will Diamond go? Even Ohio State coach Urban Meyer and Michigan coach Brady Hoke, among others, may not know that until Feb. 1. Online fan boards of his five final schools have all claimed him.
When Simeon finished its season with a 34-20 loss to Mount Carmel in the Chicago Prep Bowl, that's when Diamond turned his thoughts to recruiting. After more than 10 unofficial visits over the least year, he whittled down his choices to five finalists based on his criteria of playing opportunities and education, and began taking official visits in December.
If Diamond wants to play with a high school teammate, he may choose Arkansas, where Simeon's Robert Gregory is a verbal commit, and also it's also where Culbreath attended. At Michigan, he would be reunited with Chris Bryant, a freshman offensive lineman who was a 2011 Simeon graduate.
"I'm looking to be comfortable with the coaching staff, really getting a feel for the place, seeing if I fit in with them," Diamond told Lemming at the All-American Game.Arkansas (good shot):
Diamond's head coach at Simeon went to Arkansas. His teammate and the quarterback he blocked for, Robert Gregory, is an Arkansas commit. Diamond's parents were impressed by the campus and coaches during a visit.Ohio State (good shot):
There is no question that having former Florida head coach Urban Meyer show up in Columbus could be a difference maker. Ohio State was one of Diamond's visits in December, and said he was impressed by the new coaching staff's energy.Michigan (good shot):
Second-year head coach Brady Hoke has the Wolverines headed in the right direction. They may be a national contender before the Buckeyes are. What works strongly in Michigan's favor is its educational pedigree and the nickname, Wolverines. Simeon‘s mascot is also the Wolverine.Wisconsin (fair possibility):
If Diamond decides the Big Ten is the place he wants to play, Wisconsin is just up the road from Chicago and is a program known for showcasing its linemen.Auburn (long shot):
Would Diamond actually pass up playing with his high school teammate Arkansas and instead go to a Southeastern Conference rival?Final take:
Diamond wants to play. Throughout the recruiting process, his hope to play virtually immediately and getting a good education have been high priorities. So if a team is loaded with offensive linemen, don't look for Diamond to go there. He is the ultimate team guy, which would make him a great fit for Hoke at Michigan and Meyer at Ohio State.Paul Bowker has been an online and newspaper sports journalist for 30 years, and is based in the Chicago area. He may be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org