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Recruiting Notes on Ohio State Commitments, Georgia, Alabama Targets and More from the DR Sportz 7-on-7 Event

College football recruiting notes from some of the South's top prospects on hand at the DR7 7-on-7 tournament over the weekend

TAMPA, Fla. -- Team Tampa defended home turf and took home the title this weekend at the DR7 7-on-7 tournament in the Tampa area thanks in large part to a pair of new Ohio State verbal commitments. 

The roster has much more talent beyond Bryson Rodgers and Dijon Johnson, including many uncommitted recruits, and Sports Illustrated checked in on each while covering the event. Beyond the title team, other standout prospects competed and provided the latest on their path to college football. 

Troy Bowles, LB, Tampa (Fla.) Jesuit

Arguably the top prospect to take the field over the weekend, and of course the son of Tampa Bay Buccaneers head coach Todd Bowles, made an impact right out of the gate Saturday with an interception and multiple pass breakups to get Team Tampa rolling. On the recruiting front, Bowles has been just as active, taking recent trips to Georgia, Alabama, Auburn, Florida and Oklahoma. It was his first time at Auburn, the school he says he grew up following the closest, which helps the Tigers stay in the mix along with AU linebackers coach Christian Robinson, who was recruiting Bowles while on Florida's staff. Trips to Clemson and Michigan State, which would be a first to East Lansing, are likely to be set up for the near future, too. Bowles is zeroing in on a potential commitment before the 2022 season begins. 

Bryson Rodgers, WR, Wesley Chapel (Fla.) Wiregrass Ranch

Rodgers, with strong family ties to the state of Ohio, decided during his recent official visit to Ohio State that he’d seen enough and was ready to pull the trigger with a verbal commitment. Still, that does not mean other programs will give up. Ironically enough, coaches from Ohio State, Georgia and Alabama will be in to see Rodgers at Wiregrass Ranch on Monday, he reports. Rodgers said he was in contact with the national championship game SEC pair following his pledge to OSU, which has recently included a connection with Nick Saban in particular.

Rickie Collins, QB, Baton Rouge (La.) Woodlawn

Collins committed to Purdue back in October of 2021, but that has not stopped college programs from contacting the signal caller, who is already set to compete among the nation’s best at the Elite 11 Finals this summer. Although Collins plans to officially visit Purdue the first weekend of June, several other programs are also coming after him following a big 2021 season and subsequent emergence on the camp and combine circuit. Watch out for Michigan and Arkansas, with programs like Texas A&M also being interested to this point. More could eventually join that race as the national quarterback dominos continue to fall and more commitments at the position are made.

Dijon Johnson, CB, Tampa (Fla.) Wharton

Johnson recently committed to Ohio State and the Buckeyes appear to be in good shape to keep the high-upside cornerback in the fold. He was happy about his decision and reports to be enjoying committed life in between games played for Team Tampa, who won the title this weekend. Ohio State really tries to keep commitments from visiting other programs and at least for now that’s the likely scenario for Johnson.

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Tyler Williams, WR, Lakeland (Fla.) High School

The budding star for the Dreadnaughts began playing receiver in August of last year after playing quarterback his entire youth career. That worked out quite well, adding  15 scholarship offers in the first month of the season alone. As for visits, Williams is starting to narrow it down just a little bit ahead of his initial official visits "June 3 I will be at Clemson, and June 11 I will be at Georgia,” he said. Williams is feeling the pressure of being a national recruit, admitting that he has over 100 unopened messages on Twitter alone. A few of the schools to watch with Williams for other official visits, amongst many, would be “Florida, Miami, Florida State, Oklahoma, Tennessee, and LSU,” according to Williams. USC, Baylor, Notre Dame, Michigan, and Stanford are other programs that have a shot to get an official visit from Williams based on him admitting that he’s talking to all those schools as well. Williams actually visited Stanford already. He has family in northern California and the Stanford trip was turned into a dual-family vacation. Williams will probably hold off from making a decision until the fall.

Eugene Wilson, WR, Tampa (Fla.) Gaither

Wilson was busy in the spring with unofficial visits and now he will turn his attention to official visits, where both Alabama and Georgia appear in line to receive a trip before a decision is made. Florida, which was the childhood favorite school for Wilson, also hosted him on campus and figures to get him back to Gainesville before all is said and done. While most programs are chasing UF among those that have offered, Wilson says he is open to new potential offers and reports interest from Oklahoma. A trip to Norman is being discussed in an official capacity ahead of what is currently a plan to make a summer verbal commitment.

Keyon Brown, WR, Tallahassee (Fla.) Rickards

Brown’s recruitment is that of a late bloomer. For the longest time, he received little attention. After clocking speeds at over 21 miles per hour while being tracked by Catapult Sports during a DR Sportz tournament in Davenport, Fla. earlier this year, his recruitment picked up steam. LSU and Alabama are trying to get him on campus soon for a first-hand look, and they are now joining a long list of schools interested in the talented wide receiver. Brown has an offer from nearby Florida State, as well as offers from programs like Miami, Tennessee, South Carolina, Wake Forest, Louisville and Mississippi State.

Jamari Ford, RB, Miami (Fla.) Northwestern

One of the most athletically gifted all-around running backs in Florida, Ford’s recruitment is much like Brown’s in that it’s finally picking up. The Northwestern star is a nightmare as a slot receiver and after he gets the football the fun begins. Western Kentucky took early notice of Ford’s skills and they built a great relationship with the talented performer. He’s also planning to take visits to Louisville and Pittsburgh this summer. Look for Ford’s recruitment to continue to elevate as spring football opens in the state of Florida this week.

Jordan Matthews, CB, Baton Rouge (La.) Woodlawn

In one of the most contested recruitments in the state of Louisiana, Matthews has a long list of suitors that he’s trying to narrow down. “Texas, Texas A&M…Michigan, Georgia, LSU, Purdue…there’s a couple more. I can’t even name them all off the top of my head,” Matthews said with a smile. While Matthews has yet to schedule any official visits, he did also note that he’s “About to start planning some” in the near future. This race could just be in the beginning stages. 

Kam Davis, RB, Albany (Ga.) Daugherty

One of the nation’s most explosive 2024 prospects overall, Davis is still the quiet, reserved and respectful young man that’s helped him rack up offers from over 30 college football programs. He’s a long-time Florida State commitment, but programs like Alabama, Georgia, and many others are still pushing. In fact, Davis made it known that he plans to visit Notre Dame in early June and also plans to trek out to Oregon this summer. There could be a long way to go for the signature of Davis, who also visited Alabama in April. 

Brian Smith contributed to this report.