Recruiting cycles have always been hectic with the stress of making decisions of a lifetime resting on prospective talents shoulders.
Adding to the pressure of choosing colleges, upcoming recruits have been forced to take serious strides blindly due to COVID-19 circumstances.
However, on June 1, class of 2022 prospects regained a sense of normalcy in their recruitment processes with the lifting of the 15-month long NCAA dead period. As a result, top athletes made their way across the country to numerous campuses to find or confirm their homes for the foreseeable future.
One of which is Jacksonville (Fla.) defensive back and previous Ohio State commit Jaheim Singletary, who’s return to in-person visits opened his eyes to the possibilities outside of Columbus. On Thursday at High School Football Media Day, Singletary shared his reason for backing off his pledge from the Buckeyes and detailed the future of his recruitment with AllGators.
“Really I think I rushed into my commitment, committing to the school before I actually visited," Singletary said. "I really didn’t know too much about Ohio State other than that it was a really great program and that the coaches were very good and the history about it. I committed to them at the time because at the time Ohio State was hot and they were leading in my recruitment, recruiting me the hardest.
“So it’s like I was under so much pressure of committing at the time during January cause I had already told my fans that’s when I was doing it. So I ended up committing to Ohio State before I could visit, went to my official visit this summer and it wasn’t the best for me. I done had better visits. I was uncomfortable, I really couldn’t be myself. So, I talked about it with my family and decommitting from Ohio State and reopening my recruitment was the best decision for us.”
Since hitting the open market once again, Singletary has seen substantial attention from a number of schools that he hasn’t heard from in since his January commitment to OSU.
“The day I decommitted it was official offer day. August 1," Singletary acknowledged. "So my phone went crazy. I was getting calls and texts from coaches I haven’t talked to in months. Getting official offers from schools I ain’t talk to in months. My recruitment is crazy right now because it’s open to everybody so I’m talking to everybody.”
While adamant about giving all programs a fair shake at his services, Singletary dubbed Miami, Georgia and Florida as the top three schools for him at the moment due to the consistent communication they kept even when he was commitment.
“The teams that’s in my top, they kept the communication going because they still felt like they had a chance of getting me. They never stopped the pushed and I feel like they really wanted me so like that played a major role. That’s why there in the spot they’re in now.”
Detailing his relationship with Florida specifically, Singletary spoke highly of his connection with the Gators.
“My relationship with Florida is really great. It’s been real good cause you know my head coach a Florida alumni so you know it’s always going to be a great bond with me and coach Mullen.”
Currently holding two commits from defensive backs — Julian Humphrey and Jamarrien Burt — Florida continues to search for long and athletic ball hawks to return to their DBU form, a criteria that Singletary fits to a tee.
Making moves during the offseason to revamp the unit from a teaching standpoint, the Gators overhauled their secondary staff, adding Wesley McGriff and Jules Montinar in replacement.
Bringing new philosophies and techniques to the backend of Florida’s defense, Singletary strives to learn more about and build relationships with the new-look personnel.
“I really want to build on getting to know the new DB coach, coach Jules,” Singletary said. “I really want to build our relationship, get to know what kind of dude he is and like what can Florida offer me and the opportunity they can give to me to help me become a better young man and better myself for the next level.”
Looking to take his time with the remainder of his process — due to the rushed decision he made the first time he committed — Singletary’s timeline will be a go-with-the-flow format that comes to an end when he feels it’s time.
“I want to give everybody a fair chance. Take it a day at a time and when my heart tells me it’s time, it’s time.”