By: Walter Villa, Special to USA TODAY High School Sports | August 7, 2017
Former Miami Columbus star Josh Jobe, listed as a Miami Hurricanes recruit, is leaving South Florida in two weeks, and he is not at all sure if he’s coming back to the area to play college football.
Jobe, a 6-1, 190-pounder who is ranked the nation’s sixth-best cornerback by 247 Sports, had his 19th birthday four months ago, making him too old to play high school football in Florida.
As per a 2015 rule change, Florida high school football players are ineligible if they turn 19 before Sept. 1.
Given that, the coaches at Columbus helped him find a home at Cheshire Academy in Connecticut, and Jobe noted that this puts him closer to the University of Michigan, one of the schools that he’s still interested in along with Florida, Alabama and Miami.
“I have to see how it goes,” said Jobe, who added that the Miami coaches do not seem concerned with him potentially breaking his commitment.
“A lot of colleges are going to come at me. I have to see what they are talking about. I have to see how this season goes. I still have time to figure it out. I don’t know how (Miami) is going to react, but I have to do what’s best for me.”
Jobe said he was “depressed for a moment” knowing he was no longer going to play for Columbus, where he had spent three years and aimed to win a state title.
Columbus coach Chris Merritt wasn’t feeling any better about the news that he was going to lose Jobe.
“Physically, they don’t make him like that in high school anymore,” Merritt said. “He’s a man. He has a top gear that separates him from about 99 percent of the cornerbacks in the country.
“It’s a combination of his length, speed and toughness. He’s a clone to (former Columbus defensive back) Deon Bush. And Deon is with the Chicago Bears right now so that kind of tells you what percentile that puts Josh in.”
Once it became apparent that Jobe could not finish his senior year at Columbus, Merritt tried to find him a new school. Merritt had met Cheshire coach David Dykeman through a mutual friend.
Coincidentally, the two coaches worked the Under Armour All-America Game in Orlando last December, both coaching the wide receivers. It was there that the plans were finalized to have Jobe visit Cheshire in January.
At Cheshire, players are eligible as long as they don’t turn 20 before Sept. 1.
During Jobe’s visit, there was snow on the ground. Jobe, who had never seen snow before, said he enjoyed the experience and figures he will eventually have to play in the cold anyway.
Dykeman, who had seen Jobe previously at a University of Alabama camp, said he has no questions about his newcomer’s football ability.
Cheshire’s 2017 class of seniors included a wide receiver who signed with Michigan; a running back who went to Notre Dame, an offensive lineman who is at Rutgers, a defensive tackle who is at Harvard and a quarterback and defensive back who signed with Boston College.
But in terms of the 2018 class, Jobe will be Cheshire’s highest-rated recruit.
“I’ve seen all of Josh’s film,” Dykeman said. “We will use him all over the field – cornerback, safety and tailback.”
Dykeman said it was quickly evident that Jobe would also be a good match for Cheshire for reasons beyond football.
“We are a New England boarding school – academics are our No. 1 priority,” Dykeman said. “Josh will live on campus. We have study hall at night, a writing center, a math lab … It will make for an easier transition to college for Josh because he will have lived away from home. He will have lived with a roommate.”
Even so, Jobe said he will miss “the brotherhood” he enjoyed at Columbus, an all-boys Catholic school.
“It wasn’t goodbye because I’m still part of the Columbus family,” Jobe said. “I really wanted a Columbus diploma. They treated me like a young man is supposed to be treated. They care.”