The Opening Finals: 4-star CB Kaiir Elam builds relationship with Taver Johnson, Ohio State

Jeremy Birminghamabout 3 years
Aritcle written by:Jeremy BirminghamJeremy Birmingham



FRISCO, Texas — Ohio State has three defensive backs committed in its Class of 2019, but it’s looking to add another. Few players are higher on the Buckeyes big board than Florida’s Kaiir Elam.

The North Palm Beach 4-star prospect visited the Buckeyes in June and has been a top target for the school and coach Urban Meyer for a while. Meyer has familiarity with Elam and his family that goes back years, and he’s already had success recruiting an Elam: Landing Kaiir’s uncle, Matt, and signing him at Florida.

That bond with Meyer has helped forge a path for Ohio State to be considered one of the 6-foot-1, 182-pound cornerback’s top schools.

“There’s a couple schools [in the mix],” Elam said after Monday’s morning session at The Star. “Stanford, Oregon, Louisville, Ohio State, Florida State, Florida and Georgia. “All of those schools are all recruiting real me real, real hard.

“[Meyer] is a good dude, but I know I can’t make a decision off of a coach. My folks having a relationship with Urban, that’s pretty cool.

As good as the relationship is with Meyer, it’s likely going to be the bond between the country’s ninth-ranked cornerback and new position coach Taver Johnson that will win or lose this battle for Ohio State. Johnson’s role is huge, especially since he’s taking over for a proven commodity in now-Tennessee Titans assistant Kerry Coombs.

“I would say it was kind of a drop until Taver Johnson got there,” Elam said. “Taver is a good guy. He hasn’t done the done stuff that Coach Coombs has done, but I’m forming a relationship with Coach Taver.

“I can’t judge a book by its cover. When I met him at Ohio State, it was my first time meeting with him.”

Kaiir Elam is a top priority for Ohio State coaches

Elam last tripped to Ohio State in early June. Distance from home could be hard to overcome, because he’d prefer to develop his relationships with coaches in person. But the Buckeyes are working hard to make that less important by being very consistent in their communication thanks to a three-headed recruiting monster.

“[Defensive coordinator Greg] Schiano, Coach Meyer and Coach Taver text pretty almost every day,” he said. “Me and Coach Meyer get on the phone every week, once a week. I can definitely tell they’re more serious [about the recruitment].”

NFL success at Ohio State key for Kaiir Elam

Ohio State checks a lot of the boxes for Elam. Now he’s just waiting to see what happens on the roster and with the development of cornerbacks under the Johnson as he takes control of the program’s NFL factory at cornerback.

“The tradition of Ohio State, just putting out first-rounders and a good coaching staff that is known for developing players,” Elam said. “It’s a good school academically, as well. I mean, they put out two [defensive backs] at a time [to the NFL]. I know next year, Damon [Arnette] and [Kendall] Sheffield could be out, if they keep continuing to do that, I have no problem.

“[I’m looking for] a school that has a good chance of me playing, I want to play right away at a school with coaches known for developing players and a good school academically.”