Running back Jordan Scarlett reopened his recruitment Friday, exactly six months after stunning many with a commitment to FAU. The 4-star Florida prospect opted to end his verbal pact with the Owls, creating an opportunity for other programs to enter the picture, per Ryan Bartow of 247Sports:
Scarlett made it clear the decision is final.
“FAU isn’t an option anymore," he told Bartow (subscription required).
The 5'11", 210-pound playmaker initially chose to follow Roger Harriott, his former head coach at University High School, to FAU. Harriott resigned to become the Owls running backs coach just days before Scarlett committed.
Now at St. Thomas Aquinas High School (Fort Lauderdale), the lauded rusher is ready for a fresh start on the recruiting trail.
Scarlett, who averaged nearly eight yards per carry last fall en route to 930 rushing yards and 14 touchdowns, is rated 10th nationally among running backs in 247Sports' composite rankings. He has lofty ambitions for his football career, which will lead him to a more high-profile college campus.
"At my position, you need your body and at FAU, I would need to carry the team and I'm trying to get my body ready for the NFL," Scarlett told Ryan S. Clark of the Sun-Sentinel.
He identified Ohio State, South Carolina, Miami and Florida State as programs primarily on his radar during a conversation with Bartow. Scarlett also shared his plans to take all five of his official visits before announcing a new pledge, which may not occur until the U.S. Army All-American Game in January.
Each of the programs he mentioned have varying needs at running back, which could ultimately determine how they stack up in his hierarchy of options.
Florida State landed 5-star prospect Dalvin Cook during the 2014 recruiting cycle, but the team is still searching for a 2015 back. The Seminoles missed on hometown standout D'Anfernee McGriff, who committed to Auburn, but remain top contenders for 4-star talents Jacques Patrick (Orlando) and Johnny Frasier (North Carolina).
Scarlett spent time in Tallahassee last season and told Bartow he's "been talking to [Florida State] a lot".
Miami also aims to keep Scarlett near home and welcomed him for a visit this week. The Hurricanes landed Joseph Yearby, Cook's backfield mate at Miami Central High School, in 2014 and are already in good shape at the position during this cycle.
Head coach Al Golden holds commits from 4-star Florida running backs Dexter Williams and Mark Walton. While Miami will surely show interest in a talent like Scarlett, those rushers are currently the team's top-ranked commits in the class.
Ohio State is in the mix for multiple marquee running backs, including top-ranked rusher Damien Harris (Kentucky). Larry Scott, a 4-star recruit from Ohio, is expected to choose between the Buckeyes and Michigan State next month, per Ari Wasserman of the Northeast Ohio Media Group.
Scarlett told Bartow he'd like to attend Friday Night Lights, the team's signature recruiting camp, in July. Urban Meyer will look to accommodate those plans to get him in Columbus.
South Carolina hasn't hosted him on campus yet, but Scarlett told Bartow the Gamecocks are "coming after me hard". Steve Spurrier has sustained recruiting success in the Sunshine State, including the 2013 signing of 4-star linebacker Skai Moore, who played with Scarlett at University High School.
The team didn't sign a top-tier running back in February and is still in the hunt for one in its 2015 class. South Carolina is also targeting in-state rusher Ty'Son Williams, along with A.J. Turner (Virginia).
At this stage, given the Gamecocks' heavy interest and need for an infusion of talent in the offensive backfield, South Carolina presents the strongest fit for Scarlett. Of course, plenty could change along the path to signing day.
Aside from Scarlett's four favorites, expect other teams to make inquiries now that he's officially back on the market. Though he told Bartow that Florida is "probably" the only other program that could make a move, don't be surprised if heavy interest arrives from as far away as USC.
FAU needed to hold onto Scarlett's commitment for 14 months. The Owls didn't make it halfway there, and now one of the county's most electric offensive weapons is once again up for grabs.
Recruit information and ratings courtesy of 247Sports unless otherwise noted.