Despite being extremely early in the 2018 recruiting class, the Toledo Rockets are off to a nice start. The Rockets currently have six commits in the class which was started by Florida wide receiver, Jordan Dillard of Miami Southridge High School. Dillard is currently a two-star but is a freak athlete at 6'4", 170-pounds and has the leaping ability to go up and get any ball. Dillard could have high expectation from Toledo fans once he arrives on campus due to his frame which is similar to former Rocket great, Alonzo Russell. Dillard committed to Jason Candle and the Rockets way back on November 16 over offers from Appalachian State, Florida Atlantic and Southern Mississippi.
"Toledo was the first to give me a chance to change my life and to take care of my family for the rest of it. Coming to town, to make big plays as a Rocket is what I'll give in return," Dillard said after his commitment.
After Dillard, local product and anchor in the trenches, Tyler Long would pull the trigger on February 12. Long, a product of Springfield High School nearly fifteen minutes from campus, is a big 6'4", 290-pound frame with great athleticism. Offensive line coach, Mike Hallett and the Rockets are extremely excited to get Long on campus as he has a chance to become something special in the shadows of his high school. Long plays for a highly successful high school program in Northwest Ohio behind a tremendous head coach in Pat Gucciardo and will now play for another great one in the form of Jason Candle.
"I probably can't even count how many times I have been over with the Rockets," Long told us on his visits to Toledo, "It's so nice to be able to have a hometown school this close."
As for the recruiting class chemistry, Long says he has spoke to several other commits and they're all ready to get to work.
"I have talked to them multiple times over social media and over text message. I've also talked to a few 2017 signees. We have a great relationship, especially Conor Head and I because we are going to be future offensive guards together. I plan on meeting up with them sometime soon on campus and building a better relationship with them. In my opinion, our main goal is to keep the winning culture in the city of Toledo and attack the MAC Championship. Also, we'd like to make it a team effort to keep Toledo on the board as they have been recently with eight people joining NFL teams."
Speaking of Conor Head, the offensive lineman recently committed on April 28. Head is out of Revere High School in Richfield, Ohio and has great athleticism as well, playing both sides of the ball in high school. In fact, Head was previously a tight end before moving to guard two weeks before the first game of the season as a junior. The in-state commit was receiving major interest from several schools before committing and already held offers from Army and Bowling Green.
"Toledo was the first school that came in to talk to me two years ago," Head told us, "Coach Hallett and I built a really strong relationship together since then. I really feel like the entire coaching staff and that was a huge part of making my decision. They are all truthful and fun guys who live and die Toledo football and that's something I wanted to be a part of."
As for when he steps on campus, Head, like Long, is ready to get to work.
"I'm a hard worker who lives and breathes football. Football has been my entire life and has always been there for me. This is a dream come true and super excited to be living it at Toledo."
Athlete Jayshon Jackson of Chicago Simeon Vocational High School pulled the trigger on February 26, a huge get for Rocket coaching staff. The 5'10", 160-pound three-star had offers from Ball State, Central Michigan, Eastern Michigan, Miami (OH), Northern Illinois, and Western Michigan before his commitment to Toledo. Recently, Jackson has added an offer from Cincinnati and will likely see further offers coming his way this summer. Jackson is currently ranked as the 56th best athlete in the 2018 class and the third best in the state of Illinois which makes him a big get for the Rockets, especially the way Toledo uses dynamic players such as himself.
On April 27, outside linebacker Solomon Egbe of Grayson High School in Loganville, Georgia gave the Rockets his verbal commitment. The 6'0", 220-pounder is currently a two-star but moves well laterally as the leader of his defense at Grayson. Egbe has a chance to be a tremendous asset to the Toledo defense within his first few seasons in the Glass City.
Also at linebacker, Jackson Barrow of Indianapolis Cathedral High School has the potential to be a Rocket great. Barrow is a current three-star and is the third best outside linebacker in the state of Indiana. Barrow will provide instant depth to the Toledo defense and was a big-time get for the 2018 class. Barrow held offers from Bowling Green, Central Michigan, Cincinnati, and Indiana before committing.
"I just felt like I had a really great connection with the coaching staff at Toledo and Coach Candle. I love the direction that the program is going and what they have in store for me in the future in terms of pursuing my dreams," he told us.
As always, we'll have the latest on the 2018 recruiting class. Stay tuned.