August 4, 2011

Diamond braves heat, checks out Ole Miss

Jordan Diamond is used to the cold winds blowing off Lake Michigan.

So the four-star offensive tackle from Chicago (Simeon), Ill., didn't know what to think when he arrived in Oxford, Miss., with the mercury hitting 104 degrees and heat index readings of 113.

"The only bad thing about the visit was the heat," Diamond said with a laugh.

Houston Nutt and Co. couldn't control Mother Nature, but the Ole Miss staff made a strong impression on the 6-foot-9, 289-pound Diamond.

"Ole Miss was cool," Diamond said. "It was a calm environment down there. They don't start practice until Saturday, so I didn't get a chance to meet all the players. But I did meet the starting left tackle (Bradley Sowell), Coach Nutt and (Ole Miss offensive line) Coach (Mike) Markuson."

Markuson, Diamond said, told Diamond he could develop him into an NFL offensive lineman.

"He's sent numerous guys to the league," Diamond said. "Michael Oher, John Jerry, a lot of guys. So they're telling me I'd have a great opportunity there and he'd coach me up and make me a great player."

Diamond has also visited Iowa and Arkansas recently. In addition to the Hawkeyes and Razorbacks, Diamond has offers from Arizona, Arizona State, Auburn, Florida State, Illinois, Indiana, Kansas, Miami, Michigan, Michigan State, Northwestern, Notre Dame, Ohio State, Oregon, Tennessee, Vanderbilt, West Virginia and Wisconsin.

"Right now I'm just staying open-minded. I can't give any evaluations until I go on campus and see things," Diamond said, adding that distance from Chicago "is not a factor. I've got the OK to go wherever I want."

Diamond said he and the Ole Miss staff discussed his returning to Oxford sometime this fall for an official visit.

"Hopefully I can get down there for an official, but I haven't made any decisions on where I'm going to take my visits," Diamond said, adding he doesn't plan to announce a decision until National Signing Day in February.

Diamond is ranked by Rivals.com as the No. 6 prospect in Illinois and the No. 209 prospect nationally. He is ranked as the No. 25 offensive tackle prospect in America.

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