Javontae Jean-Baptiste was coming to Nebraska until last-second flip to Ohio State

Javontae Jean-Baptiste had 11.5 sacks during his senior season at Bergen Catholic High School.

Nebraska nearly had two four-star pass rushers in its 2018 recruiting class.

The Huskers landed Lithonia (Ga.) Miller Grove outside linebacker Caleb Tannor this morning. That was expected. 

But, for two hours, the Huskers also had a verbal commitment from Oradell (N.J.) Bergen Catholic outside linebacker Javontae Jean-Baptiste. He confirmed to The World-Herald that he called NU coaches this morning and said he was signing with Nebraska. 

And had his original plan of signing before school stayed in place, Jean-Baptiste may very well be a Husker.

But Bergen Catholic canceled school because of a wintry mix. So Jean-Baptiste didn't sign until noon eastern time. 

So he had time after he called Nebraska to think and talk with his family. And during that talk, Jean-Baptiste said he switched to Ohio State and coach Urban Meyer, who told the Big Ten Network that Jean-Baptiste had signed with the Buckeyes before Jean-Baptiste's actual signing ceremony inside a Bergen Catholic coach's office. 

"Ohio State has something special going on," Jean-Baptiste said when asked why he picked the Buckeyes. He added that the return of defensive coordinator Greg Schiano — who had been rumored to be headed to the New England Patriots — was "one of the main deciding factors" in his pick, as was OSU's penchant for developing NFL pass rushers. 

"I want to play at the next level," Jean-Baptiste said. "Ohio State has a good group of coaches." 

Jean-Baptiste said he called Nebraska's coaches after he decided to flip to OSU. He said NU coach Scott Frost "was kind of not happy," but Jean-Baptiste understood. 

Frost and his staff had arguably built the best relationship with Jean-Baptiste, who also had Virginia Tech and Texas A&M among his finalists. The Huskers had been on Jean-Baptiste well before his big senior year, when he posted 11.5 sacks for Bergen Catholic. 

That relationship — built at Central Florida and continued at Nebraska — was the key reason NU was in the race. But it wasn't enough. 

Add it to the signing day drama the Huskers have already experienced over the years. Jean-Baptiste's snow day flip is officially up there. 

Reporter - Nebraska athletics

Sam covers Nebraska football, recruiting, women's basketball and more for The World-Herald. Follow him on Twitter @swmckewonOWH. Email: SMcKewon@owh.com

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