February 22, 2011

Florida standout has ties to Big Ten football

Deon Bush is the kind of athlete the three powers in the state of Florida do not let get away, but the 6-1, 165-pound defensive back from Miami recently mentioned his interest in seeing Michigan after earning a U-M offer last week …

Bush told Rivals.com he would like to see Michigan, along with LSU, Ohio State and Alabama, and thought it might be in the works when the South Florida Express 7-on-7 team he competes with visits college campuses for spring practices.

A member of the Rivals250 To Watch in 2012, Bush already boasts an impressive offer list that includes the Wolverines, Crimson Tide, Buckeyes, Tigers, Boston College, Florida, Florida State, Georgia Tech, Louisville, Miami, Nebraska, Notre Dame, Ole Miss, Purdue, Rutgers, Tennessee, and West Virginia.

Bush's brother Gary was a redshirt freshman wide receiver for Purdue in 2010 so he's not entirely new to the Midwest brand of football.

"He has a feel for Big Ten football, which a lot of kids around here don't have," Columbus High School coach Chris Merritt said. "I played for Indiana and I grew up with [Curt] Mallory from Michigan so Deon has a few more connections to the football up there than maybe most kids from Florida do.

"Right now, everyone has a shot. He's not locked into the SEC or ACC but that doesn't mean he'll leave Florida either."

Merritt would never steer a recruit to one school or another but his familiarity with the Maize and Blue program is a positive. Merritt played for Bill Mallory at IU, knows current Michigan defensive backs coach Curt Mallory well and has a favorable opinion of defensive coordinator Greg Mattison also.

Though he plays safety for Columbus, Bush projects as a cornerback according to Merritt.

"He's one of the best defensive backs we've had in awhile and is very comparable to a kid we had named Patrick Lee that went to Auburn and was a second-round [NFL] draft pick in 2008," Merritt said. "Deon is a long-bodied kind of kid, a phenomenal athlete, and his length and speed translate to cornerback on the next level.

"He's just a real special talent. He'll compete for the long jump and triple jump titles in the state this spring."

A three-year starter, Bush helped lead Columbus to an 11-1 mark and a berth in the 6A regional quarterfinals.

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