Wednesday, June 30, 2010

NICK VANNETT TO THE BUCKEYES

WESTERVILLE — Westerville (OH) Central tight end Nick Vannett will be playing his college football at the Ohio State University.

Vannett, a big 6-foot-6, 230 pound pass catching star from suburban Columbus, issued this statement this afternoon via Facebook ... "I am very proud to announce that I will be playing for The Ohio State Buckeyes!"

Vannett is the 16th verbal commitment the Buckeyes have received for the class of 2011.

— To discuss this story or any others involving Ohio State football, click here.

VANNETT TO DECIDE TODAY; PERRY IN THE FOLD; TANNER SOON TO BE

WESTERVILLE — Westerville (OH) Central star tight end Nick Vannett will make his collegiate choice known today.

The 6-foot-6, 230 pound pass catcher, announced on his Facebook account on Tuesday afternoon that "I got a huge life changing decision ahead of me. I will announce where I am going to play college football at tomorrow."

Vannett, a class of 2011 recruit has offers from Ohio State, Notre Dame, Penn State, Michigan State, Iowa, Virginia Tech, Tennessee, Arizona and Wisconsin, among others.

PERRY IS A BUCKEYE — Ohio State has its first verbal from the class of 2012, as Lewis Center (OH) Olentangy linebacker, Josh Perry, issued his commitment to Jim Tressel and the Buckeyes on Tuesday.

Perry (6-3, 225) is one of the top junior linebacker prospects, not only in the state of Ohio, but also the country. The Buckeyes, who lost out on the top linebacker in Ohio for the class of 2010 (Lakota West's Jordan Hicks), and seem to be losing ground on the top backer in 2011 (Springfield's Trey DePriest), now have the commitment from the best in 2012, which should make OSU fans a little more at ease.

TANNER TO DECIDE FRIDAY — Columbus Eastmoor Academy safety Ron Tanner will announce his college destination on Friday at his high school at 10 a.m.

Tanner (6-1, 190) appears to be an OSU lock.

— To discuss this story or any others involving Ohio State football, click here.

Monday, June 28, 2010

STONEBURNER BRINGS A 'WHOLE OTHER DIMENSION' TO THE BUCKEYES

COLUMBUS — When Ohio State takes the field this fall, there's going to be a lot of familiar faces on the offensive side of the football.

(left, photo of Jake Stoneburner by The Buckeye Times/Darla Dunkle-Hudnell)

Quarterback Terrelle Pryor, tailbacks Brandon Saine and Dan "Boom" Herron, as well as wide receivers DeVier Posey and Dane Sanzenbacher, give the Buckeyes the experience and the talent at the skill positions to make a legitimate run at Glendale this season.

The offense will be more wide open in 2010, and should be very similar to the 2006 Buckeyes, which consisted of Heisman Trophy winning quarterback Troy Smith, wide receivers Ted Ginn Jr. and Anthony Gonzalez, and running backs Antonio Pittman and Chris "Beanie" Wells.

By the way, that team played for a National Championship in Glendale that season.

But unlike that great 2006 team, the 2010 Buckeyes have something the Smith-led squad didn't ... a playmaker at tight end.

Ohio State red-shirt sophomore, Jake Stoneburner, is this season's secret weapon. The Dublin, Ohio native should become a major weapon in the Buckeyes arsenal this fall.

Although the 6-foot-5, 245 pounder only caught two passes last season, playing behind senior Jake Ballard, Stoneburner showed this spring that he can be a real force at the tight end position, something the Buckeyes haven't had during the Jim Tressel era.

I know it's a lot to put on an unproven sophomore, but during spring camp — as well as the spring game where he caught three passes for 43 yards (all from Pryor in the first quarter) — Stoneburner looked like Dallas Clark of the Indianapolis Colts. He was catching everything and appeared to be a favorite target of Pryor all camp long.

"Man, we've got Jake stepping in. Jake's a whole other dimension," Pryor said of Stoneburner in April. "I think he is going to be a big time play maker."

Ohio State assistant head coach/receivers coach, Darrell Hazell, agreed with his quarterback.

"I tell you what's going to help us this year and that is Jake Stoneburner," Hazell said. "He brings an added dimension of speed up the middle of the field and that can create a lot of problems for people. It keeps the safeties on the hash, it gets the wideouts open and if they cover him, he's going to run right by them and catch the ball."

Of course, playing tight end at Ohio State you're going to be expected to block on occasion. Let's face it, the Buckeyes are still going to tote the rock, so Stoneburner — who is more of a big wide receiver, than your prototype tight end — must be able to handle the blocking duties, as well.

OSU offensive coordinator Jim Bollman thinks his young tight end can handle it.

"He's a great route runner, he runs really fast, he's done a great job of getting bigger and stronger," Bollman said. "We would like to think that he can handle all aspects of the deal."

If he can, the Buckeyes offense is going to be scary good.

Maybe even good enough for a date in the desert.

— To discuss this story or any others involving Ohio State football, click here.

Friday, June 25, 2010

IS DURON CARTER'S DEPARTURE REALLY THAT BIG OF A LOSS?

Duron Carter, left, celebrating with OSU receiver DeVier Posey, following a touchdown against Wisconsin last season. (Photo by The Buckeye Times/Darla Dunkle-Hudnell)

I'll go ahead and say it ... the Ohio State football team is better off without former wide receiver, Duron Carter.

I know, I know, he has been blessed with tremendous talent and athleticism ... yada, yada, yada. Come on, it's Ohio State, people — every single player on the roster has been blessed with great abilities.

No, the Buckeyes being better off has nothing to do with Carter's skills as a football player, and everything to do with his lack of maturity.

The bottom line is, he's spoiled — plain and simple.

After becoming academically ineligible for the Rose Bowl, and remaining so in spring camp this past April, Carter should've been hitting the books like he hits the wheel route.

Instead, he's hitting up Twitter like he's being paid by the word.

While watching veteran wideouts DeVier Posey and Dane Sanzenbacher mastering their trade in spring camp and giving it their all as if they were sixth and seventh on the depth chart, I'm reading Carter tweets about heading over to the RPAC to play basketball.

While checking out Taurian Washington, Chris Fields and Grant Schwartz competing with extreme diligence for the No. 3 spot — which was supposed to be Carter's role — I'm reading his tweets about going to the mall and eating at Chipotle.

Mr_Dcarter9, as he goes by on Twitter, should've paid heed back on the first day of spring practice when Ohio State head coach Jim Tressel said, "even with Carter, Taurian Washington would be our No. 3 receiver."

Yeah, that's what we call "writing on the wall."

While watching James Jackson, Ricky Crawford, Garrett Hummel and Joe Cech busting their tails to get a spot on the wide receiver depth chart, Carter is tweeting about some guy's leg hair during his math class.

And ... we're about to see two freshmen receivers coming in — James Louis and Verlon Reed — who are hungry and itching to get on the field this fall ... while Carter is in Coffeyville, Kansas ... tweeting "The only place 2 eat (in Coffeyville) is Sonic!!!!!! Rednecks lol."

Carter's father, former OSU and NFL star Cris Carter, also had problems early in his career with maturity. The elder Carter eventually grew out of it and became one of the most respected men in the NFL.

Hopefully for the younger Carter, the same will also happen.

But until then, Carter's departure should be viewed as an addition by subtraction.

— To discuss this story or any others involving Ohio State football, click here.

Thursday, June 24, 2010

TBT Q&A: WHO IS KENNY GUITON? HE'S A KID YOU WANT ON YOUR SIDE

(Photo of Ohio State quarterback Kenny Guiton, left, with coach Nick Siciliano
by The Buckeye Times/Darla Dunkle-Hudnell)

COLUMBUS — Two years ago when Ohio State completed their recruiting class by signing a skinny quarterback from Eisenhower High School in Houston, Texas, casual and die-hard Buckeye fans alike seemed to ask the same question: Who is Kenny Guiton?

Today most OSU fans could probably tell you that Guiton is a backup quarterback to Heisman Trophy hopeful Terrelle Pryor. They might even be able to add that he wears No.13 and had a very impressive spring game, rallying his team in the fourth quarter and throwing the game-winning touchdown pass.

But the question that perplexed the Buckeye faithful two years ago still remains: Who is Kenny Guiton?

The Buckeye Times staff writer Joshua Stueve sat down with Guiton recently at a local eatery in the shadow of Ohio Stadium.

Guiton, clad head to toe in scarlet and gray, turned a few heads when he walked in and sat down. His smile is bright and his eyes lock onto yours as he speaks or listens.

The kid is absolutely impressive; As an athlete, as a student, and most importantly as a young man. He is well spoken, eternally optimistic, and ferociously competitive. Just the kind of guy you want on your side.

(Below is the complete transcript of the Guiton interview)

The Buckeye Times: First of all, how does a kid from the heart of Texas end up at Ohio State? You had to be a Texas fan growing up, right?
Guiton: [Smiles] Definitely. I loved Vince Young as a kid, so I was always a Texas fan. But, Ohio State offered me a great opportunity and I’m so happy things have worked out the way they have.

(left, photo of Guiton by The Buckeye Times/Darla Dunkle-Hudnell)

The Buckeye Times: Word on the street is you were a pretty good basketball player in high school. How did you decide on football over basketball?
Guiton: I love basketball and played on my high school team at Eisenhower. I was a point guard and had a lot of fun with it, but somehow I just knew that football was going to help me make it. My Dad was the football coach at my high school, so I grew up being the ball boy for my high school team and have been around football all of my life. I started out as a receiver playing flag-football and my first year of tackle I was a center, a defensive tackle and a defensive end. I ended up switching leagues the next year and I’ve been playing quarterback ever since.

The Buckeye Times: Any particular games you played as a kid stick out in your mind?
Guiton: [Scratches his head] I remember when I was a kid playing for the Raiders. The year before the team wasn’t very good, but my first season with them we went to the Super Bowl. We were on the 47 yard line and the coach called a quarterback sweep. I got the snap, started running to the edge and a corner comes up. I shake him and I’m gone down the sideline. I think I’m gone and I’m going to score. Then the same corner I shook catches me from behind at the 3 yard line. We lost that game 6-0.

The Buckeye Times: Did you slow up?
Guiton: I didn’t slow up. The kid was just real fast. Matter of fact I knew him all through high school and played against him. He was real fast. I still have that on video to this day. The next two years we won the Super Bowl, so that kind of made up for it.

The Buckeye Times: When did you take over the starting quarterback job at Eisenhower?
Guiton: It was the fifth game into my sophomore year. We were playing Andrew Luck’s team, the quarterback for Stanford. Our starter got hurt on the second play. It was a big rivalry game and even though we lost by a touchdown, I had a decent game. I started for the rest of that season and for the next two years.

The Buckeye Times: How did you do during your junior and senior seasons?
Guiton: My junior year was my best. Our team had a lot fun. I led us to the playoffs and we lost to Russell Shepard’s team, the quarterback for LSU. We lost to them in the second round of the playoffs at the 1 yard line. That was a heartbreaker. The next year we had another good season and lost in the second round again.

The Buckeye Times: When did the recruiting process start for you?
Guiton: I don’t remember exactly when I got my first letter, but my first offer came the spring of my junior year from Kansas. After I got it I called the coach and set up an unofficial visit. I went up for their spring game and loved it. The game got snowed out but they showed us around campus and everything. I loved it up there.

The Buckeye Times: Kansas had a pretty good run going at that time, didn’t they?
Guiton: Yeah, they did. They had a real good run. Todd Reesing was at quarterback and they were running that big spread offense, which was the same offense I ran in high school. I thought I matched up with them well.

The Buckeye Times: As a football coach, how did your Dad feel about Kansas?
Guiton: He liked it a lot. But he always told me that it was my decision about what college to go to. He left it up to me, but he made sure he was with me on all of my visits to make sure everything was right for me.

The Buckeye Times: How did your parents feel about you not playing close to home?
Guiton: They didn’t mind it. They just wanted to make sure that I was happy with my decision. When my Mom dropped me off here in Columbus she cried, but that was about the only time it was hard. My Mom and I are very close. We talk everyday and whenever I go home I spend a lot of time with my Mom and my Dad.

The Buckeye Times: Was there a time when you were close to committing?
Guiton: Yeah. As a matter of fact I was very close to committing to Kansas and after a while the head coach told me other people had committed and they were out of scholarships. So then I got a little deeper into the process and got to Rice University, and I tried to set up official there. But, at the last minute they had a transfer come in and they gave the scholarship to him. Next I went to Iowa State for an official and I loved it up there. But I didn’t commit.

The Buckeye Times: Why not? You like the program, the coaches, and the academics. Why wait?
Guiton: To tell you the truth, at the time when my offers were coming, they were coming a lot at once. I think overall I ended up with like nine offers or something like that. Five of them came like back to back, so I didn’t know who else was going to offer. Some time passed and no one else offered and some of the offers I did have were gone, like Kansas and Rice. So here I was at the end of the recruiting process and I’m just trying to get into any college. Basically, I waited too long. When Ohio State came in I was actually talking to Prairie View A&M.

The Buckeye Times: Really?
Guiton: [smiles] Yeah. I was talking to them, also to Houston to be an athlete, and to Wyoming. And at the time it was actually looking like I was going to commit to Prairie View. The coaches were nice and it was about 45 minutes away from home. So I could drive back and forth to practice and class, which was a big positive for me. And I was going to get a chance to come in and compete right away.

The Buckeye Times: How did you feel at that moment in your recruitment? Did you feel like you missed out on some good opportunities because you waited too long?
Guiton: Oh yeah, for sure. I felt like I missed out because my initial love was Kansas. They were my first offer and you always love your first offer. I was in love with Kansas. Matter of fact one of my receivers at Eisenhower went on an official the weekend after I did. He ended up at Oklahoma, but I think if I would have committed there he might have too. But, it didn’t work out that way. God had other plans for us.

The Buckeye Times: So you’re close to committing to Prairie View A&M. It’s close to home and looks good. How does Ohio State come into the picture? Was there any previous contact at all?
Guiton: I had no previous contact at all with Ohio State. Matter of fact, the day they came to my school I was sick. Coach (John) Peterson was there and my receiver Greg Timmons, who is now at Texas, called me and said Ohio State is here to see you. You know we joke around a lot, so I’m like, ‘Man why you calling me with this mess? You know I’m sick.’ So I hung up on him [laughs]. But he called me right back and said they were really there to see me. So I hurried up and got dressed. I lived like 15 minutes from the school but I think I got there in like 5 minutes. I was real excited.

The Buckeye Times: How did the conversation go with Coach Peterson?
Guiton: He was real straight up with me. He said they had some guys commit elsewhere and that they had my film along with two other guys. He said Coach (Jim) Tressel was going to watch film that night and they were going to make a decision about an offer soon. I just didn’t know the offer would come the next day.

The Buckeye Times: It came the next day?
Guiton: Yeah. Coach Peterson called me and let me know they were offering, then Coach Tressel called me that night. That Saturday I went on a visit to Ohio State and I committed in Coach Tressel’s office before I left.

The Buckeye Times: Did knowing that Terrelle Pryor was entrenched as the starter as a freshmen factor into your decision, as far as playing time goes?
Guiton: It did. But I believe if you come in everyday and work hard, study hard, and take care of what you’re supposed to, everything will work out. Besides, I love competition. It only makes you better.

The Buckeye Times: You redshirted last year and ran the scout team. What was that like?
Guiton: I loved it, to be honest. I got to go against our first and second team defense everyday in practice, so I benefited from that. I got to act like Jeremiah Masoli from Oregon before the Rose Bowl. Give the defense looks they were likely to see in the game.

The Buckeye Times: With a year in the program under your belt, you are currently in a fight for the second string quarterback job. The seniors drafted you ahead of teammate Joe Bauserman during the spring game draft. What did you think about that?
Guiton: I was happy that they had trust in me that I could win the game. I try not to worry about stuff like who is number two and who is number three. I just go out and play hard and try to do the right thing.

The Buckeye Times: You had a fantastic spring game, and your stats were much better than the other players you are competing with for the second string spot. But if there were a game tomorrow, and Pryor gets hurt, I keep hearing that Bauserman is the guy. How does that make you feel?
Guiton: It’s a little frustrating. But all I can do is give everything I’ve got every time I get on the field. I’ve been working hard in the film room, and really focusing on my conditioning in the weight room. When I got here I was 170 lbs, and now I am up to 190 lbs. I just keep working hard, and the other stuff will work out.

The Buckeye Times: Speaking of playing time, you are now two classes behind Pryor who is clearly the starter. So that opens up some room. But, Ohio State has also recently received a verbal commitment from one of the top high school quarterbacks in the nation (Braxton Miller). Have you thought about your playing time and would you ever consider transferring?
Guiton: I have no plans to transfer. I believe in myself and my abilities, and like I said before, if I come in and do what I know I can do, I’ll be right in the mix for playing time. So, I try not to think negatively about things like that. I can’t control what anyone else does, I can only control myself.
-- At the end of each interview The Buckeye Times asks ten questions which require a quick response, asking the player to say the first thing that comes to their mind. The following are Kenny Guiton's answers:
1. Who was your childhood sports idol? Vince Young
2. One word that describes Ohio State is ... Terrific
3. One word that describes Ohio State football fans is ... Fanatics
4. Who is the funniest guy on the team? Soloman Thomas
5. Who is the scariest guy on the team? Devon Torrence
6. Who is the fastest guy on the team? Terrelle Pryor or James Jackson
7. Who is the slowest guy on the team? Maybe me
8. Who does the best impersonation of a coach? Orhian Johnson
9. Who has a weird talent and what is it? James Hastings can beatbox
10. When I leave Ohio State I want to be remembered as ... A Heisman Trophy winner and fan favorite

— To discuss this story or any others involving Ohio State football, click here.

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

FIVE FRESHMEN WHO COULD MAKE SOME NOISE ... THIS SEASON

It seems that no matter how deep the Ohio State roster is each year, there are always at least a handful of true freshmen who make immediate impacts on the football field.

Look at last season for instance, offensive tackle Marcus Hall, defensive tackle John Simon, tailback Jordan Hall, wide receiver Duron Carter and fullbacks Zach Boren and Adam Homan, all made immediate contributions to the team during their first season in Columbus.

In 2008, quarterback Terrelle Pryor, center Michael Brewster and receiver DeVier Posey were the freshmen difference makers for the Buckeyes. And of course, we can't forget about running back Maurice Clarett's sensational play during his freshman campaign in 2002, when Ohio State brought home the national championship.

Now even though the Buckeyes seem to be set at most positions both offensively and defensively, there are a few freshmen who may elude the red-shirt and become instant impacts this season.

Here are five players who could just pull it off ...

CHRISTIAN BRYANT, CB (Glenville/Cleveland)(Pictured above) The starting cornerbacks this season at Ohio State are set, barring injury. Seniors Chimdi Chekwa and Devon Torrence have both positions locked down, but it shouldn't keep the ultra-athletic Bryant from seeing playing time this fall.

Sure, Bryant (5-11, 180) doesn't have the prototypical size you look for in a shutdown cornerback, but he has the athleticism and physical nature to do the trick.

"He is a tremendous athlete and brings another physical presence for us," OSU cornerbacks coach Taver Johnson said of Bryant, after he signed with the Buckeyes in February. "I'll tell you what, he has a lot of pop when he comes up to strike opponents."

Bryant played all over the field during his high school career at Glenville, including quarterback, receiver, running back, defensive back and return specialist. Bryant's freakish abilities helped lead the Tarblooders to a state title appearance this past season.

Not only is Bryant a stellar athlete, he possesses an incredible football IQ, as well.

"We are very excited about this young man," Johnson said. "He brings a wealth of knowledge and does a great job in the classroom learning the game.

"He's a student of the game."

Bryant may not crack into the two-deep at cornerback this season, but he will certainly be on the field somewhere. That's a guarantee.

VERLON REED, ATH. (Marion-Franklin/Columbus) — Much like Bryant, Reed was Mr. Everything during his high school career.

Reed (6-2, 190) played mostly quarterback for Marion-Franklin, but he also got some playing time at wide receiver, defensive back and as a returner.

Relatively unknown amongst national recruiting analysts, Reed has burst onto the scene in recent months, making a name for himself in high school all-star games. After winning the Most Valuable Player award in the Ohio North-South Classic in April, Reed turned around this past Saturday and took home MVP honors in the Big 33 Football Classic.

Reed showed the world that he can do anything on a football field.

The only question is now, where will he play at for the Buckeyes this fall?

"Verlon Reed is someone we're really excited about," OSU safeties coach Paul Haynes said. "He's a local kid from Marion-Franklin. We consider Verlon as an 'athlete.' Verlon can do a lot of different things, as he did for Marion-Franklin.

"He played quarterback for them, played some receiver and also played DB for them. We kind of feel that Verlon can fit any of those spots for us. So we're going to move Verlon around and see where he fits. Wherever he fits is where we're going to keep him.

"We expect a lot of things out of Verlon."

As do I.

JAMES LOUIS, WR (Atlantic/Delray Beach, FL.) — Not only do I see Louis getting some playing time this fall, I think he could end up being the Buckeyes No. 3 wide receiver.

Louis (5-11, 180) has abilities well beyond his years, and could really take advantage of the departure of last year's No.3 receiver, Duron Carter, who transferred on Monday.

Again, a lot like Bryant and Reed, Louis is a pure athlete. The only difference is, he's also a pure wide receiver. He is the total package and could become a major weapon immediately in the Buckeyes offense.

"James is really explosive," OSU assistant head coach/receivers coach Darrell Hazell said. "Has great hands, great quickness, gets off the jam. He's a little further advanced than a lot of receivers that are coming in, in terms of years past. He loves the game and has a great personality.

"He's just a really explosive guy."

The Buckeyes have a solid 1-2 punch in veteran receivers DeVier Posey and Dane Sanzenbacher. But they have lacked that "explosive" element on the edges.

Ladies and gentlemen ... Louis is that missing ingredient.

JOHNATHAN HANKINS, DT (Southeastern/Detroit) — Try telling a 6-foot-3, 315-pound man that he's going to be riding the pine this fall. Yeah, I don't think that's too wise.

Although the Buckeyes have quality on the interior defensive line in sophomore John Simon and senior Dexter Larimore, they still lack that big 300-pound run-plugger in the middle. Hankins definitely fills that role.

"Big Hank is a big guy," OSU defensive coordinator Jim Heacock said of Hankins. "Each year we want to bring in some big guys inside and Johnathan Hankins fits the bill. Hank's a great kid, he's a fun loving guy. But he's an intense guy who has a great passion for the game.

"I'm really looking forward to coaching him and getting him ready to play and be a physical force inside.

"He's a good man, you're going to like him."

SCOTT MCVEY, LB (St. Ignatius/Cleveland) — Now I know it sounds crazy to imagine a freshman coming in and getting on the field at linebacker for Ohio State this season.

But if anyone could, McVey is the man who can do it.

McVey (6-0, 225) has the speed and instincts to play against the run or in coverage. Can you say "star" position? McVey showed great explosiveness as a pass rusher, as well, something that will definitely get you on the field in Columbus.

"You can see the explosion coming off the edge," Johnson said of McVey's pass rushing skills. "He's an exciting player, a no nonsense type of guy."

The only knock on McVey is his size. According to Johnson, that means little to the Buckeyes.

"Brian Rolle is like 5-11," Johnson said. "We'll take those guys who are explosive, mean and can take your head off."

McVey, who Johnson compares to senior outside linebacker Ross Homan, has too much all around game to be on the sidelines for long.

"We definitely want that guy somewhere on the field," Johnson said.

— To discuss this story or any others involving Ohio State football, click here.

WEDNESDAY AROUND THE WEB ...

(Photo of Duron Carter
by The Buckeye Times/Darla Dunkle-Hudnell)

Here's some news and notes from around the web ...

— Former Ohio State and NFL star, Cris Carter, told the Columbus Dispatch that his son, Duron Carter — who transferred from Ohio State to Coffeyville (Kan.) Community College — still intends on being a Buckeye in the future.

"We're Buckeyes, man," Carter said. "He will get re-recruited, but right now Duron's family's plan is for him to re-enroll at Ohio State next June."

To read the complete story, click here.

— Stewart Mandel of Sports Illustrated talks about divisional alignment of the new Big Ten, and offers some of the conference match-ups that must remain in place on an annual basis.

"Must be preserved at all costs: Ohio State Michigan, Michigan-Michigan State, Indiana-Purdue (Old Oaken Bucket), Iowa-Minnesota (Floyd of Rosedale) and Wisconsin-Minnesota (Paul Bunyan's Ax)."

To read the complete story, click here.

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

INCOMING FRESHMAN LOOKS A LOT LIKE ANOTHER BUCKEYE STAR

COLUMBUS — Following Monday's announcement that sophomore wide receiver Duron Carter would be leaving Ohio State to play at Coffeyville (Kan.) Community College, many Buckeye fans were left asking, "who will be the team's No. 3 pass catcher this season?"

Well, the answer may come in the form of another product from the state of Florida — and no, Santonio Holmes isn't coming back for his final year of eligibility.

But ... the Buckeyes may just be getting the next best thing.

James Louis, an incoming freshman from Delray Beach (FL) Atlantic High School, may have Ohio State fans forgetting about the loss of Carter this season. In fact, according to OSU assistant head coach/wide receivers coach Darrell Hazell, Louis is closest thing the Buckeyes have had at the position since Holmes.

"He's probably most like Santonio coming out of high school," Hazell said during signing day in February. "Probably a little bit faster, same type of ball skills, toughness, quickness, loves the game. Same things as Santonio was (coming in)."

That is a very lofty comparison.

Holmes, who was also a huge prospect out of Florida in 2002, recorded 140 receptions for 2,295 yards and 25 touchdowns in just three seasons in Columbus. And Hazell is saying that this year's potential No. 3 receiver has the same type of game?

Well, after watching tape on Louis, Hazell is absolutely correct — the similarities jump off the screen (To see tape of Louis, click here). Louis has the same physical build coming in (5-11, 180) as Holmes did, and appears to have the same type of abilities and movement as the Super Bowl XLIII MVP, as well.

However, Louis is scary athletic, even more so than Holmes.

"He's got some ups," Hazell said, referring to his recorded Louis' near 40-inch vertical jump.

Louis also has blazing speed (4.4), something that's been missing out on the edges in Columbus for the past few seasons.

"Explosive" is the word most commonly used when Hazell offers a scouting report of Louis.

"James is really explosive," Hazell said. "Has great hands, great quickness, gets off the jam. He's a little further advanced than a lot of receivers that are coming in, in terms of years past. He loves the game and has a great personality.

"He's just a really explosive guy."

Although Louis committed to the Buckeyes prior to his senior season last July, it didn't prevent some of the major programs, especially in the south, from checking out the Florida star.

Southern powers such as Florida, Alabama, Georgia, LSU and Mississippi all offered Louis to come play receiver for their respective programs. All of the attention had many Buckeye fans shaking in their shoes.

Louis, on the other hand, never quivered about his commitment to the Buckeyes.

"It's always a battle (to recruit) out of state," Hazell said. "It's a continual battle. But he stayed strong throughout the battle. He communicated with us very well throughout the battle."

As you can see, Hazell referred to Louis' recruitment as a "battle." And indeed it was.

It is quite difficult to convince a player to leave the sun and mild temperatures of the south, for the snow and bitter cold of the north.

But in the end, just like Holmes in 2002, Louis decided to leave the surf of Florida for the frozen turf of Ohio.

Hopefully for the Buckeyes, Louis' decision will pay off huge dividends just like Holmes' did.

Maybe even as soon as this fall.

— To discuss this story or any others involving Ohio State football, click here.

Monday, June 21, 2010

VEGAS TABS PRYOR AS ONE OF THE FAVORITES TO WIN HEISMAN IN 2010

(Photo of Terrelle Pryor by The Buckeye Times/Darla Dunkle-Hudnell)

What are the chances that Ohio State lands its eighth Heisman Trophy this December? According to the Las Vegas oddsmakers, the answer is +550 (5 1/2 to 1).

Vegas has tabbed Ohio State junior quarterback Terrelle Pryor as a top two contender for the prestigious trophy, which is awarded to the nation's best collegiate football player. The Buckeyes signal caller is listed only behind last year's winner, Alabama running back Mark Ingram (+380).

Washington's Jake Locker (+800), Arkansas' Ryan Mallett (+1200) and West Virginia's Noel Devine (1400) round out Vegas' top five contenders.

Pryor, who is coming off a stellar ending to his sophomore season, where he won MVP honors in the Buckeyes' 26-17 Rose Bowl victory over Oregon, is getting plenty of Heisman talk all around the country.

In fact, Phil Steele, publisher and author of Phil Steele's College Football Preview, listed Pryor as his favorite to win the trophy in this season's publication.

Ohio State players who have won the Heisman Trophy: Les Horvath (1944), Vic Janowicz (1950), Howard Cassady (1955), Archie Griffin (1974-1975), Eddie George (1995) and Troy Smith (2006).

Only Notre Dame and USC have as many winners as the Buckeyes.

THE KILLER B's ON OUTLAND WATCH LIST — Senior guards Justin Boren and Bryant Browning, as well as junior center Michael Brewster, have been named to the 2010 Outland Trophy Watch List, the Football Writers Association of America (FWAA) announced on Monday.

The Outland Trophy is awarded to the nation's best interior lineman.

MORE TROPHY TALK — The FWAA also announced on Monday that Ohio State senior defensive end Cameron Heyward and senior linebacker Ross Homan, are among 70 college football players who have made the 2010 Bronko Nagurski Trophy Watch List.

The trophy is awarded by the FWAA and the Charlotte Touchdown Club to the country's best defensive player.

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CARTER, WELLS OUT AT OHIO STATE

(Photo of Duron Carter, left, and Cris Carter, right,
by The Buckeye Times/Darla Dunkle-Hudnell)

COLUMBUS — Ohio State sophomore wide receiver, Duron Carter, is no longer a member of the football team, and will play at Coffeyville (Kan.) Community College instead this fall. Linebacker Keith Wells is also leaving the Buckeyes, according to OSU head coach Jim Tressel.

It had been rumored in the past few days that Carter — who missed January's Rose Bowl win over Oregon, as well as all of spring practice in April because of academic issues — cleaned out his room and left campus recently with his father, former OSU and NFL star, Cris Carter.

Well, the rumors were proven correct, as Carter — who goes by Mr_Dcarter9 on his Twitter account — tweeted late Sunday night that "Yes the rumors are true."

Carter also tweeted just hours ago that "I messed up!!! But Ima fix everything and be back!"

The 6-foot-3, 200-pound receiver may return to the Buckeyes — or another Division I school — in 2011 if he can regain proper academic status.

Carter caught 13 passes for 176 yards and a touchdown last season as a true freshman.

It was announced on Monday that Wells will also be leaving the Buckeyes. There is no word, as of yet, where he intends to enroll.

Wells, a native of Gainesville, Ga., was a big recruiting pickup for the Buckeyes back in 2008. Unfortunately, because of injury and quality personnel ahead of him on the depth chart, Wells was never able to break into the defensive line rotation at Ohio State.

Wells never recorded a tackle for the Buckeyes in his career.

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TURNER NOW IN STABLE CONDITION

YOUNGSTOWN — Ohio State 2010 recruit Jamel Turner, who was shot multiple times in Youngstown early Saturday morning, has been upgraded to critical, but stable condition.

(left, photo of Jamel Turner)

Turner is currently at St. Elizabeth Health Center in Youngstown. His family has requested that no more information be released about his medical issues at this time.

Turner played football at Fork Union (Va.) Military Academy in 2009, after being ruled ineligible to participate in athletics at Ursuline High School following his junior season.

It is unknown whether Turner was going to be eligible to enroll at Ohio State this season.

Buckeyes head coach Jim Tressel, who has been quiet about Turner's status with the team in recent months, did issue a statement about the shooting on Saturday.

"I'm so sad to hear of Jamel's misfortune," Tressel said. "I have not communicated with Jamel, but am certainly praying for him at this time."

This is the second time in the past two months that Turner has been the victim of a shooting. In April, Turner was shot twice when a car pulled along side the automobile he was riding in and opened fire, catching the Buckeye recruit in the ankle and hip. The injuries that were not serious.

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Saturday, June 19, 2010

OSU SIGNEE REED MAKES HIS MARK ON BIG 33 FOOTBALL CLASSIC

HERSHEY, Pa. — Ohio won its second straight Big 33 Football Classic on Saturday night in Hershey (Pa.), defeating the Pennsylvania squad, 18-15, led by a dynamic pair of future Buckeyes.

(left, photo of Verlon Reed)

Verlon Reed, an Ohio State signee from Marion-Franklin in Columbus, dazzled the crowd on hand at Hershey Park Stadium by showcasing a wide range of skills, which saw him playing at both quarterback and wide receiver, as well as in the defensive backfield.

Reed accounted for 115 total yards in the win, including a show-stopping 74-yard touchdown run on a QB keeper in the third quarter, which seemed to get the Ohio offense motoring after looking so very dismal early on.

The humble Reed didn't take much credit, though, for the incredible scamper, lumping all of the praise on his Ohio teammates.

"That was my teammates helping out there," Reed said of the TD scamper. "I tried not to think about it because then you start thinking and you can make a mistake or do something out of character. I just wanted to finish the run."

Reed was named the game's Most Valuable Player.

But, of course, he wasn't the only future Buckeye who shined Saturday night.

Cleveland Glenville's Christian Bryant, much like Reed, was all over the field Saturday night, playing wide receiver, cornerback and kick returner for the Ohioans. Defensively, Bryant was as advertised, shutting down the Pennsylvania receivers all game long with his physical, ultra-athletic play. But where the former Tarblooder made his imprint on the game was on the other side of the football — and during the game's most critical point.

With 1:04 remaining in the contest, and Ohio trailing by five, Bryant received a pass out in the right flats and put on the burners, racing 17 yards to paydirt for the game-winning score.

Bryant showed Ohio State coaches that not only can he be a shutdown corner on defense, but he can be that dynamic playmaker on out on the edges that the Buckeyes have been searching for since Ted Ginn Jr. left in 2006. Bryant hauled in six receptions in the win for 50 yards.

As great as Bryant was, the night was all about Reed. Of course, you would never know it hearing him talk about it.

"I thought Christian Bryant actually won the MVP," Reed said humbly.

Sorry Verlon, but this was your coming out party of sorts. Sure, he was also the MVP of the Ohio North-South Classic in April, but this game was nationally televised.

Believe it or not, the Marion-Franklin product was relatively unknown on the 2010 national recruiting scene.

But no matter what his national status was, or is now, it was quite apparent on Saturday night that Reed has that "it" factor.

According to OSU safties coach Paul Haynes, the Buckeyes are tabbing Reed as an "athlete."

"Verlon Reed is someone we're really excited about," Haynes said on signing day in February. "He's a local kid from Marion-Franklin. We consider Verlon as an 'athlete.' Verlon can do a lot of different things, as he did for Marion-Franklin.

"He played quarterback for them, played some receiver and also played DB for them. We kind of feel that Verlon can fit any of those spots for us. So we're going to move Verlon around and see where he fits. Wherever he fits is where we're going to keep him.

"We expect a lot of things out of Verlon."

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OSU COMMIT IN CRITICAL CONDITION AFTER BEING SHOT MULTIPLE TIMES

YOUNGSTOWN — Ohio State class of 2010 commit, defensive end/linebacker Jamel Turner (Ursuline/Youngstown), is currently in critical condition at St. Elizabeth Health Center in Youngstown, after being shot multiple times early Saturday morning.

Turner, who played football at Fork Union (Va.) Military Academy in 2009, after being ruled ineligible to participate in athletics at Ursuline High School following his junior football season, was visiting a female friend — 17-year old Tracy Banks — on Saturday morning, when a man who is believed to have been an ex-boyfriend of Banks, entered the home and shot both she and Turner multiple times.

Banks was pronounced dead when police arrived on the scene.

Ohio State head coach Jim Tressel issued the following statement ...

"I'm so sad to hear of Jamel's misfortune," Tressel said. "I have not communicated with Jamel, but am certainly praying for him at this time."

This is the second time in the past two months that Turner has been the victim of a shooting. In April, Turner was shot twice when a car pulled along side the automobile he was riding in and opened fire, catching the Buckeye recruit in the ankle and hip. The injuries that were not serious.

However, this time the injuries are being reported as life threatening.

More to come ...

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FOUR BUCKEYES WILL BE IN ACTION DURING TONIGHT'S BIG 33 CLASSIC

HERSHEY, Pa. — When the 53rd annual Big 33 Football Classic gets underway tonight in Hershey (Pa.), Ohio State fans will get an opportunity to see four future Buckeyes in action.

OSU class of 2010 signees, Christian Bryant (CB, Glenville/Cleveland), Verlon Reed (QB, S, Marion-Franklin/Columbus), J.T. Moore (DE, Boardman/Youngstown) and Darryl Baldwin (DE, Solon), will all represent the Buckeyes on the Ohio squad tonight, as they go up against a team of all stars from Pennsylvania.

Ohio defeated Pennsylvania 38-31 during last year's showdown.

The Big 33 classic has been one of the best showcases of high school talent for the past several decades. Pro Football Hall of Famers, Joe Montana, Joe Namath, Dan Marino, Tony Dorsett and Jim Kelly have all participated in this prestigious interstate tilt. Of course, the most memorable Big 33 alumnus for Buckeye fans would be two-time Heisman Trophy winning running back, Archie Griffin.

Kickoff for the Big 33 Football Classic is set for tonight at 7 p.m. and can be seen on the NFL Network.

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Thursday, June 17, 2010

BUCKEYES SNAG MASSILLON WR SMITH AS THEIR 15TH COMMIT OF 2011

Ohio State wasn't able to land Georgia star linebacker James Vaughters today, but it didn't prevent the Buckeyes from landing their 15th commitment from the class of 2011.

Devin Smith, a wide receiver from Massillon Washington (Oh.), gave OSU head coach Jim Tressel the good news today, stating that he has made Columbus his collegiate destination.

The 6-1, 175 pound pass catcher selected the Buckeyes over Notre Dame, Nebraska, Michigan and Michigan State, just to name a few.

Smith is the second wide receiver to commit to the Buckeyes since landing the top quarterback in the country, Huber Heights (Oh.) Wayne's Braxton Miller, back on June 3.

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TYLER MOELLER CLEARED MEDICALLY

(Photo of Tyler Moeller by The Buckeye Times/Darla Dunkle-Hudnell)

COLUMBUS — Ohio State senior defensive back, Tyler Moeller, has been cleared medically to play football again for the Buckeyes, according to a spokesperson in the university's athletic office.

Moeller suffered a major head injury last July in Florida while on vacation with his family, after being punched from behind and striking his head on the floor of a bar he and relatives were visiting.

Moeller would miss the entire 2009 season because of complications from the assault. In fact, the complications were so devastating that the OSU coaching staff wasn't sure if Moeller would ever play football again.

Well, on Thursday, the Buckeyes received news from Moeller's family physician that he is now cleared for full contact.

Moeller participated in drills during the Buckeyes' spring camp in April, but did it while donning a non-contact blue jersey. He wasn't cleared to play in the spring game, either.

However, the former Cincinnati Colerain star looked sharp in scrimmage drills and displayed the quickness and instinctive play that the Buckeyes' coaching staff have been salivating over for the past couple years. Moeller will compete for a starting safety spot this fall, along with Orhian Johnson and Jermale Hines — the two players who ran with the first team during spring camp.

Moeller is also the favorite to play the nickel spot — or as the Buckeyes call it the "star" position — which should showcase the senior's athleticism and tenacity against both the pass and the run. He is also an excellent pass rusher, who can play outside linebacker if needed.

Listed as a senior on the roster, Moeller will seek a medical redshirt from the NCAA, which will give him a sixth year of eligibility in 2011.

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STANFORD IS WHERE VAUGHTERS WILL PLAY HIS COLLEGE FOOTBALL

(Photo of James Vaughters by The Buckeye Times/Josh Spanks)

Story by The Buckeye Times contributor, Brent Van Fleet II
TUCKER, Ga. — Tucker High School (Ga.) star linebacker, James Vaughters, announced on Thursday morning that he will play his college football at Stanford University.

With his parents behind him, Vaughters stood and praised his final five collegiate choices, before selecting to play for the Cardinal.

"I would like to acknowledge with great appreciation, all of the schools that made my final list," Vaughters began. "The University of Georgia, Georgia Tech, University of Alabama, Stanford University and Ohio State University."

He took time to explain what intrigued him the most about his final five choices and then he made the final decision.

"With the great selection of schools, it has been a difficult decision," Vaughters said. "But in the fall semester of 2011, I will be attending Stanford."

The Rock Hard Fitness Center in his hometown of Tucker, where the announcement took place, became filled with cheers and excessive applause from the fans who were in attendance.

The four-star linebacker, according to Scout.com, had Stanford and Ohio State as his top two choices. But according to Vaughters, there was one major difference ... Academics.

"I want that academic rigor and I can find that at Stanford," Vaughters said.

Vaughters stated that his decision was more about the long term.

"I am not guaranteed to be in the NFL, so I had to pick what was best for my future," Vaughters said.

Vaughters, who was being recruited by some of the best programs in the country, stated that Stanford became more of a possibilty after he spoke with Alabama head coach, Nick Saban.

Saban told Vaughters that education throughout public schools are relatively the same, but if he wanted that top education, a private school like Stanford would provide that type of academic rigor he was searching for.

Many felt that Ohio State was the favorite to gain the services of Vaughters, but of course, that sentiment would be proven incorrect on Thursday morning.

However, the star linebacker had nothing but positive things to say about Buckeyes' head coach Jim Tressel and the Ohio State University as a whole.

"He's the most stable coach in the NCAA," Vaughters said of Tressel. "I really admire what he stands for."

On top of that, Vaughters was highly impressed with the ability Ohio State has on grooming linebackers into NFL prospects.

He also got to experience the atmosphere that is Ohio State football. Everything from "Script Ohio" to the intimidating and fierce fans inside the "Horseshoe."

"I got to go to probably the most intense game, Ohio State and USC. It was crazy," Vaughters said. "Out of all the schools I visited, I enjoyed the Ohio State experience the best out of all of them."

Vaughters stated that early on, he was an Ohio State fan and could've easily seen himself playing for the scarlet and gray in the 2011 season. He said that it was like a second home, due to the great amount of family he has in Ohio.

Vaughters also liked the dominance the Buckeyes have had in the Big Ten, along with being a perennial national championship contender.

It was simply his academic aspirations which ultimately led him to Palo Alto.

"I am happy about my decision," Vaughters said. "Now I can focus on this season (at Tucker)."

"To win that state championship!" Vaughters' father proclaimed.

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Monday, June 14, 2010

MILLER IS THE 56TH BEST PLAYER IN THE NATION? REALLY? SERIOUSLY?

I don't like to call out other college football writers or publications for having an opinion that differs from my own or steers away from the majority.

If I did like it, I could have a separate publication fully dedicated to bashing others. But that's not my style.

However, there comes a time when an opposing opinion seems so off base that I am forced to call it into question. This brings me to Rivals.com and their new "2011 Rivals 100" prospect rankings.

Sure, they have some of the usual suspects at the top, but what I can't seem to wrap my mind around is how they have all-American quarterback Braxton Miller (Wayne/Huber Heights, Oh.) rated as the 56th best player in the country. A four star (out of five) nonetheless.

During a recent chat, Rivals' Greg Ladky gave an explanation as to why the highly touted Buckeye commit is rated so low in their rankings ...

''I know there was a lot of five-star talk about Braxton. We just don't think there is a five-star aspect of his skill set. He is a very good runner, and has an explosive arm, but neither at a five-star level in my opinion. He passed on an opportunity to prove us wrong at Columbus NIKE and Elite 11, so we'll check him out again this fall. Saw him twice in person last season, was impressed, but not five-star impressed.''

Really? Seriously?

So in essence, Ladky states that because Miller didn't show at their favorite camps, they decide to drop him well below the national consensus as punishment?

Am I the only one who thinks this is humorous — and a bit unprofessional?

Look, I'm not saying Miller needs to be ranked No. 1. Nor am I saying that Rivals has an agenda to pump up the players who attend their favorite (allegedly non-company sponsored) camps.

All I am saying to Rivals is, coaches such as Ohio State's Jim Tressel, Florida's Urban Meyer, Alabama's Nick Saban, Georgia's Mark Richt and Notre Dame's Brian Kelly (among others) don't beat down a recruit's door, fly across the country to visit or blow up the recruit's cell phone because he's the 56th best player in the country. Or a four-star recruit.

Again, just saying ...

VAUGHTERS TO DECIDE ON THURSDAY — Star linebacker James Vaughters' commitment press conference is officially this Thursday at 11 a.m. in his hometown of Tucker, Georgia, just east of Atlanta.

The Tucker high school product will be holding his announcement ceremony at the Rock Hard Fitness Health Club.

Vaughters finalists are Ohio State, Stanford, Alabama, Georgia and Georgia Tech.

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Sunday, June 13, 2010

GEORGIA STAR'S DECISION THIS THURSDAY COULD IMPACT DEPRIEST

Tucker High School (Tucker, Ga.) star linebacker James Vaughters

When it comes to recruiting at Ohio State, right now all eyes are on Springfield's Trey DePriest, the nation's top middle linebacker in the class of 2011.

And for good reason, too.

(Left, photo of DePriest)

The 6-foot-2, 230-pound star would be a perfect fit for the Buckeyes linebacking corps., who will be losing current starting middle backer Brian Rolle to graduation after this season. DePriest is the type of player who could come in and start immediately, or at the very least get some major playing time as a freshman.

DePriest is also best friends with Huber Heights Wayne all-American quarterback, Braxton Miller, who gave the Buckeyes his commitment on June 3.

Miller even said that he'll be in DePriest's ear to come join him in Columbus.

"I'm going to be like, you know, you're an Ohio kid," Miller said following his commitment press conference on June 3 . "You want to be a national champion? Then come and stay with your boy, get a room with me and it'll be all good."

However, the reason why Buckeye fans are chomping on their nails like LeBron James during a timeout is the great interest DePriest has been showing in defending national champion Alabama. In fact, the Springfield product just spent quite a bit of time visiting the Tide down in Tuscaloosa this past week.

It certainly appears as if Alabama is currently the leader for his services.

This Thursday at 11 a.m., his decision could become more clear.

You may be asking, "So, is DePriest making an announce on Thursday at 11 a.m. or something?" No, but Tucker, Georgia star linebacker James Vaughters will be, and his choice could have a huge impact on DePriest's decision.

Vaughters, also a 6-foot-2, 230-pound middle backer, and also a major national recruit, announced that he will be making his collegiate choice this Thursday in his hometown. And you guessed it — Ohio State and Alabama are among his five finalists.

Georgia, Georgia Tech and Stanford are the others. Jim Harbaugh and Stanford could be the leader to land his services.

If Vaughters decides to come north and play for the Buckeyes, which many analysts think is a great possibility, DePriest may be 'Bama bound. If Vaughters would happen to go west to Tuscaloosa, DePriest may be a Buckeye. We'll soon see.

Of course, Vaughters could choose Georgia, Georgia Tech or Stanford and make this whole discussion moot.

Oh, isn't the recruiting season fun? Definitely stay tuned!

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Friday, June 11, 2010

IT'S OFFICIAL ... NEBRASKA IS THE 12TH MEMBER OF THE BIG TEN


LINCOLN, Neb. — Nebraska University is the 12th member of the Big Ten Conference.


On Friday, shortly after Nebraska announced that they would be applying for membership in the Big Ten, the conference's board of presidents and chancellors had a vote and approved the school's admission unanimously.


The Husker switch from the Big 12 to the Big 10 will begin in the summer of 2011.


"We are stronger today. Nebraska is an unbelievable program with an unbelievable legacy." Big Ten commissioner Jim Delany said on Friday.


Earlier this afternoon, Nebraska chancellor Harvey Perlman asked the school's board of regents to authorize their application for membership into the Big Ten.


"I will today ask you to authorize the University of Nebraska-Lincoln to apply for membership in the Big Ten Conference," Perlman said on Friday. "I'm optimistic that the Big Ten will take our application under good consideration and will be receptive to it.


"We would seek full academic and athletic integration with the current membership of the Big Ten."


The Board of Regents approved the request soon after.


Perlman stated that the university became interested last December when the Big Ten expressed interest at their conference meeting about the possibility of expansion. Perlman, as well as Nebraska AD Tom Osborne, put together a presentation to Big Ten officials not long ago and came away feeling that they measured up to what the conference was seeking in its new member.


"We reached out to our friends in the Big Ten in order to see what options we had," Perlman said. "We held informal discussions with representatives of the Big Ten, in which they described what they were looking for in new members, what culture, what competitive standing, what academic credentials, what they were thinking. Tom and I presented the picture for Nebraska, what our athletic program looked like, what our history is, our values, our traditions and what our academic side of the school looked like.


"I think both (Osborne) and I walked away from that meeting thinking that those things aligned pretty closely with what the Big Ten was looking for."


Perlman said that following their presentation with the Big Ten, they returned to the Big 12 meetings, where they were forced to make a decision on whether to stay in the conference or bolt to the Big Ten.


"We came to the Big 12 meetings about a week and a half ago in Kansas City," Perlman said. "Shortly prior to that meeting there were rumors in the press that the Pac 10 had made an offer to six schools in the Big 12 conference. In the meeting with the presidents of the Big 12, it was confirmed that discussions had been undertaken between the Pac 10 and representatives of many of the schools in the southern division of the Big 12.


"It was also suggested to me that they hoped to decide quickly to consider that option or not. But if Nebraska decided to stay in the Big 12, they would stay in the Big 12. The result of that was they gave all members of the Big 12 an ultimatum, 'affirm your commitment to the Big 12 or they would consider that option.'


"They wanted a commitment while we were there and I indicated that I can make no such commitment without consultation with the board of regents and the (NU) president."


Perlman felt that Nebraska was in a bad position with the possibility of six schools leaving for the Pac 10. He felt that because of where they were located and the lack of worthy prospects to fill in the vacant spots which would be left in the conference, Nebraska could've been the odd man out.


"As Tom Osborne and I looked at that, we thought Nebraska was in a very vulnerable position," Perlman said. "Our geography, we sit here with not a lot of options, nor a lot of schools to be added to the conference to bring it back to 12."


Perlman wanted to make it clear at the meeting on Friday that Nebraska is not responsible for the possible breakup of the Big 12.


"There's been much public discussion and posturing this week to make Nebraska responsible for the changes that have been made for the possible breakup of the Big 12 should it occur," Perlman said. "I do not believe that we bear that responsibility. One school leaving a conference does not destroy a conference ...


"Nebraska did not start this discussion."


The Nebraska chancellor stated that Missouri and Colorado were the first to speak of departing the Big 12, not the Huskers. In fact, Colorado announced on Thursday that they would be leaving the Big 12 to enter the Pac 10.


"Early on, after the Big Ten announced that it intended to consider expansion, we saw reports that officials at Missouri would make it clear that they would want to go to the Big Ten, including statements by their governor and I believe by members of their board of curators," Perlman said. "By their chancellor, at least, comments that were not clearly supportive of the Big 12.


"Colorado has always been mentioned as between the Pac 10 and the Big 12. They had made some comments and you can see by recent events that that was a risk to the Big 12, as it materialized."


It's unknown at this time whether the Big Ten will seek further expansion.


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GANT, SIKA DISPLAY WHAT IT MEANS TO BE A TRUE STUDENT-ATHLETE

COLUMBUS — Sometimes I think we forget that college football players are actually students first. Hence the label "student-athlete."

Two Ohio State senior football players, offensive lineman Scott Sika (Strongsville, Ohio) and safety Aaron Gant (Detroit, Michigan), will receive their degrees this Sunday during OSU Spring Commencement celebrations at Ohio Stadium.

Sika earned his degree in sport and leisure studies, while Grant received his in consumer services.

"It means a lot to me because there is a lot more to being a football player at Ohio State than on the field stuff," Sika said in a statement issued by the university Friday.

"Finishing in four years is pretty important to me and I'll be the fifth person in my family to graduate from here.

In a day and age where universities and athletes are being sanctioned by the NCAA for foul play and improper benefits (USC, Reggie Bush, etc ... ), I thought it was only right to recognize those who have actually lived up to their obligations as "student-athletes."

(Photo on the left, Aaron Gant, top, and Scott Sika, bottom)

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Wednesday, June 9, 2010

NEBRASKA TO THE BIG TEN? TRUE OR NOT, IT MAKES PERFECT SENSE

Nebraska to the Big Ten?

According to multiple reports, the Cornhuskers will announce on Friday — or maybe even sooner — that they will be leaving the Big 12 Conference to become the 12th member of the Big Ten.

Of course, the Big Ten Conference big whigs have insisted that they are not talking to any schools about expansion at the current time and have not extended any invitations for admission. But the fact is, Nebraska isn't going to leave the Big 12 unless they know where they're heading — definitively.

All indications are that the Cornhuskers are pretty certain that the Big Ten is their destination, whether they have been officially invited or not.

Now, when it comes to academics and athletics as a whole, I'll leave that judgement for those in the Big Ten office. But when it comes to football, Nebraska is a major catch.

The Cornhuskers have a winning tradition (five national titles), a rabid fan base and top flight facilities (Memorial Stadium, 81,000-plus capacity). And even more importantly, they are a perfect choice geographically — a midwestern school, but in uncharted territory.

Can you imagine the border war between the Huskers and Iowa? Or the pageantry of a Nebraska-Ohio State or a Nebraska-Michigan game? Talk about historic powers at battle, you just can't get much bigger than that trio. Sorry SEC!

We won't know for sure whether the talk of the Huskers entering the Big Ten is true until we actually hear official word from the university and the conference. But one thing is an absolute fact ...

The marriage between Nebraska and the Big Ten makes perfect sense.

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STEELE HAS PRYOR ATOP HIS 2010 PRESEASON ALL-BIG TEN TEAM

(Terrelle Pryor photo by The Buckeye Times/Darla Dunkle-Hudnell)

Phil Steele, one of the most respected names in the business when it comes to college football prognosticating, has issued his 2010 Preseason All-Big Ten team, as it appears in his annual College Football Preview magazine, which is out on newsstands now.

Steele named nine Ohio State players to his first team: Terrelle Pryor (QB), DeVier Posey (WR), Michael Brewster (C), Justin Boren (OG), Cameron Heyward (DL), Ross Homan (LB), Brian Rolle (LB), Chimdi Chekwa (CB) and Jermale Hines (FS).

Steele also listed Pryor in his publication as the Heisman Trophy front runner, ahead of defending winner Mark Ingram (RB) of Alabama.

He also predicted that Ohio State would begin the 2010 season as the No. 2 rated team in the country, just behind national champion Alabama.


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