Special thanks to Steve Spencer of The Columbus Dispatch for use of his "Mount Buckmore" artwork.

Saturday, February 9, 2008

Beady-eyed recruiting expert breaks new Pryor story


Recruiting gadfly Phil Fritz, the Milhouse Van Houten of recruiting experts, reports that Terrelle Pryor has taken Michigan and Oregon off his list--leaving Penn St. & Ohio St. as his only remaining suitors.

This much anticipated information brings to light a myriad of pressing questions:
  1. Who is Phil Fritz to report such topical and sought after information? Didn't Mike Farrell claim this territory awhile back?
  2. Where is this "list" Pryor and his cronies are always referencing?
  3. Does it actually exist or is it more of a "mental note?"
  4. If there is in fact a tangible list, has Terrelle made the effort to add, remove and then re-add schools like Oregon, Florida and Penn St. or has he been writing in invisible ink so that only Charlie Batch can see with the black light that he probably carries around.
  5. Or, is this list more of a work-in-progress, an abstract doodle that Terrelle works on nightly? Picture it: The prodigy's magnum opus, a stick-figure depiction of himself surrounded by hastily drawn images of each school's mascot (Penn St. = a cat; Ohio State = a circle within a larger circle; Oregon = a large dollar sign, etc.)

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When's the spring game?

Saturday, April 19, actually. The question is, will the national runner-up men's soccer team be the honorary coaches?

And, fret not, the NCAA requires Terrelle Pryor to nurture his tortured soul and have a decision ready by April 1st.

In the midst of recruiting scandals, sad and poorly conceived as well as just plain poorly conceived , Keith of Buckeye Commentary announced he is getting out of the game. The team at Eleven Warriors can speak to this at greater extent, though I too am a longtime fan of BC--it being my first source of biased Buckeye babble outside of the strict confines of The Dispatch. What I'm uncertain of is if BC will continue to operate, any info on that would be just terrific.

Meanwhile, Our Honor Defend, a new, highly insightful OSU blog, has been picking up the slack the past few days; putting closure to Signing Day.

But, for recruitniks and assistant coaches (Bollman pulling his weight) alike, the recruiting "season" never ends, as evidenced by the recent unveiling of the list of top '09 prospects. Note OSU's defensive commits John Simon (Cardinal Mooney) and Jordan Whiting (Louisville, KY) in the top 50. Simon (right) is said to be a certified bad-ass, in the mold of '08 signee Garrett Goebel.

Finally, big throw down on the hard court tomorrow (or next month if you're going by my schedule on the sidebar.) Buckeyes v. Hoozers in The Schott @ 1:00PM (CBS). Listen for plenty of Bobby Knight references accompanied by the nearly-sepia toned reel of him that has been looping on ESPN for the last week. If that doesn't get the nostalgia nerve twitching, then stick around for the halftime recognition of the '68 Final Four team. Gew.

photo/ SCOUT.COM

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Wednesday, February 6, 2008

The Haul

When the smoke cleared after the forced event that is National Signing Day, Ohio St. came away with a damn impressive class--despite a few glaring omissions.

Here is the list of the 19 commits, with room for one more.

While I've seen the class ranked anywhere from 5th to 9th in the country, no one can deny that Tressel and his coaches have brought in a top ten class. Heavy on the big fellas up front (DE Willie Mobley, left) and only one true WR (Posey), the '08 group didn't garner a lot of attention on a day filled with lunch room press conferences. In fact, in spite of the Orhian Johnson announcement, the biggest OSU news of the day was who didn't sign--yet.

Which brings us to he who shall not be named. Video below, featuring the shadow of the man that was Robert Smith.

"He" added another chapter to his biography that every chump with a blog or internet forum pseudonym has been writing for the last year. Somehow a new, possibly Buckeye-friendly, angle materialized out of his non-announcement.

Evidently, Penn State is starting to "creep up" on the this in-state talent. I am one of many that share this sentiment, but reintroducing the Nittany Lions into the mix may be a prelude to good things to come for OSU. The cryptic Post-Gazette article I posted last night has been re-interpreted as follows:

The QB's old man is pulling a Charlie Batch and over-stepping his boundaries, offering up much more than his two-cents. Dad has been getting visits/calls from the Penn St. campaign and is using his parental sway to get Son to take a final look at the blue and white. Couple this info with Buckeye commit Andrew Sweat saying he thinks QB is joining him at OSU and one can speculate that Son's choice is Ohio St. regardless of Dad's futile push for the hometown team.

The optimistic abridged version: With Michigan far removed from his peripheries, Pryor (whoops) eats an obligatory meal in the Penn St. cafeteria then goes with his gut and signs with the Bucks.

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Let Down City

Those who saw Pryor's press conference on ESPNU know that it shed light on a whole lot of nothing.

Pryor kicked off "The U"'s signing day special with a dud and left the studio team to interpret. The ESPNU crew supported Pryor's indecision, saying it was a sign of a maturity on the part of the young QB. Clearly not Buckeye fans. They also said what everyone in Columbus, Ann Arbor and State College is pushing to the back of their conscience: "A trip to Eugene, Ore. could change everything."

UPDATE: Florida CB Brandon Harris is a Hurricane. Just announced on ESPNU. "At heart, I'm a 'Cane," said one of the country's top uncommitted (at the time) players. Thankfully, he didn't mess around with hats, specifically tossing an Ohio St. cap to the ground. Instead he jammed a Miami helmet on his head which, in the world of law enforcement, is the equivalent of a black ski mask.

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Orhian Johnson is on board

The first new pick-up of the day for Ohio State (and hopefully not the last) is Orhian Johnson, a QB/CB from, where else, Florida. Bucknuts reports that he will sign later today.

"O.J." came into the fray pretty late, but when his name surfaced it seemed like a certainty that we'd land him, mostly because the best in-state school going for him was South Fla. Recruiting services have given him the sexy "ATH" label, but he played both defensive back and QB in high school.

He's listed at 6-3, 190, 4.5.

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Tuesday, February 5, 2008

What the hell is going on

Woah, woah, woah. Bold move Terrelle. So mum is now officially the word tomorrow for Pryor, as I trust printed news sources more than some sweaty-palmed reporter from Rivals. The Post-Gazette, which has kept us all abreast of the star QB's movements says Pryor had a change of heart at the eleventh hour and simply can't make his decision tomorrow. He'd also like to give Penn State another once over, you know, drink some near beers with Joe Pa and really wrap his mind around that "White Out" spectacle.

Check out this segment of the article:

"When we talked (Tuesday morning), I gave him my choice and he gave me his," said Pryor's father, Craig. "They weren't the same. But it's his decision."

Craig Pryor said he did not pick Ohio State, but he did not indicate what school his son chose.

Craig Pryor also told his son that playing immediately might not be the best way to make progress. He said it wouldn't hurt if he sat back and watched while he tries to learn to read defenses.

"He's not worried about playing right away," Craig Pryor said. "It will give him time to learn and adjust to the speed of the game."

I'd say read between the lines but, assuming the decision is between OSU and Michigan, there seems to be a pretty clear message in there--if it weren't for the less than stellar pronoun usage by the Gazette. Once more:

Craig Pryor said he did not pick Ohio State, but he did not indicate what school his son chose.

So to whom does the first "he" refer? Did Craig not pick OSU and therefore Terrelle did? Or visa versa?

Further more, what the hell is going on here? Since when does a high schooler cancel on ESPN? (Though he will be appearing to answer some questions, reiterate his final four schools for the umpteenth time).

Someone better commit tomorrow.

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Jenkins to WVU

Josh Jenkins, a 5-star OL recruit that excited OSU fans when backed out of a verbal commitment to West Va. and RichRod late last year, will announce his formal commitment to a Rod-less Mountaineer program tomorrow (per the News and Sentinel).

Jenkins flirted with joining a strong O-line class, aka The Brew Crew, in Columbus but has evidently decided to stay closer to home. Can't blame him for doing so and I respect his reevaluation of the program after RichRod split.

Wednesday looms as Rivals is now reporting...

as Rivals is now reporting Pryor will not announce tomorrow.

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Things that aren't necessarily true

After watching the googley-eyed Tim Russert analyze the Super Tuesday results and try his best to call the states before the numbers come in, I don't see any reason why I can't add some kindling to the rumor wildfire thats been spreading throughout the web since last week.

For starters, my longtime dark horse candidate, Florida CB Brandon Harris, may not be such a long shot after all. Posters on Scout boards are biting at everything they can dig up about this kid.

Not a whole out there on Big Josh Jenkins. Evidently gossiping about O-linemen is about as popular as discussing that girl who played Blossom.

As far as T.P. is concerned, no reports on what he had for dinner or who Charlie Batch voted for in the Primary, but I've come across two interesting "leads:"

  1. A message board post by a "Buckeye fan" that Brian from mgoblog published reports that none other than Jerome Bettis knows first hand that Pryor will be going to Michigan.
  2. IN CONTRAST, commit Andrew Sweat tells the Post-Gazette that "it sounded like [Pryor] was going to Ohio State."
More to come?

MORE: Check out the link Vico, from Our Honor Defend, posted in the comments. Stop the presses!

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Mandel: "The most anticipated announcement in history"

Oh Stewart. Just when I go and badmouth you, you turn around and bring to light the OSU v. Michigan spin on the Terrelle Pryor saga.

One day you're ogling SEC rosters then, suddenly, you're more out of character than Jimmy Fallon in a Will Farrell sketch, blushing over the implications of a decision from a player from the north.

Either way, as reported over on the sidebar ("Duly Noted"), Pryor didn't see his shadow this morning and supposedly will be putting on a flat-billed, fresh smelling fitted cap tomorrow.

Colors and logo TBA.


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Monday, February 4, 2008

What will come first: Pryor's announcement or G&R's "Chinese Democracy?"

When, Axl, when can we buy this missing piece to the puzzle?

Yesterday was a real beehive of activity in Columbus' corner of the interweb (though not so much at ye Olde Columbus Town.)

Wells was a big get, despite his relatively low-profile, any steal from the Sunshine State is fine by me. If thats not good enough to get the old ticker goin', Buckeye Commentary is already drawing comparisons to the departed Vern Gholston.

Then, as is he felt upstaged by Wells, Terrelle Pryor and his cronies at the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette started a-fusin-and-a-feudin' about the date of his announcement. First he was "80-90% sure" about a Wednesday reveal, like originally planned. Then came a mudslide of characteristically unsubstantiated reports that said the young QB was OSU bound. Later, Pryor told Rivals that this wasn't the case and a delayed decision was still in the cards. The players, at this point, are still OSU, Michigan, PSU and Oregon. Guesses are that a Signing Day announcement means Us or Them but anything after levels the playing field, as a trip to Eugene would be likely.

Despite all this activity in the Great Lakes region, Stu Mandel had the gall to write yet another "SEC is better than you" column. Not only is this sentiment more stale than cargo pants from Tuttle Mall, this particular piece was as poorly conceived as a 3rd grader's illicit scribblings on the Midwest's collective bathroom wall.

You can tell Stubert was really digging deep to come up with an original Valentine sonnet for the beloved SEC when you look at his reasoning:

I wanted to focus not only on the aforementioned recruiting powers but all teams in every conference, to see if not only the SEC's best, but its worst, are more talented than everyone else's. Apparently, they are.

While going through the raw data, it occurred to me that some of the "averages" may be disproportionately affected by so-called "statistical outliers." For instance, in 2007, 10 of the 11 Big Ten teams ranked in the top 60 -- and then Indiana all the way down at 97th. Or, in 2006, the Pac-10 had USC at No. 1, but no one else in the top 15.

So I recalculated the scores using each team's "median" rather than its average. It didn't affect most of the leagues' numbers all that much -- except, of course, for the SEC, whose lead over the others grew even larger.

The attempt at statistical fairness is appreciated, Stu, but next time try to fashion your conclusion after you come up with the method.

It's in times like these I am thankful for the cooler heads at CFN and their series that retrospectively examines recruiting rankings.

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Keith Wells is a Buckeye

Per Bucknuts

Wells, a DE from Florida, is the 18th commit to the class of '08. He chose OSU after last weekend's visit to Notre Dame.

Listed at 6-5, 225, Wells cited OSU's excellence in both football and academics as his deciding factor.

If my cubicle had four walls I'd report more but, for the time being, head over to Our Honor Defend for their coverage of the Wells snag.

and from the Plain Dealer

More to come...

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Wells to announce today

UPDATE 12:13PM EST: I'm hearing that the announcement is pushed to 1:00PM. For what it's worth and strictly to keep the rumor mill spinning, moderators at Buckeye Planet seem pretty smug in their assumption that the news from Florida will be positive when it comes...

As murmured on message boards and cited on Buckeye Commentary, DE prospect Keith Wells returned from his Notre Dame visit ready to announce his intentions for the fall.

Bucknuts says we'll know Wells' choice by 11:30AM.

Though the formal FSU verbal recently made an in-state visit to Florida, his final three are Tennessee, ND and OSU (he took his official with the Bucks in Dec.)

Along with Josh Jenkins, Pryor and Brandon Harris, Wells is part of the potential grand finale to the Brew Crew. Harris, a 5-star CB from Florida, was at UCF this weekend but is thought to be a lock to join Miami (FL)'s beastly class. However, rumors adrift after a big recruiting weekend for the 'Canes hint that Randy Shannon's class may have reached capacity. But why shut out a local stud CB?

Here's to a setting the tone for the rest of the week...

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Sunday, February 3, 2008

He plays basketball, too

The floor: Pryor puts the ball on it while Tressel and RichRod drool on it
photos/ ERIC SCHMADEL-Tribune-Review

Jim Tressel and RichRod brought their respective entourages to Jeannette (PA) High School for a glimpse of Terrelle Pryor's off-season digs. Team Tressel and Team Rod squared off on opposite sides of the gymnasium (Tress in his seat during the J.V. game, Rich barely making the first half) to watch Pryor add 27 points and 12 boards to his team's victory.

Though both Joe Pa and a crew from Oregon made their final pleas last week, Tressel and RichRod's "joint" visit was likely the last big push before signing day (Feb. 6). On the unfortunate side of things, it's looking less and less likely that Wednesday will be the conclusion to this saga.

If there's one thing thats gotten lost in the labrynth of Terrelle Pryor coverage, it's that he was originally billed as the next great two-sport phenom. The modern day Charlie Ward or, perhaps, John Lumpkin.

As of recent, however, T.P.'s basketball career seems to have taken a backseat to more exciting endeavors like visiting second-tier schools (UM) over the weekend and playfully dangling the media like marionette puppets Monday-Friday.

Pryor's initial criteria when shortlisting schools was his freedom to play both sports at the collegiate level, a increasing rarity. Despite the unrealistic request, none of his suitors, including Ohio St., flinched at the idea of the 5-star recruit turning in his pads for the winter.

Such is the mystique of Terrelle Pryor.

No word yet as to if RichRod (above) was planning on purchasing the rest of the leather jacket once this whole buy-out thing gets cleared up.

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