Urban flips two four-star DL commits from Big Ten schools to OSU

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Just two weeks after his hiring was made official, Urban Meyer — and the recruiting cachet that comes with his name — is already paying significant dividends for Ohio State.

And, as a result, proving costly on the verbal front for a couple of Big Ten schools.

According to multiple media outlets, a pair of four-star defensive linemen in the Class of 2012 committed to the Buckeyes on Monday.  Tommy Schutt, the No. 5 defensive tackle in the country and the top-rated player in the state of Illinois, committed to OSU after being a firm Penn State verbal right up until the Jerry Sandusky scandal broke in State College, while Se’Von Pittman, the No. 8 defensive end in the country and No. 3 player in the state of Ohio, had been decommitted from Michigan State to stay in his home state.

Both players visited Ohio State this past weekend, and spent extensive time with Meyer.  Suffice to say, the presence of the former Florida head coach made a significant impression on the two linemen and played a commitment-shifting role in their decisions.

“I had a great visit this weekend to Ohio State and got to know the coaches and the players better,” Schutt told Rivals.com. “I spent a lot of time talking to Urban Meyer.”

“My official visit was great,” Pittman told the same website. “I got to sit down with the guys and talk to coach Meyer. … For me to leave a coach like [MSU’s Mark Dantonio], [Meyer] had to be a great coach and a great person too and everything he told me was what I wanted to hear to be comfortable enough to [decommit from the Spartans].”

The news of Pittman’s decommit from MSU came as a surprise to the Canton (OH) high schooler’s coach.

“For 5 1/2 months, I didn’t think there was a chance in the world this would happen because Se’Von was sold on coach (Mark) Dantonio and Michigan State,” Canton McKinley’s Ron Johnson told the Columbus Dispatch. “Then some things happened recently that made him reconsider, and he flipped.”

Schutt’s high school coach, Chad Hetlet, told ESPN.com that OSU’s interim head coach also played a role in landing the lineman.  Luke Fickell, who will remain on Meyer’s staff after coaching the Buckeyes in the Gator Bowl vs. Florida, was Schutt’s recruiter, and Hetlet said the coach bridged the gap between the uncertainty in the post-Jim Tressel era and Meyer coming to Columbus.

“Ohio State did a nice job as a staff of hanging in there,” Hetlet told the website.

“And coach Fickell did a nice job of staying in communication with him. He told him everything will work out. When coach Meyer got the job, they got in contact with Tommy immediately. From that point he went on to take an official visit and was blown away by everything.”

Schutt, who had OSU squarely in his mix prior to the NCAA issues that hit the football program, becomes the third Nittany Lions verbal pledge to decommit since Sandusky, the former PSU defensive coordinator, was indicted on child sex-abuse charges.

It should be noted that verbal commitments are non-binding, and recruits — as shown in these two decommitments — can change their mind all the way up to putting their Herbie Hancocks on a Letter of Intent beginning in early February.  It also should be noted that the coaches in Meyer’s new conference are likely none too pleased with having their verbals poached by the new coach on the block.

Right or wrong, though, they’d better get used to these “new” recruiting ways — the SEC recruiting ways — or risk getting left behind.

Report: Lane Kiffin would like to be Tennessee’s head coach again

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Lane Kiffin says he’s happy at Florida Atlantic, but everyone suspects that happiness has an expiration date. A coach with his talents and pedigree — and remember, Kiffin is just 42 — is destined to return to the big time at some point.

And according to a reporter at ESPN, Kiffin would like “some point” to be “right now.” Chris Low spent a week in Boca Raton shadowing Kiffin, and came away believing Kiffin would be open to a reunion with Tennessee.

“Lane is definitely on board if Tennessee gives him a call,” Low told the Orange and White Report radio show in Knoxville. “That’s not going to happen, but as he told me, ‘People break up all the time and get back together.’”

As we know, Kiffin spent one 7-6 season as Tennessee’s head coach in 2009 before darting off in the middle of the night to return to USC, and Kiffin was persona non grata in Knoxville for years afterwards.

But it seems feelings have softened toward him sense then. Kiffin has made a habit of trolling Vols fans on Twitter, but he trolls because he loves. “I don’t really think before I tweet,” Kiffin told AL.com last week. “I like to get a reaction. I like to make people laugh.”

While the idea of Kiffin returning to Knoxville may be a bridge too far for Vols AD John Currie, he does fit the mold of someone Tennessee should consider. A 42-year-old coach that lived and learned through two Power 5 head coaching jobs, is fresh off an ultra-successful run as an SEC coordinator and is now on the verge of winning Conference USA in his first season?

Perhaps Kiffin and Currie can negotiate over Twitter direct messages.

Arkansas to host Ole Miss in Little Rock in 2018

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Ole Miss will put the finishing touches on its 2017 season with the annual Egg Bowl Thanksgiving night, but there’s a bit of 2018 scheduling news involving the Rebels to touch on first.

Wednesday, Arkansas announced that its 2018 game against Ole Miss will be played at War Memorial Stadium in Little Rock instead of their on-campus home in Fayetteville. Next season will mark the 70th anniversary of the opening of War Memorial Stadium.

“We look forward to our return to Central Arkansas to take on Ole Miss at War Memorial Stadium in October 2018,” interim athletic director Julie Cromer Peoples said in a statement. “I know Razorback fans will be excited and ready to cheer on our team in a key Southeastern Conference Western Division matchup.

“Arkansas and Ole Miss first met on the football field more than a century ago and we look forward to the next chapter in this rivalry, in a venue that has hosted so many important games in this series.”

In fact, the game next season will mark the 110th anniversary of the first-ever meeting between the two football programs.

The Razorbacks and Rebels last played in Little Rock in 2012. Their only other matchup at War Memorial Stadium as conference foes came in 1992.

UCLA, UNLV announce future home-and-home

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Happy Thanksgiving, y’all! And, as you get set for your Turkey Day feast, here’s a little future scheduling news on which to nibble.

Just a handful of days after dumping its head coach, UCLA, along with UNLV, announced that the two football programs have reached an agreement on a future home-and-home series. The Bruins will play host to the Rebels on Sept. 7, 2024, at the Rose Bowl. The following season, on Sept. 6, 2025, the two teams will meet up once again in Las Vegas.

“This is another series that bolsters our future schedules and is beneficial for both sides geographically,” a statement from Desiree Reed-Francois began. “Our fans enjoy seeing traditional powers come to town, it enhances our football program’s efforts in the recruiting hotbed of Southern California and partnering with prestigious institutions in the Pac-12 only helps our development as a University.”

The schools have met twice previously, in 2015 and 2016, with the Bruins winning both by a combined score of 79-24.

This scheduling news comes three weeks after UNLV announced a future four-game series with Cal. The MWC program also has future games against Pac-12 members USC (2018 season opener) and Arizona State (home-and-home in 2020 and 2021) on the scheduling docket.

Tennessee WR Jauan Jennings dismissed after Instagram tirade against Vols coaching staff

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The 2017 season just can’t end quick enough for Tennessee.

Proving that there have been much better days on Rocky Top, the school has reportedly and unexpectedly dismissed wide receiver Jauan Jennings from the team on Wednesday evening — just hours after the junior went on a tirade against the current coaching staff and posted it to his social media accounts.

Jennings reportedly went off earlier in the day at the staff and called them several choice, NSFW names in videos posted to his private Instagram account.

The receiver was somewhat of a surprise return to practice recently as it was expected he was going to miss the rest of the season after being injured in season opener against Georgia Tech. Jennings enter the year as an All-SEC third team selection in the preseason but was limited to just three catches for 17 yards the first half of the Vols’ first game.

Jennings could transfer to another school as he has a redshirt year available and likely would be able to receive a medical redshirt as well. Declaring for the NFL Draft seems the more likely scenario however but one thing is for certain: a return to Tennessee doesn’t look like it’s in the cards after Wednesday’s actions on both sides.