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Ohio State signs 24 to National Letters of Intent

Urban Meyer AP

(Below is Ohio State’s press release on the players added as part of its 2013 recruiting class.)

COLUMBUS, Ohio – Coach Urban Meyer announced Wednesday a class of 24 prospects, including five already enrolled in school, who have signed national letters of intent to attend The Ohio State University and play football for the Buckeyes. The class, heavy along the defensive line and with significant resources in the defensive backfield and at the offensive skill positions, is among the finest classes in the nation this year.

“Great day,” Meyer said. “I thought it would be a good day, but now I’ll put it in the great category.”

The recruiting class features individuals from 11 different states and includes 13 defensive players, eight offensive players and three “athletes.” A total of 14 recruits are from outside the state of Ohio, including:

– three top performers from Texas – five-star linebacker Mike Mitchell, running back/athlete Dontre Wilson and quarterback J.T. Barrett;
— seven from the southeastern United States, including five-star defensive lineman Joey Bosa from Fort Lauderdale, Fla., and five-star safety Vonn Bell from Rossville, Ga.;
— a five-star cornerback from New Jersey (Eli Apple);
— the top player from Missouri (running back Ezekiel Elliott); and
— one of the top tight ends in the country – Marcus Baugh – from Riverside, Calif.

“I’m really pleased with this class,” Meyer said. “Joey Bosa, a big-time defensive lineman from Florida, got us started off when he was the first to FAX his letter of intent in, and then we capped it the way I had hoped we would: by getting a very, very talented and skilled running back out of St. Louis in Ezekiel Elliott.”

Ohio is well represented in this class. In fact, there are 11 outstanding Ohio players, a contingent that includes:

– five-star receiver prospect Jalin Marshall from Middletown;
— four of the top five Ohio prospects, according to ESPN – No. 1 athlete Gareon Conley, No. 2 Marshall, No. 3 cornerback Cam Burrows and No. 5 offensive lineman Evan Lisle; and
— six more players who are ranked between Nos. 12 and 28 in the state: SAF Jayme Thompson, DL Donovan Munger, DL Billy Price, SAF Christopher Worley, DL Tracy Sprinkle and ATH Darron Lee.

Offensive speed is prominent. Marshall, Elliott, Wilson, wide receiver James Clark, from New Smyrna Beach, Fla., and wide receiver Corey Smith, from East Mississippi Community College, are all blessed with true speed and all can find the end zone.

The Ohio State secondary returns three starters from the unbeaten, 2012 team – cornerback Bradley Roby and safeties C.J. Barnett and Christian Bryant – but it gets a tremendous infusion of freshmen talent as five of the top defensive back prospects in the country are now Buckeyes: Apple, Bell, Cam Burrows, Conley and Thompson.

Ohio State’s defensive line grew by six members today with Bosa, Munger, Price and Sprinkle joined by Michael Hill, from Pendleton, S.C., and who had scholarship offers from all the top Southeastern Conference schools, and Tarboro, N.C. end Tyquan Lewis.

Lawrenceville, Georgia prospect Trey Johnson, the No. 3 inside linebacker prospect in the nation according to two services, gives Ohio State an outstanding linebacker tandem (with Mitchell) in this class.

Indianapolis’ offensive lineman Tim Gardner joins Lisle as the only players at their position among the class.

(Writer’s note: below the jump are the complete bios of all 24 members of Ohio State’s 2013 recruiting class.)

Eli Apple
Cornerback / 6-0, 184
Voorhees, N.J./Eastern High School
Overview: Eli Apple, who enrolled into Ohio State in January, is a five-star prospect (ESPN 150) who is rated as high as the No. 11 prospect nationally on the ESPN 150 … the No. 1 prospect in New Jersey and No. 6 cornerback prospect (247Sports) … he played in the U.S. Army All-American Bowl after helping his Eastern High School team, coached by Dan Spittal, to a 7-4 record in 2012 and to a regional semifinals berth … had 17 pass break-ups, two interceptions, 45 tackles, three forced fumbles and a blocked kick in 2012, plus 39 receptions for 770 yards and four touchdowns on offense … was the fourth in this class to commit (on Feb. 16, 2012) … the son of Annie and Tim Apple, Eli recently changed his last name from Woodard to Apple to honor Tim, his father since age 2 … “…I am the man I am today because of his tireless love, and commitment to our family,” Eli said in a statement. “So it is with great pride and honor to carry his last name. I am truly blessed to be Eli Apple.” … his family includes a younger sister, Jordan.

J.T. Barrett
Quarterback / 6-1, 225
Wichita Falls, Texas / Rider High School
Overview: John Thomas (J.T.) Barrett is considered one of the nation’s premier dual threat quarterbacks, although his senior season came to an early end with a knee injury in the fifth game of the season … rated as the No. 11 prospect in talent-rich Texas (247Sports) and a consensus four-star cornerback (ESPN, Rivals, Scout, 247Sports) … a top 150 player by both Scout and 247Sports and on the ESPN 300 … enrolled at Ohio State in January and is recovering from his 2012 knee surgery and taking part in winter conditioning drills, except for the running … coaches expect him to be throwing this spring but aren’t concerned that he won’t be running until later … Barrett can run, though: he had rushed for 569 yards with seven touchdowns and passed for 784 yards and five scores as a senior prior to the injury … he rushed for over 1,500 yards with nine touchdowns and passed for over 1,600 yards and 14 touchdowns for coach Jim Garfield’s Raiders as a junior … he is the son of Stacy and John Barrett and he has two brothers: Xavier and Stephen.

Marcus Baugh
Tight End / 6-4, 245
Riverside, Calif. / John W. North
Overview: Marcus Baugh is a consensus four-star prospect (ESPN, Scout, Rivals, 247Sports) and a Top 150 player overall, including a No. 73 ranking on the final Scout 100, a No. 102 ranking on the ESPN 150 and a 148 ranking on the final Rivals 250 … considered among the Top 3 tight ends in this recruiting class (Scout and 247Sports) … played in the 2013 Under Armour All-American game … Marcus caught a combined 68 passes for 1,138 yards and 10 touchdowns as a junior and senior for John W. North High School and coach Mark Parades … his senior season included 38 receptions for 610 yards and he was named second-team Division II all-state … as a junior he caught 30 passes for 528 yards and seven touchdowns … was also used as a wide receiver, running back and linebacker by Parades in 2012 … has family in the Central Ohio area as an aunt lives in Reynoldsburg (Mom, Debbie Clausen’s, twin sister) and he has a cousin who already attends Ohio State.

Vonn Bell
Safety / 6-1, 190
Rossville, Ga. / Ridgeland
Overview: The exclamation point on this Class of 2013, Under Armour All-American Vonn Bell announced on National Letter of Intent signing day that he would be a Buckeye … a five-star prospect by Rivals, Scout and 247Sports, Bell is a one of the top 30 players in the nation with overall rankings of No. 25 by Scout, No. 29 by 247Sports and No. 32 by Rivals … is No. 50 on the ESPN 150 … the No. 4 player in the state of Georgia this season, Bell is also ranked as high as the No. 3 safety prospect nationally by Scout … helped his Ridgeland team, coached by Mark Mariakis, to a 13-2 record and a runner-up finish in the Georgia Class AAAA state championships … Bell had 146 tackles and three interceptions as a senior, and on offense he had over 1,700 all-purpose yards and scored 21 touchdowns … helped Ridgeland to the state Sweet 16 in 2011 as a junior with 119 tackles, five interceptions and three forced fumbles … is the son of Vanessa and Vencent Bell.

Joey Bosa
Defensive Lineman / 6-5, 270
Fort Lauderdale, Fla. / St. Thomas Aquinas
Overview: Joey Bosa is one of the premier football prospects in the Class of 2013 with impressive national rankings of No. 38 (Scout), No. 47 (Rivals), No. 56 (ESPN) and No. 53 (247Sports) … a Scout five-start prospect, Bosa earned the No. 4 overall ranking at his position – strong side defensive end – by both Scout and Rivals … an Under Armour All-American and second-team all-USA Today pick … the leader of a St. Thomas Aquinas defense that allowed approximately 12 points a game … Aquinas defeated Tallahassee Lincoln, 41-25, to cap a 13-2 season and win the Florida Class 7A state championship in 2012, the school’s seventh state title and first for second-year coach Rocco Casullo … a two-time Associated Press first-team all-state selection, Bosa totaled 51 tackles-for-loss in his last two seasons and 19 quarterback sacks, including 27 TFLs and 9.5 sacks as a senior … father, John, was a first-round NFL Draft pick by the Miami Dolphins in 1987 out of Boston College and played three years in the league … Mom, Cheryl, is an Ohio State graduate and an uncle, Eric Kumerow, was a star linebacker for the Buckeyes between 1984-87 and a 1987 co-captain.

Cam Burrows
Cornerback / 5-11, 200
Trotwood, Ohio / Trotwood Madison High School
Overview: Cameron Burrows was Ohio State’s first commitment to the 2013 class when he announced in January 2012 that he would be a Buckeye … he was also among the first to arrive at Ohio State, as he was one of five Class of 2013 recruits to enroll in school in January … a first-team Associated Press all-state selection as a junior and senior, Burrows helped lead Trotwood Madison to three consecutive Division II state championship games, including an unbeaten, 15-0 state-title winning season in 2011 … had 14 pass break-ups as a senior for coach Maurice Douglass’ 12-3 state finalist team and also had 39 tackles … a consensus four-star cornerback (ESPN, Rivals, Scout, 247Sports) who was the No. 38 prospect nationally (Rivals), an ESPN 150 performer (No. 62) and the No. 2 senior in Ohio (ESPN) … played in the 2013 Under Armour All-American game … a two-time state track finalist in the sprint relays … the first from his high school to sign with Ohio State since Will Allen (Class of 2000), who committed while at Trotwood Madison before transferring to Huber Heights Wayne for his senior year … Burrows is the son of Dionne and Andre Burrows … his brother, Chris, is a senior track and field performer for Arizona State University.

James Clark
Wide Receiver / 5-11, 170
New Smyrna Beach, Fla. / New Smyrna Beach
Overview: James Clark was one of the last in this class to commit and ultimately sign an NLI with Ohio State, doing so today – Feb. 6 – the first day for prospects to sign their national letters of intent … Clark was a first-team Florida 6A all-state pick by The Miami Herald as a senior when he led New Smyrna Beach into the state playoffs … he totaled 87 receptions for 1,954 yards and 29 total touchdowns for his career, playing for coach Lance Jenkins … had 49 receptions for 1,112 yards and eight touchdowns as a senior … had 28 catches for 576 yards as a junior … outstanding as well in track, Clark has a 100-meter dash best of 10.71 … he placed fifth in the 100 and sixth in the 200 at the 2012 Florida outdoor state track championships … the son of Jesse Clark.

Gareon Conley
Athlete / 6-2, 170
Massillon, Ohio / Washington
Overview: The No. 1 player in Ohio as a senior (ESPN 150) and a first-team Associated Press Division I all-state selection, Gareon Conley is an athlete with wide receiver-cornerback skills that earned him consensus four-star status (ESPN, Scout, 247Sports, Rivals) … the No. 43 overall prospect nationally by ESPN and the No. 14 cornerback prospect (247Sports) … played in the Under Armour All-American game … as a senior Conley, who was coached by Jason Hall at Washington, caught 50 passes, averaged 21.9 yards per catch and scored 16 touchdowns while on defense he had 13 pass break-ups, an interception and 25 tackles … Washington was 11-2 during Conley’s senior season and advanced to the regional finals … recorded four interceptions and 30 tackles as a junior … Washington is also the same school that produced current Buckeye receiver Devin Smith … Gareon is the son of Sherry Robinson and
Jameel & Angel Conley.

Ezekiel Elliott
Running Back / 6-0, 210
St. Louis, Mo. / John Burroughs High School
Overview: Ezekiel Elliott is a consensus four-star prospect (ESPN, Rivals, Scout, 247Sports) and one of the Top 100 prospects nationally with overall rankings of No. 47 by Scout, No. 70 by 247Sports, No. 84 by Rivals and No. 109 by ESPN … also ranked fourth, ninth, 11th and 12th among running backs by 247Sports, Scout, ESPN and Rivals, respectively … named to the U.S. Army All-American game … the St. Louis Post-Dispatch offensive player of the year in 2012, Elliott put up tremendous statistics with 3,061 all-purpose yards and 50 touchdowns, including 2,155 rush yards, and 40 rushing touchdowns for the 13-1 Class 3 state runner-up … also had 16 receptions for 383 yards … rushed for 1,802 yards and 34 touchdowns and caught 23 passes for 401 yards and six touchdowns as a junior … Burroughs, coached by Gus Frerotte, has been state runner-up three consecutive years … Ezekiel’s father, Stacy, and mother, Dawn, were each student-athletes at and are graduates of Missouri with Stacy a football player and Dawn a member of the track and field team.

Tim Gardner
Offensive Lineman / 6-5, 320
Indianapolis, Ind. / Lawrence Central High School Overview: Tim Gardner was a 2012 Associated Press first-team all-state performer for Lawrence Central, the Indiana Class 5A state champion, and he was also named to the Indiana Football Coaches Association’s Top 50 all-state team … he was considered the top offensive lineman in the state by the Indianapolis Star and he was also named to that publication’s “Super Team” … Gardner helped his undefeated (15-0) Bears team, coached by Jayson West, average 328.5 rushing yards and 38.5 points per game in 2012 … was rated as the No. 5 prospect in Indiana as a senior and the No. 24 offensive tackle prospect by 247Sports … a three-year starter, he also helped Central to the 2010 Class 5A state final before losing to Fishers … joins Centerville, Ohio’s Evan Lisle as the only offensive linemen in the Ohio State Class of 2013.

Michael Hill
Defensive Lineman / 6-2, 305
Pendleton, S.C. / Pendleton High School
Overview: U.S. Army All-America Bowl invitee Michael Hill announced in June 2012 that he was committing to Ohio State, the school that has been his favorite since he was a youngster … a consensus four-star prospect by (ESPN, 247Sports, Scout, Rivals) and one of the Top 20 defensive tackles in the nation by Scout (No. 16) … listed on the ESPN 300 (216) … named to the South Carolina Shrine Bowl this year and the No. 6 player in the state by 247Sports, Hill had an unfortunate end to his senior season, injuring a hand in the eighth game that caused him to miss the remainder of the season and all post-season all-star games … Pendleton finished 8-4 on the year … Hill was dominant as a junior playing in the middle of Pendleton’s line for coach Paul Sutherland … he recorded 25 tackles-for-losses and 81 total tackles despite persistent double-teams against him … he also had six sacks as a junior and had four as a senior before his injury … he is the son of Dianne Blount and Michael Hill, Sr.

Trey Johnson
LB / 6-2, 220
Lawrenceville, Ga. / Central Gwinnett
Overview: Trey Johnson committed to attend Ohio State Jan. 4 on national television while playing at the Under Armour All-American Bowl … a consensus four-star prospect (ESPN, Scout, Rivals and 247Sports) and one of the top senior prospects in the talent-rich state of Georgia, Johnson is rated as high as the No. 3 inside linebacker prospect in the nation (Rivals and 247Sports) and he is the No. 48 overall player on the ESPN 150 … Scout listed him as the No. 16 outside linebacker … Johnson recorded 456 career tackles for Central Gwinnett and was coached by Todd Wofford … as a senior he had 140 tackles and four sacks and as a junior he had 164 tackles, including 25 tackles-for-loss … named first-team allstate by the AtlantaJournal-Constitution as a senior and second-team 6A all-state by the Georgia Sportswriters Association … is the son of Wilbur and Shellie Johnson.

Darron Lee
Athlete / 6-2, 205
New Albany, Ohio / New Albany
Overview: Local prospect Darron Lee is fine athlete who played quarterback, wide receiver, safety and returned punts and kickoffs as a junior for the New Albany Eagles and he played primarily in the secondary and at quarterback as a senior … Lee was named a first-team Associated Press Division II allstate cornerback as a senior after recording five interceptions with three punt return touchdowns, and accounting for over 1,700 yards of offense and 21 touchdowns … he helped New Albany, coached by Mark Mueller, advance to the Division II state semifinals and to a 11-3 overall record as a senior … Lee did it all in a third-round win over Marion-Franklin, throwing for two touchdowns, rushing for a 36-yard score, returning a punt 82 yards for a touchdown and making the game-clinching interception in the final minute … team was 9-3 and a state qualifier in 2011 … Lee is considered a four-star prospect (Scout) and the No. 29 safety prospect by Scout … ESPN ranks him the No. 28 prospect overall in the state of Ohio … originally from Chattanooga, Tenn., Lee moved to Ohio as an eighth grader … Mom, Candice, is a news anchor for WCMH Ch. 4, the local NBC affiliate.

Tyquan Lewis
Defensive End / 6-3, 223
Tarboro, N.C. / Tarboro High School
Overview: Tyquan Lewis, one of five from this class who enrolled at Ohio State in January, is a four-star defensive end prospect (Rivals, Scout, 247Sports) from Tarboro, N.C., and Tarboro High School … a Top 25 defensive end who comes from a tremendous program at Tarboro … the Vikings, coached by Jeff Craddock, won three consecutive North Carolina Class 2A state championships and had won 21 consecutive games before falling in the 2012 state championship to East Lincoln … Lewis was injured in the title game but still played and earned defensive player of the game honors … he finished his senior season with 13 sacks and was named to the Associated Press all-state team … he had 12 sacks among his 63 tackles as a junior … is the son of Tyronda Whitaker, and a proud big brother to three younger brothers: Kenai, Tylie and Christian. Note: Tyquan is pronounced TIE-kwan)

Evan Lisle
Offensive Lineman / 6-6, 290
Centerville, Ohio / Centerville
Overview: Evan Lisle was one of the first five prospects to commit to this Ohio State class, doing so on Feb. 28, 2012 … he is a member of the ESPN 150 (No. 106) and is rated by ESPN as a Top 5 player in Ohio by ESPN, Scout and 247Sports … also regarded as the top offensive lineman in the state and a Top 10 prospect nationally by Scout, Rivals, 247Sports and ESPN … he is a consensus four-star player (ESPN, Rivals, Scout, 247Sports) and a special mention Associated Press Division I all-state honoree in 2012 … only Ohioan named to the 2012 USA Today All-America team … played for coach Ron Ullery at Centerville, which went 6-4 in 2012 … selected for the 2013 U.S. Army All-American Bowl, something he referred to as an honor for the family … father, Steve, went to West Point and brother, Nick, is in the Army … Mom’s name is Marcy … Centerville also produced former Buckeyes A.J. Hawk, Mike Nugent and Kirk Herbstreit. Note: Lisle is pronounced LYLE

Jalin Marshall
Wide Receiver / 6-0, 190
Middletown, Ohio / Middletown
Overview: Jalin Marshall was considered the No. 1 prospect in Ohio by 247Sports and the No. 2 prospect as a senior by ESPN and Rivals … he was the second to commit to Ohio State in this Class of 2013, announcing his decision in late January 2012 … a skilled quarterback who rushed for a school-record 4,759 yards during his career, including more than 1,400 yards as a senior with 14 touchdowns scored, Marshall is being looked at as a wide receiver for the Buckeyes … a five-star prospect by Scout, he played receiver in the 2013 Under Armour All-America game and had a 44-yard reception … as a quarterback, he passed for 2,240 yards as a senior … also totaled 4,929 all-purpose yards for coach Troy Everhart during his career and scored 52 rushing touchdowns and 54 total touchdowns (two receiving) … one of the Top 50 prospects in the nation (ESPN, Rivals, Scout) … had a 56-yard touchdown rush on his first varsity carry as a freshman, and rushed for a career-high 312 yards as a senior vs. state champion Cincinnati Moeller … led Middletown to its first Greater Miami Conference championship in more than 20 years in 2010 … 2012 state Division I long jump champ (23.00) … the son of Richard and Angel Marshall … has older brothers (Richard Jr. and DeAnte), an older sister (Monae) and a younger brother (Blake).

Mike Mitchell
Linebacker / 6-4, 225
Plano, Texas / Prestonwood Christian
Overview: Highly regarded Mike Mitchell is one of only two middle linebackers nationally to receive a five-star rating by Scout … also a five-star prospect by Rivals … Scout’s No. 2 middle linebacker announced Jan. 5 on national TV, and while playing in the U.S. Army All-American game, that he would be attending Ohio State … the No. 10 overall player in the state of Texas, Mitchell is rated as high as the No. 26 overall prospect (Rivals) and No. 28 by Scout … also a member of the ESPN 150 (No. 128) … grew up in Winter Park, Fla., but spent final three years in Texas … played for Prestonwood Christian as a sophomore and senior, and for Plano West as a junior … he recorded 151 tackles and 11 sacks as a junior and then totaled 186 tackles, 32 tackles-for-loss (11 of them sacks), seven forced fumbles and even returned a kickoff for a touchdown as a senior playing for coach Chris Cunningham … Mike is the son of Ken and Candy Mitchell … father played two seasons in the NFL with the Atlanta Falcons.

Donovan Munger
Defensive Lineman / 6-4, 290
Shaker Heights, Ohio / Shaker Heights
Overview: Consensus four-star prospect (Rivals, Scout) Donovan Munger was a two-way lineman for coach Jarvis Gibson at Shaker Heights High School and was recruited by the Buckeye coaches to play along the defensive line … called “quick, fast, strong and a mammoth of a man” by Gibson, Munger is considered among the Top 25 tackles (Scout, 247Sports, ESPN) nationally with a No. 18 ranking by 247Sports his highest … he helped Shaker Heights to a six-win improvement from 2011 to 2012 – the team went 8-2 this season – by recording 70 tackles, including 14 tackles-for-loss with six quarterback sacks and 23 pressures … Munger also had 34 pancake blocks on offense … named second-team Associated Press Division I all-state in 2012 … …is the son of Deidra Sanders … Donovan joins Shaker Heights graduate and current junior offensive lineman Antonio Underwood on the Ohio State team.

Billy Price
Defensive Lineman / 6-4, 305
Austintown, Ohio / Fitch
Overview: Billy Price was the Associated Press’s 2012 Division I co-defensive player of the year in the state of Ohio (along with Gareon Conley and Tracy Sprinkle) and a first-team all-state pick … a consensus four-star prospect (ESPN, Rivals, 247Sports, Scout) … rated among the top 200 players in the Rivals 250 and a member of the ESPN 300, Price was the third Buckeye to commit to the Class of 2013 with his decision coming Feb. 13, 2012 … rated as the No. 17 defensive tackle nationally by 247Sports and No. 21 by Scout … helped Fitch to a 9-2 record in 2012 and to the state playoffs … also helped Fitch to the state playoffs in 2010 with a 10-2 record and again in 2011 … was named first-team all-state as a junior when he recorded 40 tackles with three sacks, 10 TFLs and an interception … coached by Phil Annarella … placed seventh in the discus at the 2012 Ohio outdoor state track and field meet after placing sixth in the shot and second in the weight throw indoors … is the son of Bill Price and Pam & Dave Lescsak.

Corey Smith
Wide Receiver / 6-1, 190
Akron, Ohio / East Mississippi C.C.
Overview: Corey Smith is the first junior college prospect to sign with Ohio State since Larry Grant (a member of the San Francisco 49ers’ Super Bowl team) signed out of Community College of San Francisco in 2006 … Smith, from Akron Buchtel High School, played on an unbeaten (10-0) Grand Rapids (Mich.) C.C. team in 2011 before the college discontinued the program after 80 years … Smith had 28 receptions for 438 yards and two touchdowns for Grand Rapids … played for Buddy Stephens at East Mississippi C.C., located in Scooba, Miss., in 2012 … he recorded 51 receptions for 733 yards and nine touchdowns for the Mississippi Association of Community and Junior Colleges’ north division champion … caught 11 passes for 113 yards vs. Northwest C.C. and seven passes for 158 yards vs. Southwest C.C. … his team won first eight games before dropping final two games of the season … named the No. 9 junior college prospect in the nation by 247Sports and the No. 3 receiver … Smith will have three seasons to complete two years of athletic eligibility at Ohio State … he is the son of Erika Smith.

Tracy Sprinkle
Defensive End / 6-2, 241
Elyria, Ohio / Elyria High School
Overview: The 2012 Associated Press first-team all-Ohio selection and Division I co-defensive player of the year, Tracy Sprinkle recorded 19 sacks and 30 total tackles-for-loss among his 103 tackles as a senior … dominant games included five sacks against Amherst Steele and four sacks (and 12 tackles) against Hudson … the first defensive player since Matt Wilhelm in 1999 to win the prestigious Lorain County Golden Helmet award as the best player in the county … also was named the Northeast Ohio All-Lake District Defensive Player of the Year as a senior … Elyria, coached by Kevin Fell, was 7-3 in both 2012 and 2011 … Sprinkle, a Top 30 strong side defensive end by 247Sports, had 27 sacks his final two seasons of play … he was a third-team all-state pick as a junior after making 94 tackles and eight sacks … Elyria High’s Chase Farris is a third-year sophomore offensive lineman at Ohio State … Sprinkle, who enrolled at Ohio State in January, is the son of Tracie Sprinkle and Percy Hicks.

Jayme Thompson
Safety / 6-2, 185
Toledo, Ohio / Central Catholic
Overview: Jayme Thompson is a consensus four-star prospect (ESPN, Rivals, Scout, 247Sports) and among the top 250 prospects in the nation (No. 204 on the Rivals 250 and No. 218 on the ESPN 300) … considered the top safety in Ohio (ESPN) and the No. 12 prospect in the state … played in the AllAmerican bowl Dec. 27 inHouston … helped lead his Central Catholic Fighting Irish, coached by Greg Dempsey, to the 2012 Division II state title and a 14-1 record … Central, also the high school of former Buckeye Dane Sanzenbacher, defeated defending state champion Trotwood-Madison, 16-14, in the title game for the second state title in school history (2005) … Thompson was an Associated Press all-state pick as a senior when he had 48 tackles, an interception and two fumble recoveries … he also helped Central to the state playoffs in 2011 and was a second-team AP all-Ohio pick … played at St. Francis DeSales in Toledo prior to attending Central Catholic as a junior and senior … moved to Toledo from Washington, D.C. … is the son of Deon Thompson … practices Brazilian Jiu Jitsu.

Dontre Wilson
Running Back / 5-10, 174
DeSoto, Texas / DeSoto
Overview: Dontre Wilson announced Feb. 4 live on Dallas’ KDFW TV4 that he would accept his Ohio State scholarship offer and become a Buckeye … his choice gives the Buckeyes three players – QB J.T. Barrett (Wichita Falls) and LB Mike Mitchell (Plano) – from the state of Texas in this recruiting class … Wilson is the No. 5 player in Texas and considered one of the Top 100 players in the nation and a consensus four-star prospect (ESPN, Scout, Rivals, 247Sports) … rated as the No. 5 all-purpose back by Rivals … ranked overall as high as No. 50 and the nation’s No. 10 running back by Scout) … also rated No. 55 on the ESPN 150 and No. 100 on the Rivals 250 … led DeSoto, coached by Claude Mathis, to the Texas Class 5A Division I state semifinals as a senior by rushing for 1,895 yards and 37 touchdowns and catching 37 passes for 750 yards and nine scores … DeSoto finished 14-1 on the season … Wilson finished his high school career with over 3,200 rushing yards, 1,200 receiving yards and 81 touchdowns … the son of Don Wilson.

Christopher Worley
Safety / 6-3, 195
Cleveland, Ohio / Glenville
Overview: Christopher Worley was one of the final prospects in this Class of 2013 to commit to attending Ohio State, doing so on Jan. 11 … a special mention Associated Press all-state pick as a senior, Worley led Glenville, coached by Ted Ginn, to an 8-2 record this season by recording 89 tackles with nine sacks, five interception returns for touchdowns and five forced fumbles … for his career he had 161 tackles, 13 sacks, eight interceptions and seven forced fumbles … a Top 25 senior prospect in Ohio (No. 20 by 247Sports and No. 25 by ESPN) … Worley extends a streak of Glenville Tarblooders signing NLIs with Ohio State to 12 consecutive years … 19 Tarblooders have become Buckeyes since 2002, including four current members of the team – Marcus Hall, Christian Bryant, Cardale Jones and Devan Bogard – and past greats like Super Bowl players Donte Whitner and Ted Ginn (San Francisco 49ers) and 2006 Heisman Trophy winner Troy Smith … Christopher is the son of Michelle Bandy and Chris Worley, Sr.

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WVU CB Daryl Worley suspended indefinitely for violation of team rules

West Virginia v Alabama Getty Images

Well, this isn’t what you want to happen five days before No. 4 Oklahoma comes to town.

West Virginia cornerback Daryl Worley has been suspended indefinitely for the ubiquitous “violation of team rules”, head coach Dana Holgorsen announced Monday night.

Worley registered 45 tackles and an interception in five starts a year ago as a freshman. The Philadelphia native was one of three Mountaineers selected to represent the club at Big 12 Media Days in Dallas this summer, if you’re looking for an idea of where he stood on the team. Through three games this season, Worley has posted 17 tackles, two tackles for loss, and a team-best two interceptions.

The good news here is that West Virginia’s secondary won’t be totally depleted. As Worley moves off the active roster, senior cornerback Ishmael Banks replaces him. Banks’ three-game, NCAA-mandated suspension for academic issues is now over. Banks started all 12 games at cornerback in 2013, and posted two interceptions.

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Todd Graham, AD Ray Anderson pledge a combined $1 million for Sun Devil Stadium renovation

Weber State v Arizona State Getty Images

Arizona State’s leadership is serious about renovating Sun Devil Stadium. So serious, in fact, that two major figures inside the athletics department have pledged a cool $1 million to get it done.

Head coach Todd Graham and athletics director Ray Anderson, along with their wives, have each pledged $500,000 to the $50 million fundraising campaign to renovate the 56-year-old stadium. They are the largest gifts in the history of the Arizona State athletics department made by ASU employees.

“Pick the cliche, skin in the game, put your money where your mouth is, you’ve got to walk the walk,” Anderson told the Arizona Republic on Monday. “I think intuitively the four of us understood we needed to step up and be able to answer those challenges, and we believe we have in a significant way to the extent our circumstances allow. Now Todd and I can go out much more credibly and much more comfortably to ask others to say, ‘Join us in this transformational experience.’ We can do it much more emphatically, because in fact we put skin in the game.”

Graham earns $2.4 million in his third year as the Sun Devils’ head coach. Anderson earns $600,000, but can afford to pledge more than 80 percent of his salary after multiple decades in high-paying positions within the sports business. Anderson spent many years as an agent before working as a labor lawyer in Atlanta, then executive vice president and chief administration officer for the Atlanta Falcons, and then as executive vice president of football operations for the NFL before joining the Sun Devils’ athletics department. He reportedly made $1.69 million with the NFL.

“We’re not following anybody else’s model,” Graham said. “It’s the Arizona State model. We have an opportunity to do something great. It’s a family decision for us, but it wasn’t something I spent a lot of time thinking about. It was a no-brainer because it’s a once in a lifetime opportunity, and we wanted to step up and say, ‘The Grahams are committed.'”

So committed is Anderson to getting this project done that he hired Greg McElroy Sr. away from the Dallas Cowboys to serve as associate vice president and chief business development officer.

All told, the project is slated to cost $225 million, with construction beginning next year.

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Army announces 2015 schedule, includes trip to Happy Valley, date with Rutgers at Yankee Stadium

Jeff Monken

Army is but two games into its 2014 season, but its 2015 schedule is already set.

The Black Knights unveiled their 2015 slate on Monday, highlighted by a trip to Penn State, a home date with Duke, a return to Yankee Stadium to face Rutgers, and the traditional finale versus Navy. Army will also face Commander-in-Chief’s Trophy rival Air Force on Nov. 7 in Colorado Springs; the Black Knights have not claimed the trophy since 1996, and have posted a combined 4-34 record against their service academy rivals since then.

The Rutgers game will be Army’s third appearance in the new Yankee Stadium. The Black Knights fell to Notre Dame 27-3 on Nov. 20, 2010, and will face Connecticut in the House That Jeter Built on Nov. 8 of this season.

The date with Penn State represents the 26th all-time meeting between the Black Knights and Nittany Lions, but first since 1979. Penn State holds a 13-10-2 lead, and has claimed the last nine meetings.

Army will be one just three FBS Independents next season, as Navy begins is maiden voyage in the American Athletic Conference.

Army is 1-1 in the debut campaign of head coach Jeff Monken.

The full schedule:

Sept. 5 – vs. Fordham
Sept. 12 – at Connecticut
Sept. 19 – vs. Wake Forest
Sept. 26 – at Eastern Michigan
Oct. 3 – at Penn State
Oct. 10 – vs. Duke
Oct. 17 – vs. Bucknell
Oct. 24 – at Rice
Nov. 7 – at Air Force
Nov. 14 – vs. Tulane
Nov. 21 – vs. Rutgers (at Yankee Stadium, Bronx, N.Y.)
Dec. 12 – vs. Navy (at Lincoln Financial Field, Philadelphia)

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UCLA announces signing of top-ranked QB Josh Rosen

Josh Rosen

With Brett HundleyMyles Jack and company on the field, the present state of UCLA football looks pretty good. And with today’s news, the future looks pretty dang sunny as well.

The Bruins formally announced the signing of quarterback recruit Josh Rosen on Monday afternoon. A five-star recruit if there ever was one, Rosen is the No. 2 ranked player among the Class of 2015 according to Rivals.com, and the nation’s highest rated quarterback. Hailing from St. John Bosco High School and Bellflower, Calif., Rosen has 5,287 career passing yards and 61 touchdowns to his credit. As a junior, the 6-foot-4, pro style signal caller completed nearly 70 percent of his throws for 3,200 yards with 39 touchdowns and only seven interceptions.

Rosen guided St. John Bosco to a 16-0 record and a CIF State Open Division Bowl title a year ago, and has his club ranked No. 1 nationally by USA Today. But other than that, the kid has nothing going for him.

Rosen is set to join the Bruins at the beginning of the winter quarter, which starts Jan. 2.

With redshirt junior quarterback Brett Hundley figured to accept the riches some NFL team will bestow upon him this spring, Rosen will compete with the blonde locks and late-game heroics of Jerry NeuheiselAsiantii WoulardMike Fafaul and a host of others for the staring role in 2015.

The Bruins also added four-star junior college outside linebacker Takk McKinley on Monday.

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Georgia RB Nick Chubb undergoes thumb surgery

Clemson v Georgia Getty Images

Georgia offensive coordinator Mike Bobo will have even fewer excuses for not getting the ball to Todd Gurley for the next week or so. Freshman running back Nick Chubb underwent thumb surgery on Monday after suffering an injury during practice last week.

Playing with his left thumb under extra glove and protective wrapping, Chubb toted the rock four times for 34 yards in the 13th-ranked Bulldogs’ 38-35 loss to No. 14 South Carolina.

Chubb’s availability for Saturday’s date with Troy figures to be in doubt, but nothing has been finalized.

“They said they would see how he’s doing (Tuesday) before they make that decision,” his mother, Lavelle Chub, told the Atlanta Journal-Constitution. “Possibly this week but they’re not really sure (how long he’ll be out).”

The freshman has splashed on the scene in a loaded backfield through two games, rushing eight times for 104 yards and a touchdown. His 13 yards per carry average places him second nationally.

Georgia hosts Troy on Saturday, and then re-opens SEC play with consecutive home dates against Tennessee and Vanderbilt.

 

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Iowa State OL Jacob Gannon rejoins team after battling anxiety

Jacob Gannon, Christian Dudzik

One of the strangest stories of this young 2014 season has come full-circle in a positive way.

After abruptly leaving the team under uncertain circumstances 11 days ago, Iowa State offensive tackle Jacob Gannon rejoined the team on Monday.

The reason for Gannon’s departure was anxiety, and thankfully his condition is well enough under control that he can return to the club immediately.“I have been recently diagnosed with anxiety,” Gannon said in a statement. “I am receiving treatment for my condition and I am looking forward to being a part of the football team. I want to thank Coach Rhoads and my teammates for their support.”

“We are glad Jacob is back with the Cyclone football family,” added head coach Paul Rhoads. “We are behind Jacob 100 percent and will continue to support him throughout the process.”

Kudos to Gannon for realizing he had an issue, and credit to Iowa State for creating an environment where he can get treatment for an unseen ailment. That’s not always the case in the rah-rah, macho football culture.

Gannon started 13 of his 36 career appearances before leaving the club in the aftermath of the Cyclones’ 34-14 season-opening loss to North Dakota State. He was replaced at right tackle by redshirt freshman Jake Campos.

A three-year letterwinner, Gannon is also a two-time Academic All-Big 12 performer and was honored with a National Football Foundation Scholar-Athlete award.

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AD Joe Castiglione doubts OU would have taken DGB if available after Ray Rice video release

Oklahoma v Alabama

The release of the Ray Rice video has changed the reality a lot of people live in – including those inside college athletics. If the spotlight was not bright enough on domestic assault – or any other sort of violence – it is now. And that puts Norman, Okla., at the epicenter of the domestic violence issue inside college athletics.

In April, sexual assault allegations against linebacker Frank Shannon came to light. Shannon has since been suspended for the season, a decision which he appealed. In mid-August, freshman running back Joe Mixon was suspended for the season for striking a female and breaking four bones in her face over the summer.

And then there is the case of former Missouri wide receiver Dorial Green-Beckham. Kicked off the team breaking into a female’s apartment and subsequently pushing her down the stairs, Green-Beckham joined the Sooners in July and is sitting out the 2014 season after his immediate transfer waiver was denied by the NCAA.

Of the three, Green-Beckham’s case has cast the highest scrutiny upon Oklahoma, partly because DGB is the most high-profile player among the group, and partly because Oklahoma accepted him as a transfer and then petitioned for him to play immediately on nebulous grounds. Reached by Sports Illustrated recently, Oklahoma athletics director Joe Castiglione said Green-Beckham more than likely would not be a Sooner if available today – not because of any newfound moral clarity, but simply because Castiglione thinks the case would simply be too hot for Oklahoma to handle.

“If someone presented a case like that now, I think you would be fair to say that he probably wouldn’t be at Oklahoma,” Castiglione said. “Just because of the attention and the cases now in the public consciousness, the university would have been unlikely to take on a situation like that.”

This is an issue that isn’t going away soon for Oklahoma. Shannon maintains his innocence. The media has seen the Mixon incident on video, but the public has not. Recall again how quickly the Rice fiasco engulfed the news cycle once that video went public.

To be fair, Oklahoma is not the only school in college football, not even the only school in its conference, dealing with this issue. And this is college football, after all. There is no doubt to Green-Beckham’s ability to play the game at the highest of levels.

If Oklahoma didn’t take him, someone else would have.

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SMU hires ex-Gator assistant Tim Davis to help coach Mustangs OL

Tim Davis

In a season full of tumult and turmoil, SMU is looking to the outside for help in fixing something on the inside of the football program.

Earlier Monday, SMU interim head coach Tom Mason announced that he has added Tim Davis to his Mustangs coaching staff.  Davis will aid current offensive line coach Wes Saun with that positional group.

Davis brings extensive experience to the squad, especially at the collegiate level.  In a 31-year coaching career, Davis has spent time on coaching staffs at, among other places, Wisconsin, Utah, USC, Alabama and Minnesota.

Davis served as the line coach at Florida for two seasons before being fired shortly after the end of the 2013 regular season.

“I felt like we needed some help there and he can give us some help,” Mason, who took over the program after June Jones abruptly resigned a week ago today, said as his team was coming off a bye this weekend. “He’s an expert at that and he’ll bring a little energy.”

If Davis is going to help SMU’s beleaguered line, he has a tough row to hoe ahead of him.

This season, the Mustangs are 102nd in passing yards per game and dead last in rushing yards with minus-16 — yes, they’ve run for negative yardage this season.  Of SMU’s 39 carries, 24 of them either lost yards (21) or went for no gain (3).  Mustang quarterbacks have been sacked 11 times in just two games.

So, yes, Davis — and the new coaching staff next year — has his work cut out for him.

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Baylor expected to get three WRs back for ISU game

Antwan Goodley Getty Images

Not that it actually needed them, but Baylor was down all four of its leading returning wide receivers from 2013 for last Friday’s 63-12 romp over Buffalo.

For the Bears’ next game, they should be back to near full-strength in the receiving corps.

On his teleconference Monday, head coach Art Briles confirmed that Antwan Goodley (pictured), Corey Coleman and Clay Fuller will play in BU’s next game against Iowa State.  Neither Goodly (quad) nor Coleman (hamstring) nor Fuller (clavicle) have caught a pass this season after combining for 138 receptions last season.  Goodly alone accounted for 71 of those.

There’s no word on when Levi Norwood (47-733-4 in 2013) will return. Two weeks ago, Norwood underwent wrist surgery and was originally scheduled to be out for at least three weeks. That would’ve put him back on the field for the Cyclones game, although that doesn’t appear to be the case as of today.

With all of that experience sidelined, youth has been served for Baylor in the passing game.  True freshman KD Cannon has proven to be one of the early breakout stars in the whole of college football, catching 14 passes for 471 yards and five touchdowns.  The receiving yards lead the FBS, while his receiving scores are tied for second nationally.

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Tide may get starting WR, CB back for Gator game

West Virginia v Alabama Getty Images

The key word in that headline, though, is “may,” especially as it pertains to the latter.

With their SEC opener against looming five days down the road, Nick Saban used part of his allotted time during the SEC coaches teleconference to address the status of a pair of injured starters, wide receiver DeAndrew White and cornerback Jarrick Williams.  Of the two, it appears White is the one closer to a return.

In Alabama’s season-opening win over West Virginia, White suffered what Saban described as a “little separated shoulder.”  The receiver has missed the past two games, but Saban sounded more optimistic than pessimistic that he’ll be available for the Florida game Saturday.

“We’ll see how it goes with him and make a decision later in the week and see if we think he’s able to play,” the coach said.

While Williams will return to practice this week, al.com wrote that Saban “called him a long shot to play against Florida.” Williams played on a broken foot in the opener and, like White, has missed the past two games.

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Rutgers apologizes to Penn State for ‘inappropriate, offensive’ fans

Penn State v Rutgers Getty Images

It appears some of the Rutgers denizens in Piscataway took the “rivalry” aspect of the game against Penn State a little bit too far for the administration’s liking.

In a statement credited to Julie Hermann and sent out Monday morning, the RU athletic director apologized for what she described as the “inappropriate and offensive” signs made and t-shirts worn by Scarlet Knight fans before and during the primetime affair Saturday night. That game marked RU’s first-ever game a against a Big Ten team as a member of that conference, and a record crowd of 53,774 were on hand to witness it. And the debauchery.

Suffice to say, most of what Hermann deemed “inappropriate and offensive” alluded to the Jerry Sandusky child sex abuse scandal of nearly three years ago.

One of the more salacious photos — we’ll link to it HERE but won’t post it on CFT — shows a certain sex act between what appears to be a stick figure-type young boy and an adult on a Penn State banner. As you would expect, there were the obligatory “Ped State” t-shirts as well. One of those types of t-shirts made a brief appearance on RU’s official Facebook page:

Below is Hermann’s complete statement.

On behalf of Rutgers University and the Athletic Department, we would like to apologize for the regrettable actions of a handful of Rutgers fans on Saturday that do not convey the message of good, competitive spirit that we look forward to having with our new Big Ten rival Penn State University.

Some of the signage and t-shirts that we have been made aware of were both inappropriate and offensive.

I have spoken with and apologized to the Penn State athletic director Sandy Barbour and I would like to apologize equally to the Penn State University fans, as well as Rutgers fans that were subjected to this classless display that does not represent the ethos of our university, athletic department or fan base.

The two inappropriate pictures that appeared briefly on our Facebook page as part of a 200-picture montage were immediately removed when we were alerted to their content.

It is unfortunate that the actions of a few spoiled an otherwise historic and recording-setting night that Rutgers fans provided for our first Big Ten football game.

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Foot injury knocks OU RB Keith Ford out 2-3 weeks

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Just as Oklahoma is set to commence Big 12 play in earnest, the unbeaten Sooners have been hit with their first significant obstacle of the 2014 season.

During a Monday teleconference, head coach Bob Stoops revealed that running back Keith Ford is dealing with a foot injury.  Specifically, Ford has a slight fracture in the foot.

As a result, Stoops said, Ford will be sidelined for the next 2-3 weeks.

Such a timeline means Ford will definitely miss this weekend’s road trip to improved West Virginia.  The silver lining for OU is that it has a bye the weekend of Sept. 27 before the Oct. 4 game against TCU, meaning Ford would miss just two games if the pessimistic end of the prognosis comes to fruition.

It should also mean that Ford will definitely be on the field for Oklahoma’s annual rivalry game against Texas Oct. 11.

Ford currently leads the Sooners with 197 yards and five rushing touchdowns.  He’s also the third-leading receiver with 100 yards on six catches, adding in another touchdown through the air for good measure.

The OU ground game will be in good hands in Ford’s absence, with Samaje Perine (177 yards) and Alex Ross (132) more than capable of handling the load.

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Thomas Rawls, CMU’s leading rusher, facing three felony charges

Rawls

Arrest Day at CFT continues unabated, with Central Michigan latest finding itself dealing with a player with an off-field issue.

According to the Mount Pleasant Morning Sun, Thomas Rawls was arrested Sunday on three felony warrants: one count of larceny, two counts of stealing credit cards.  The charges stem from an April incident at the Soaring Eagle Casino.

Warrants for Rawls’ arrest were issued in mid-May.

From the Morning Sun’s account of what led to Rawls’ arrest yesterday afternoon:

Video surveillance from the casino shows Rawls entering a casino eatery with two other men, observing an abandoned purse in a chair, and sitting on it, according to an affidavit requesting arrest warrants filed by a Saginaw Chippewa Tribal Police officer.

After sitting on the purse, Rawls hands it to one of his companions, who places it in a bag before the pair leave the casino, the officer said.

The officer said Rawls used a stolen credit card from the purse to buy sub sandwiches at a casino sub shop and the group later bought $33.77 worth of gas with a debit card from the stolen purse.

Despite being caught on tape, Rawls denies the allegations.

Prior to CMU’s game this past Saturday, the football program announced that Rawls would not play against Syracuse. “CMU continues to review an issue that came to our attention Friday,” a release stated in part.

Despite missing one full game, Rawls is far and away the Chips’ leading rusher with 276 yards; Saylor Lavallii is next up with 41 yards. In fact, the rest of Chips combined have rushed for just 67 yards, so Rawls missing any amount of playing time would be a significant development for 2-1 CMU.

At the moment, Rawls is indefinitely suspended from the football team.

In January of this year, Michigan announced that Rawls was one of three Wolverine players released from their scholarships. In early July, Rawls, a graduate transfer, announced that he would be transferring to CMU.

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Miami’s Kevin Olsen charged with DUI

Kevin Olsen

Very early last month it was reported that Kevin Olsen would be suspended for at least one game to start the 2014 season after failing a drug test.

A month and a half later, Olsen finds himself with an even bigger issue, one that puts his future with Miami very much up in the air.

According to multiple media outlets, Olsen was arrested very early Monday morning and charged with driving under the influence.  Olsen was also charged with possession of a stolen or fictitious driver’s license.

There were no details as to what led to the charges.  The school has yet to comment on what if any punishment Olsen may be facing.

Olsen had been involved in the Hurricanes’ quarterback competition throughout the offseason, which was eventually whittled down to Kansas transfer Jake Heaps and true freshman Brad Kaaya.  The latter ultimately won the job.

A four-star member of Miami’s 2013 recruiting class, Olsen was rated as the No. 12 pro-style quarterback in the country.  He’s the younger brother of former Hurricanes standout Greg Olsen.

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UMass likely loses leading rusher for rest of year

Jamal Wilson AP

UMass’ tough loss to Vanderbilt Saturday is looking even tougher in the rear-view mirror.

In the first quarter of what would turn into a 34-31 loss, running back went Jamal Wilson down with what appeared to be an ankle injury.  Wilson was taken off the field on a cart for X-rays, and didn’t return.

According to head coach Mark Whipple, “I think he’s done for the year.”

Whipple didn’t specify the specific nature of the injury, but it’s believed Wilson broke his ankle.

Through a little over two games, Wilson leads the Minutemen with 88 yards rushing. With Wilson out and true freshman J.T. Blyden not healthy enough to return to the playing field, UMass will likely turn to Lorenzo Woodley as the bell cow in the running game.

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