By name recognition it won’t be Ohio State’s biggest “get” on signing day, but it’ll likely be one of the more satisfying ones for a former Florida head coach.
As late as yesterday, it was being reported that the Gators were “still in good shape” when it came to landing wide receiver James Clark. In the end, it was the exact opposite as the 5-11, 170-pound New Smyrna Beach (Fla.) product announced Wednesday that he had opted to sign with Urban Meyer and Ohio State. OSU, UF and Clemson were in the receiver’s final three. The four-star’s decision came a couple of days after a visit to Gainesville.
Clark is rated by Rivals.com as the No. 45 receiver in the country. He’s the second recruit who is listed as a receiver (four-star Mississippi HS WR Corey Smith) to become a part of Meyer’s 2013 class. Three-star receiver Taivon Jacobs, an OSU verbal commitment, flipped to his home state Maryland, in part because of Clark’s signing.
Meyer and his staff were far from done, however, as they also landed what many considered to be a five-star surprise and one who could push the class to the cream of the 2013 recruiting crop.
Earlier in the day, it was reported that highly-rated Georgia high school safety Vonn Bell would be signing with Tennessee. At a press conference later in the morning, however, Bell announced that he would instead sign with the Buckeyes.
Meyer had hinted Wednesday morning that there was one player whose status he and his staff were uncertain of. Bell cleared up the uncertainty a short time later, much to the detriment of the Vols.
Bell becomes the second Rivals-five-star recruit in OSU’s 2013 class, which entered the day tied with, who else, Florida for the No. 2 class behind Alabama. The early returns are that Bell’s commitment has pushed the Buckeyes past both the Tide and the Gators into Rivals‘ top spot, at least for the time being.
Joker Phillips among Urban Meyer’s new hires at Ohio State
Ohio State has quietly added Joker Phillips and Brian Knorr — two experienced college coaches — to Urban Meyer’s staff.
Although the athletics department has not made an announcement yet, Phillips is listed in Ohio State’s employee directory as a sports program associate with the working title of “Football QC – kicking,” which presumably means he is a quality control assistant for the Ohio State kicking game.
Knorr is listed simply as an athletics intern.
OSU tonight confirms hire of former UK HC & Browns Asst Coach Joker Phillips to support position for Urban Meyer. Has no on-field duty.
Of the two, Phillips is the more experienced. Now 53, he began his coaching career as a G.A. at Kentucky, his alma mater, and eventually spent six seasons as a full-time receivers coach for the Wildcats in the early 1990s.
He also coached at Minnesota, Notre Dame and South Carolina before returning to Lexington as an assistant and eventually rising to head coach in 2010.
Make that four new additions to Texas’ 2016 recruiting class in late June.
The school announced Wednesday that Patrick Hudson, an in-state offensive lineman from Silsbee, has signed a financial aid agreement and is expected to enroll in Austin in July when the second summer session begins.
Hudson is a four-star prospect and the 50th-best player in the country according to 247Sports’ composite rankings.
He signed with Baylor in February but was granted a release from his letter of intent after a report accusing members of the school and athletics department of mishandling accusations and incidents of sexual assault delved the school into controversy.
J.P. Urquidez and brothers Devin and Donovan Duvernay also signed with the Longhorns in the past week.
“We’re really excited to have Patrick joining our program,” Texas coach Charlie Strong said in a release. “Patrick coming to Texas, along with J.P. and Donovan earlier this week, are tremendous additions to an already impressive class of 2016. Patrick and J.P. are two big, physical, talented linemen, and Donovan is an explosive athlete who has played on both sides. We’re looking forward to getting them on campus and working with the team.”
Urquidez is also a four-star offensive lineman while Devin Duvernay is a four-star receiver and Donovan Duvernay is a three-star athlete per 247Sports.
Texas’ class is ranked seventh nationally and No. 1 in the Big 12 as Strong looks to put a rocky start to his tenure behind him and return the Longhorns to national prominence.
They start the season with a visit from Notre Dame on Sept. 4.
Northwestern remembers Randy Walker 10 years after his passing
The Mississippi football program might not find out its NCAA fate very soon, but the rest of the world learned more specifics regarding the accusations the Rebels face Wednesday.
Sports Illustratedpublished the results of its investigation, including specific allegations levied by a man in the process of getting a divorce from the mother of star offensive lineman Laremy Tunsil.
Lindsey Miller detailed several potentially serious violations involving Tunsil and his family, and SI was able to view some of the information he says he turned over to the NCAA during extensive interviews.
The NCAA’s Notice of Allegations is consistent with Miller’s claims in numerous places, including 12 occasions of free lodging that totaled $2,253. Miller says he told the NCAA those nights were arranged by boosters he met through [Mississippi DL coach Chris] Kiffin, but the NCAA never found that link. Kiffin’s name appears 13 times in the Notice of Allegations, but none of those prove he set Miller up with boosters.
Tunsil was part of a surprisingly star-studded recruiting class in 2013, but head coach Hugh Freeze has consistently defended his program against accusations his recruiting success was thanks to illegal methods.
Freeze, who took over as coach in December 2011, may minimize the NCAA’s case, but nine of the 13 football allegations relate to his tenure there. (Four allegations, including fraudulent ACT scores, occurred under former coach Houston Nutt.) There are four Level I violations under Freeze and a significant Level II failure to monitor charge in which the NCAA says the athletic department and football program failed to monitor Tunsil driving three different loaner cars between August 2014 and June 2015. (That latter allegation is the one Ole Miss is disputing.)
Perhaps complicating matters is the fact Miller went to the NCAA only after having a fallout with Tunsil and his mother, Desiree Polingo, during the summer of 2015.
Polingo denied Miller’s accusations via a statement to SI, and in another statement a lawyer for Tunsil told SI, “You have to consider the source.”
Mississippi has already admitted to 12 of the 13 allegations and self-imposed penalties, but it remains to be seen if the NCAA Committee on Infractions will find the punishment sufficient or more is added.
The full SI story goes into deeper detail about the situations facing not only Ole Miss athletics but also the NCAA enforcement model itself.