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.
Jim Harbaugh is already getting a series on Amazon Prime but now the Michigan head coach is also getting the primetime treatment.
The Wolverines announced on Tuesday that the annual spring game would take place under the lights at Michigan Stadium this year and would be televised live in primetime on the Big Ten Network.
Gates will open to the game two hours prior to kickoff and the maize and blue faithful may try to do their best to get to Ann Arbor early because the school is going to screen an episode of the Amazon series “All or Nothing: The Michigan Wolverines” prior to the game. This will be the second time in three years that the school will go under the lights to play their spring game at night but obviously the first time there’s a documentary series that will be screened prior to the Wolverines taking the field.
The game may be worth tuning in for to see Ole Miss transfer Shea Patterson in action with his new team after arriving in the offseason. The NCAA still has not ruled on whether he will be immediately eligible in 2018 but he is expected to go through spring drills with the team either way, starting this week when practices begin on Friday.
Prior to the arrival of current head coach Chris Creighton, Eastern Michigan football was annually one of the programs people wondered about at the FBS level due to low attendance, bad records and a gray field being one of the few notable aspects about the program. After all, the Eagles have won just one MAC title in the decades they’ve been in the league and went to only their second ever bowl game back in 2016.
While the fortunes of the team have become more positive in recent seasons, the topic of cutting football altogether or dropping down to the FCS ranks was brought up again in Ypsilanti this week after the school made the decision to cut four sports from the athletic department for budgetary reasons. While some might think EMU could continue slashing and eventually reach the football team, it appears that is thankfully not on the table.
“Football is not being cut,” said athletic director Scott Wetherbee, according to MLive.com. “No. 1, because I had a directive from our board of regents and the president, and we all agree we want to stay in the Mid-American Conference and we want to be a FBS Division I football team.
“It wasn’t even an option to look at that.”
That should settle that.
Wetherbee went on to said that the school receives several million dollars from just being a member of the MAC and having a football team is certainly a key part in remaining in the league. Money is a touchy subject around the university when it comes to athletics as just last year Eastern Michigan students campaigned against a $35 million football facility.
Despite the opposition and the most recent budget cuts though, it seems the school’s leadership is firmly behind Creighton and the Eagles remaining a part of life at EMU.
March Madness may not be the only thing on NCAA president Mark Emmert’s mind this week.
According to the LA Times, attorneys for former USC assistant coach Todd McNair are asking a judge to order Emmert to take part in a deposition with them prior to the start of the long-running legal case involving the association next month. The NCAA president had been scheduled to be deposed in February in Indianapolis but the session never appeared to come about.
“We suspect you are seeking it in order to harass President Emmert and place undue settlement pressure on the NCAA,” Kosta Stojilkovic, an attorney representing the organization, wrote in an email obtained by the Times.
McNair was a former running backs coach at USC and was one of the key links the NCAA used to levy heavy sanctions against the Trojans in the Reggie Bush infractions case nearly eight years ago. However McNair subsequently sued the NCAA not long after he was let go by the university, claiming that his career was ruined as a result of the case.
Documents that have slowly been released as part of the lawsuit have shown the Committee on Infractions did stray from protocol in the case in order to punish USC and after years of appeals, it seems McNair is finally getting his day in court not far from the campus where he once coached at. It remains to be seen if the most recent legal maneuvering on both sides will result in Emmert becoming part of the trial but, billable hours appears as though they will remain undefeated as both the NCAA and McNair redefine the motto ‘Fight On.’
Not so fast NFL friends, College GameDay is crashing the party.
ESPN and the NFL league office announced on Wednesday that Kirk Herbstreit and the rest of the GameDay gang will be heading to Texas to cover the 2018 NFL Draft for the first time ever. While we’ve seen the crew setup shop for big games before at AT&T Stadium, this broadcast will be a little different with the excitement from fans coming about players leaving college.
“ESPN has presented the NFL Draft for nearly 40 years and we take great pride in finding new and exciting ways to continue to elevate and differentiate our coverage,” ESPN Executive Vice President Burke Magnus said in a statement. “The draft is the perfect intersection of college football and the NFL, so giving fans the opportunity to experience Round 1 through the lens of College GameDay makes perfect sense.”
The team should have plenty to discuss next month in Dallas between presumptive No. 1 overall pick Sam Darnold and human highlight reel Saquon Barkley out of Penn State likely going atop the draft. If you’re annoyed at some of the NFL analysts who are dropping analysis that doesn’t quite lineup with what you’ve seen on the gridiron the past few years in college, this is certainly a nice new option to have when it comes to the opening night of the draft.