Urban Meyer has made a couple of high-profile, albeit temporary, additions to his Ohio State coaching staff.
OSU announced Tuesday morning that Nike co-founder Phil Knight and College Football Hall of Famer Lou Holtz will serve as guest coaches for the Buckeyes’ spring game next month. The Buckeyes will close out their 15 sessions with the annual spring game April 15 at Ohio Stadium.
Holtz was an assistant at Ohio State in 1968 before moving on to his fist head-coaching job, William & Mary. The former ESPN college football analyst went on to lead five Power Five programs — North Carolina State, Arkansas, Minnesota, Notre Dame and South Carolina — as well as one ill-fated season with the New York Jets. In 2008, he was elected to the College Football Hall of Fame.
From 1996-2000, Urban Meyer served as Holtz’s wide receivers coach at Notre Dame before leaving for his first head-coaching job at Bowling Green.
OSU athletics, including the football team, has been clad in Nike apparel for more than two decades. In January of 2016, the university announced a new deal with Nike that’s the largest in collegiate athletics.
As the release noted, this will be Knight’s second visit to Ohio Stadium in less than six months. Previously, he was at the Nov. 26 game between Ohio State and Michigan, and he spoke to the team following the 30-27 double overtime victory for the Buckeyes.
“I am very close to each of these individuals and I have enjoyed their friendship over many years,” Meyer said in a statement, “but even more I respect the impact they have had on Ohio State and college football. I am looking forward to having Coach Holtz and Phil Knight on our campus as guest coaches, and I am very appreciative they want to take part in and support our spring game.”
OSU kicked off spring practice earlier today as they begin preparing for the sixth season under Meyer.
There are a number of things on the recruiting trail it is usually best not to overanalyze. This may not be one of them.
Defensive end Micah Parsons, one of the top-rated players in the Class of 2018 and the top-rated recruit in the state of Pennsylvania according to Rivals, is currently committed to Penn State, but Nittany Lions fans following the recruiting updates may be a tad more worried about losing Parsons to a division rival than ever before. Parsons shared an image on Twitter of his new dog, which he named Brutus. Sound familiar?
Brutus is the name of Ohio State’s mascot. Is this purely a coincidence, or is there a not-so-hidden meaning to it all? Given the naming of the dog and supposed recent interest in Ohio State, this may be more writing on the wall for an eventual commitment flip within the Big Ten East. But we’ll keep an eye on Parsons and his journey to signing day to see how it all plays out.
Had he named the dog Nittany, however, Penn State fans would probably be a little more at ease.
One of the more eyebrow-raising moves of the offseason was the departure of then-Indiana head coach Kevin Wilson after he had guided the Hoosiers to back-to-back bowl games.
Wilson ended up on his feet as the new offensive coordinator at Ohio State but his move inside the conference did lead some to express concern over his treatment of players in Bloomington. The coach finally addressed the media for the first time since then and not surprisingly was asked about his somewhat controversial firing.
“The athletic department — the athletic director and those guys — made their decision,” Wilson told reporters, including the Columbus Dispatch. “From there, the comments were made. We just go back to how much we loved being there, loved our players (though we) didn’t have a chance to kind of see those guys off.”
As to an investigation that brought up several specific incidents of alleged player abuse, Wilson denied any wrongdoing and noted that everything had been looked into and cleared by both Indiana and Ohio State.
“We wouldn’t be here doing this job if those things were true,” he said. “Anyone can have an opinion. I know the department over there looked into everything. I know this school’s looked into everything. I know we’re very, very comfortable with what we’re doing, where we’re at, and we’re excited to move forward. The athletic director had outside counsel, found no evidence and that’s why we’re here.”
This likely isn’t the last time the late season departure will be brought up by either team as the Buckeyes and Hoosiers play each other in their 2017 opener this fall.
Wide receiver was one of the positions we noted was hit by attrition at Ohio State earlier in the week. With the first day of spring practice in the books, the receiving corps, at least numbers-wise, has been further depleted.
Urban Meyer confirmed Tuesday that Alex Stump is no longer part of his Buckeyes football team. On his personal Twitter account a short time later, Stump not only indicated that he will indeed be moving on, but to where he would be moving — Vanderbilt.
Stump will have to sit out the 2017 season because of NCAA bylaws. He will then have two years of eligibility remaining beginning in 2018.
A four-star member of OSU’s 2015 recruiting class, Stump was rated as the No. 37 receiver in the country and the No. 13 player at any position in the state of Ohio. After redshirting as a true freshman, Stump played in just one games last season. He had one reception for eight yards.
With their spring practice kicking off Tuesday, there’s some movement on the personnel front for one of last season’s playoff participants.
Ohio State confirmed Monday that wide receiver James Clark (pictured) has opted to transfer out of Urban Meyer‘s football program. Clark intends to graduate from the university this spring, which would allow him to play at another FBS program this coming season.
Clark, a four-star 2013 signee, caught six passes for 47 yards during his time with the Buckeyes. All of those statistics were recorded during the 2016 season.
In addition to Clark, the Columbus Dispatch is also reporting that offensive lineman Tyler Gerald has left the football team. A school spokesperson subsequently confirmed the initial report to the Cleveland Plain Dealer.
The Dispatch writes that “[s]everal sources said Gerald quit taking part in the off-season conditioning program a couple of weeks ago.” It’s unclear if Gerald will be transferring to continue his collegiate playing career elsewhere.
A four-star member of OSU’s 2016 recruiting class, Gerald was rated as the No. 8 guard in the country. Gerald took a redshirt as a true freshman last season.
Gerald is the third reserve offensive lineman to leave the Buckeyes the last couple of months.
In late January, Kyle Trout announced he would be transferring from OSU and following Luke Fickell to Cincinnati. Evan Lisle left Columbus after graduating in December and ultimately landed at Duke.