Columbus photog on Terrelle Pryor: ‘I haven’t given him a dollar’

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Even as the career of Terrelle Pryor at Ohio State came to an abrupt end earlier this week, the soap opera that was the quarterback’s three years in Columbus continues unabated.

A former, unnamed friend of Pryor alleged on an ESPN Outside the Lines report Tuesday, the same day Pryor announced he was giving up his final season of eligibility, that he had witnessed Dennis Talbot paying Pryor anywhere between $20,000 and $40,000 in 2009-10 in exchange for Pryor’s signature on various pieces of OSU memorabilia.  In an interview with the Cleveland Plain Dealer Thursday, the Columbus photographer/purported memorabilia maven vehemently denied that he had paid anything to the player, let alone an amount the five-figure numbers thrown out by OTL.

“They are potentially destroying people’s lives,” Talbott told Doug Lesmerises of the Plain Dealer over the phone. “It’s not true. I haven’t given him a dollar. I haven’t given him anything perceived as an improper benefit.”

In an interview Thursday on Sirius/XM in which he hinted at possible legal action against ESPN for what he described as a “bogus” report, Pryor’s attorney, Larry James, said that he knew Talbott but that the “part-time photographer… is not a deep-pocket player.”

“This is out of his league, he doesn’t have that kind of cash,” James said yesterday. “He is not one of those dealers that one would say ‘Dennis has the ability to negotiate the buying and selling of memorabilia that Terrelle has signed.’  No, Dennis was a part-time photographer that knew a lot of the players, guy around town, most of us knew him.  He was basically harmless, he is no big deal, and he definitely did not have the wherewithal to do that kind of stuff.”

Talbott concurred with James’ assessment of him as a small-time player.

“I don’t have the wherewithal to do that,” Talbott told the paper. “I just don’t. …

“I have never made it a secret that Terrelle and I have a relationship. I’d like for people to show a picture of me pulling out my wallet or putting something on my tab. These things don’t exist. People say things that aren’t accurate.”

The dogged and tireless Brooks of SportsByBrooks.com, who reported earlier in the week that checks with Talbott’s name on them had been deposited into Pryor’s bank account, reported early Friday morning that a now-defunct, unregistered-in-the-state-of-Ohio website called varsityomem.com had been selling signed OSU memorabilia — including Pryor items — going back several years.  A “Varsity O Memorabilia” Facebook page, last updated two months ago Brooks writes, “features some of the product procured by Talbott over the years from dozens of Buckeye football and basketball players.”  According to Brooks, Talbott was the only registered owner of the varsityomem.com website.

Additionally, the Plain Dealer reported that Pryor and another unnamed Buckeye football player had in the past played golf on at least five occasions with Talbott at a Columbus-area country club.  Because of Talbott’s membership at the club, Pryor and the unnamed player were permitted to play for free, which would constitute impermissible benefits and an NCAA violation.

That’s not exactly the way Talbot sees it, however.

Talbott said he did not golf with the players that many times, adding, “Even if I golfed with him, it’s not an NCAA violation.” Talbott said he never paid for any players to golf with him.

Finally, and something that may or may not be apropos of anything, Talbott drives around in a Buckeyes-themed vehicle with vanity plates that read… wait for it… “T PRYOR”.

Now, I don’t know the extent of Talbott’s relationship with Pryor or if any NCAA violations were committed because of the relationship, but I do know, beyond a shadow of a doubt, that a 40-year-old, grown-ass man willingly driving around with a college football player’s name on his license plates pegs and obliterates the “creepy” meter.

South Alabama announces future home-and-home with Louisiana Tech

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If you’ve been thinking, “boy, I sure could use some scheduling news involving South Alabama and Louisiana Tech,” are you ever in luck.

South Alabama Wednesday announced a future home-and-home series with Louisiana Tech. The Bulldogs will head to Hancock Whitney Stadium in Mobile on Sept. 24, 2022.  The Jaguars will then take a trip to Ruston’s Joe Aillet Stadium on Sept. 25, 2027.

South Alabama and Louisiana Tech have squared off twice previously.  Those two matchups were part of a home-and-home in 2017 and 2018.  Both of those were wins for the Bulldogs.

USA had previously announced a home-and-home with Ole Miss.

South Alabama is coming off a 2-10 season in the second year under Steve Campbell.  The Jaguars have never finished above .500 since making the move to the FBS level in 2012.  The closest they came was a 6-6 record in 2013.

Louisiana Tech, meanwhile, is coming off a 10-3 2019 campaign.  The 10 wins set a school record as an FBS program. In beating Miami 14-0 in the 2019 Independence Bowl, Tech became the first Group of Five school to shut out a Power Five member in a postseason game.

In seven seasons under skip Holtz, the Bulldogs have gone 56-36.  Those are the most wins for a Bulldogs head coach since Tech moved up to the Div. I-A, now FBS, level.  With 151, Joe Aillet holds the school’s all-time record.

Eastern Michigan adds a tight end to its 2020 recruiting class

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Like Boise State and Nebraska before it, Eastern Michigan continues a late filling of its 2020 football recruiting class.  Even as its eyes are mostly on the 2021 class.

Eastern Michigan football Wednesday that its has officially signed tight end Lucas Luft as part of its Class of 2020.  With Luft’s signing, the Eagles now have a class that’s 24 recruits strong.

Luft spent the past two seasons at Fullerton College.  In 2018, Luft was a first-team All-Southern California Football Association selection after averaging a ridiculous 31.5 yards per catch.

According to 247Sports.com, Luft is the No. 17 JUCO tight end in this year’s class.  He’s also a three-star signee according to that recruiting service.

“In Lucas, we have found exactly what we were looking for,” said head coach Chris Creighton. “He’s a tough 6-foot-6, 250-pound tight end that can really stretch the field and catch. He was an excellent wide receiver in high school and has grown into a man who can do it all. Best of all, he is the kind of person we look for off the field. He is a great fit for Eastern Michigan football.

Eastern Michigan now holds the No. 7 football recruiting class in the MAC.

EMU is coming off a 6-7 campaign that ended with a QuickLane Bowl loss to Pitt.  The Eagles have now played in a bowl game three of the past four years, the only time in school history that’s ever happened.

Creighton’s 28 wins (in six seasons) are already fifth-most in the program’s history.

At least five Alabama football players have reportedly tested positive for coronavirus

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For once, Alabama and Marshall have something in common when it comes to football.

Earlier this week, it was reported that a pair of Marshall football players had tested positive for coronavirus.  The positive tests came after the Thundering Herd players had returned to campus for voluntary workouts.  Both of those individuals were placed in quarantine.

After being allowed to by the SEC, Alabama football players began returning for voluntary on-campus workouts Monday.  Four days later, it’s now being reported that at least five Alabama football players have tested positive for COVID-19.

All of the Crimsin Tide players who tested positive are asymptomatic.  Based on protocol, all of those have been isolated from the rest of the team. Al.com wrote that “[a]t least one of the players who tested positive for COVID-19 was in attendance for player-led workout sessions on Tuesday and Wednesday.” Obviously, the players involved have not been named publicly.

One report, however, stated “that the list of players included a lineman, a couple of skill players and one quarterback.”

Thursday evening, Alabama released a statement that neither confirmed nor denied the reports.

The health and safety of our student-athletes is a top priority. Resources and protocols are in place to ensure they receive the best medical care when returning to campus. Due to privacy laws we cannot share information specific to the health of our student-athletes.

Chris Beaty Memorial Fund set up to honor ex-Indiana defensive lineman gunned down Monday

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Chris Beaty may be gone, but the former Indiana football player won’t be soon forgotten.

It was reported Monday that Beaty “was one of two men shot and killed in separate incidents over the weekend as violence erupted in Downtown Indianapolis.” The 38-year-old Beaty was shot multiple times shortly before midnight local time Saturday and was pronounced dead at the scene.

Chris Beaty was a defensive lineman for the Indiana Hoosiers football team from 2000-04.

This week, Beaty’s nephew, Jared Thomas, set up a GoFundMe page to honor his uncle’s legacy.  The goal of the fundraising page, Thomas wrote, is to collect “donations in his memory to the Chris Beaty Memorial Scholarship Fund that will benefit Indiana University & Cathedral High School, his alma maters which he loved so dearly.”

As of this posting, more than $40,000 has been raised.

Despite being away from the Indiana football program as a player for nearly two decades, Beaty remained close to it.

HoosierHuddle.com wrote that “Beaty was still actively involved with IU football. He tweeted on April 26th a screenshot of head coach Tom AllenMark Deal and several other Indiana football alumni. He thanked Allen for checking in with the former players and said that IU football was in good hands.”

Included was a tweet from Beaty’s personal Twitter account.

“I am at a loss for words,” a statement from Allen began. “The news of the passing of Chris Beaty is just devastating. Since I returned home to coach at Indiana, Chris embraced me, encouraged me and supported me! His passion for life and Indiana Football energized me every time we were together. He was one of our first alumni that displayed his unwavering support for what we are building here at Indiana and how we are building it. I am so heartbroken for his family and he will be deeply missed by all those that were blessed to call him a friend! LEO”