Quite the controversy bubbled to the surface late last weekend when it was reported that Jamel Dean, a 2015 signee who enrolled early at Ohio State, had failed a physical and wasn’t cleared for participation by the OSU medical staff because of knee issues. The football program was willing to sign off on a medical waiver and allow Dean to stay on scholarship — that wouldn’t count against the 85-scholarship limit — but the move to disqualify Dean set numerous people off, not the least of which was Dean’s high school coach.
“It’s about taking care of a kid who was committed to you for 18 months, and you’re pushing him out before he even got an opportunity. He didn’t get a chance to do anything,” Cocoa (Fla.) High School’s John Wilkinson said. “They’re saying they’re going to honor his scholarship, but honoring his scholarship doesn’t allow him to play the game he loves to play. It’s all ridiculous and I don’t appreciate them treating my kid this way. I’m sticking up for my kid. He was committed to them, but yet they’re not fully committed to him.”
In his most extensive comments since the hubbub erupted, Urban Meyer, not so unexpectedly, very vociferously defended the decision to medically disqualify the four-star defensive back, saying “I grade us an A-plus.”
Meyer also addressed the comments made by Dean’s high school coach, explaining that, in his mind at least, there was an open door of communication throughout the entire process.
“I was just disappointed because there was constant communication with both schools. I think since (then) it has been cleared up,” the head coach said.
“Ohio State was absolutely forthright in everything that they did. We were crushed when we found out he was DQed, but we’re not really allowed to come out publicly and talk details about the situation. We’re trying to help the young guy out. We’re giving him a quarter million dollar scholarship (estimated cost of a full out-of-state scholarship) to stay on at Ohio State for four years and graduate.”
Part of the criticism of Meyer, the former Florida head coach, was that it looked to some that the coach was doing some SEC-style pruning to get his scholarship roster at the 85-man limit, which prompted him to state flatly that “I was shocked, to be honest with you. I was like ‘I’m not sure where that came from,’ because we’ve done right by Jamel.”
Despite the fact that Dean had already been attending classes at OSU, he would still be permitted to transfer to another FBS football program and be eligible to play immediately in 2015. Provided, of course, he can pass the physical.
Even with the medical issues there shouldn’t be a lack of suitors for Dean as he was rated as the No. 35 cornerback in the country and the No. 55 player at any position in the talent-rich state of Florida by Rivals.com.