Today, I officially inherit D.J.'s Skull Session throne as the rightful heir.
Like many of you, the Skull Session has been part of my daily routine for years.
I remember my first day on the job here, I realized I could read it before it even published. Excited to get a sneak peek, I clicked on it, and the first thing I read was an absolutely egregious error. Being an intern, first day on the job, I was too afraid of overstepping my bounds, so I just let it publish as is in the morning (sorry, D.J.).
Over the past three years, I've gotten quite a bit closer to D.J., to say the least. He's been a mentor to me, but more than that, we've become close friends and tag-team partners. We've collaborated on countless pieces, helped each other out in tough spots, and even tried our hands at stand-up comedy together.
I couldn't have made it this far without D.J., and I'm ecstatic and honored that I am the one to take over for him.
That said, I'm not D.J., I never will be, and I'm not going to try to be. I'm just Kevin, and that's what you're going to get from me. So let's get to it.
- Ohio State has had a light home slate of late, and that could hurt attendance.
- More than 100 former students report firsthand accounts of sexual misconduct committed by Richard Strauss.
- Have a tailgate recipe the world needs to know about? Submit it to the Official 11W Tailgate Cookbook.The author of the highest-voted recipe receives a $50 gift certificate to Eleven Warriors Dry Goods.
Word of the Day: Legatee.
GROUP TEXT AND THEY WILL COME. Ohio State's first commit of the 2020 class is trying to assemble a super hero squad the only way a millennial knows how – a group text.
Jake Wray became the first member of the Buckeyes' 2020 class in April, and immediately got to recruiting more, using a simple group message to connect other highly-rated prospects who have an interest in coming to Ohio State.
"I had this idea, what if our class could be more connected than any other class was at that stage? I'm committed to Ohio State. I'm the only commit. Let's see what I can do," Wray said. "I added a few people in there. There was a lot of buzz. It's all guys that are heavy on Ohio State, who we have a chance of getting."
The group features OSU's five commits in 2020: Wray, offensive tackle Paris Johnson Jr., center Luke Wypler, quarterback Jack Miller and cornerback Lejond Cavazos. It also features 25 to 30 of the top remaining targets -- players Pantoni has identified to Wray, receivers Miller has identified as his top targets, other offensive linemen to join an already loaded group, defensive linemen for Larry Johnson, players to join Cavazos in the secondary.
Here's a sampling: Five-star defensive Bryan Bresee, five-star running back Kendall Milton, four-star receiver Rakim Jarrett, four-star receiver Rashawn Williams, four-star linebacker Derek Wingo. Name a highly-ranked 2020 player with legitimate Ohio State interest, and he's probably in the group.
If Wray's scheme works, the Buckeyes could be headed for nation's top recruiting class for the first time since Urban Meyer's arrival – it's about time they started recruiting.
I also love to hear the Buckeyes are going after Bryan Bresee. I think he could be a real diamond in the rough in that class.
AARON CRAFT STILL PLAYS SCHOOL. I always assumed Aaron Craft would take the Craig Krenzel approach to medical school – don't do it. And honestly, I wouldn't blame him at all. I mean, it's not like he'd be brushing up on his organic chemistry between League Titles in Monaco with his eyes on a med school comeback.
Except he's Aaron Craft, so that's exactly what he was doing.
While Craft's focus is certainly on continuing to play the game he loves at a high level, he also has an eye on the future and to life after basketball. This should come to no surprise to anyone who knew Craft in college -- he graduated Ohio State with a degree in nutrition sciences and was a two-time Academic All-American -- where he always had an eye on a post-basketball career as a doctor. That dream has not changed.
"I’m working on continuing to pursue medicine in some capacity as well," Craft said. "I’m working on shadowing doctors and things like that. So if anyone wants me to come watch them and they have any help, let me know. I’m there."
According to Craft, he hasn't nailed down exactly what he plans to do in the medical field after basketball. While he wants to be a doctor, he hasn't had the time to line up all of the necessary requirements -- although he took the MCAT on Friday -- and is considering becoming a physicians assistant.
Am I to understand that Aaron Craft is asking the masses for help finding an unpaid internship? Man, these are rough times.
ELI APPLE GETS CLEAN SLATE. Eli Apple's had a rough time since arriving in the NFL, but much of that has nothing to do with football. This offseason, he's getting a chance to start clean and prove why he was the No. 10 overall pick in the first place.
As for Apple, there will be plenty of pressure to perform after he received the "clean slate" from the new regime. When Apple is at his best, he's given observers reason to believe he can develop into a front line player. When he has struggled, the former first-round pick seems to allow that uneven play to affect him. He's put together a strong offseason, but it will be a wait-and-see, considering Apple was outstanding last summer before spiraling during the regular season.
If he can refocus, Apple's a long, athletic, lock-down corner who could have a strong NFL career. There's a reason he started for a national championship team over a slew of eventual first-round picks and was selected in the top-10 of the NFL Draft.
REMATCH COMING. Last season, Ohio State edged Wisconsin by six points to win the Big Ten title, costing the Badgers a shot at a national title. The Big Ten media expects Wisconsin to have a shot at revenge.
In preseason balloting conducted by cleveland.com of 28 writers from around the Big Ten, Ohio State was picked by 14 voters to win the Big Ten this season, while Wisconsin received 13 votes and Michigan State picked up the final vote.
The Badgers were a unanimous choice to win the West after running through an undefeated regular season a year ago. The Badgers received all 28 first-place votes, while Iowa was a clear choice to finish second in the West.
In the East, Ohio State received 23.5 first-place votes, with one voter picking Ohio State and Michigan to tie for first. Michigan State got two first-place votes, Penn State got one and Michigan earned 1.5. The result was basically a three-way tie for second, as the Spartans, Nittany Lions and Wolverines were separated by 1.5. points.
So reading between the lines a bit, it's a near consensus that Wisconsin and Ohio State will play for the Big Ten title, but the vote is split 14 to 13 on who will win that game.
I honestly would have expected Ohio State to be a more clear favorite, but I guess folks are really riding with Alex Hornibrook this year.
VEGAS NO LONGER OFFERING FREE MONEY. When Bovada first released their 2018 regular season win totals, they set Ohio State's at an absurdly low 9.5 wins.
The over was free money. Urban Meyer wasn't losing three games for the first time in his Ohio State coaching career after recruiting the two best classes in program history.
It seems people took advantage of it because the line has now moved to a far more realistic 10.5.
The win-total line at Bovada has gone up for Ohio State. The early one certainly seemed low, and it looks like gamblers were smashing that over. pic.twitter.com/T1uZld9cJk
— Austin Ward (@AWardSports) July 20, 2018
Honestly, I'd still pound the over. Last year was the first time in six seasons Meyer finished with fewer than 11 regular season wins. That ain't happening twice.
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