Skull Session: The Hunt for Ohio State's $1 Million Man, Urban Meyer at the Height of His Powers, and Bri'onte Dunn Pleads Out

By D.J. Byrnes on February 7, 2017 at 4:59 am
Ohio State's Mike Weber eyes the February 7th 2017 Skull Session

Word of the Day: Tipple.


 THE HUNT FOR $1 MILLION. Ohio State has traditionally stayed away from shelling out the big bucks for assistants. While paying out north of a million dollars for an assistant used to be a big deal, Michigan is poised to pay three staffers such a salary this fall.

Change, it seems, is coming to Urban Meyer's program.


Ohio State's highest-paid assistant in 2016, Luke Fickell, made $750,000. Are the Buckeyes about to open up the check book to keep up with Michigan?

"It's gonna happen here one day," Ohio State athletic director Gene Smith told "We're gonna do our best to make sure we compensate people based on market performance. Our market in the Big Ten has been pretty stable. This will change it. When will it have it's effect? I can't project. But it will eventually."

Ohio State has three new hires -- offensive coordinator Kevin Wilson, quarterbacks coach Ryan Day and linebackers coach Bill Davis -- plus four other assistants who are due new contracts for the 2017 season.

Indiana will still pay Kevin Wilson not to coach its football team, so perhaps he'll come with a player's price like Greg Schiano did last year.

Given the Tampa Bay Buccaneers no longer pay Schiano not to coach them, though, that discounted price is probably at an end. I'll be shocked if his new contract doesn't shatter that threshold.

 THE #BRAND, THE #BRAND, #THE BRAND. Dabo Swinney and Clemson put Meyer and Ohio State in a shallow desert grave next to the bloated corpses of DEA agents Hank Schrader and Steven Gomez (peace be upon them).

But you wouldn't know that unless you consulted the tape (and why would you do that?) because Ohio State reeled in another top-five class and will do the same in 2018.

For Meyer, everything he has preached on the recruiting trail has come to fruition.


The national championship and the NFL success aren’t the only factors, of course, and Ohio State’s Real Life Wednesday program and track record of setting up impressive internships have been key components as well. But when it comes to making an impression with the elite prospects, nothing resonates quite like winning and professional development.


“Since day one we always wanted to recruit guys that are not only great kids who want to do great things after football, but who want to play in the NFL,” said Mark Pantoni, director of player personnel. “Those are the kids we’re looking for from day one, and we're going to continue to do that.

“Starting with the national championship and then almost a year ago in April at the NFL draft, seeing all those guys walk across the stage has really lifted our platform probably on a more national level to be able to open these kids’ eyes a little bit more to Ohio State.”

I'm old enough to remember people claiming the Fiesta Bowl would lead Meyer to "fake another heart attack." Ohio State's enemies won't be faking when it's November and they look up to see the local team back in the playoff hunt. (Yeah, you're damn right it's the middle of February and we're talking playoffs.)

 TWO YEARS IS LONGER THAN YOU THINK. Ohio State quickly severed senior running back Bri'onte Dunn last summer when Dunn's girlfriend accused him of domestic violence.

That case culminated yesterday in the Franklin County Courthouse.


A former Ohio State University running back was in court Monday and was placed on probation Monday for two years for assaulting his then-girlfriend last year.

Bri'onte Dunn, 23, pleaded no contest to a misdemeanor count of assault in Franklin County Municipal Court. He was convicted and sentenced by Judge Eileen Paley.

A misdemeanor count of domestic violence was dismissed as part of the plea. He was ordered to stay away from the victim as a condition of probation.

Dunn avoided jail time, which apparently means he'll chase what's left of his football dreams. Here he is, Monday afternoon, working out with the Advocare salesman/trainer that committed a minor NCAA violation with Braxton Miller:


One day at a time #DSE

A video posted by Bri'onte Dunn  (@briontedunn25) on


 THE NEXT WHO? Breaking: Running back Mike Weber wants J.T. Barrett benched.

Joe Burrow is hilarious and not a corporate robot, so he has my blessing to supplant Tom Brady. If it takes him never playing a meaningful snap in Columbus to win five Super Bowls, so be it.

As Michigan fans have shown with Brady, we can still act like he won four Heismans regardless.

 BE AFRAID P.J.'s. When it comes to "garbage subs," Cluck-a-Doodle-Doo destroyed P.J's Grill during my time as a student, and it pleases me to see Cluck continue their dominance.

In fact, Cluck makes so much money its bosses apparently can't spend it quick enough:

P.J.'s should thank its subpar garbage subs that it's located across the street from Out-R-Inn. 

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