Skull Session: Ellijah Gardiner's Mission, Ohio State Adds New Media Staffer, and a Rutgers Complaint

By D.J. Byrnes on June 19, 2017 at 4:59 am
Brutus and Kerry Coombs celebrate the 2014 championship for the June 19 2017 Skull Session

Another weekend with no scandalous news from the Woody Hayes Athletic Center. The death march to the season continues despite the grotesquery of psychopaths huffing golf and baseball to pass the time.


Word of the Day: Bumptious.

 TEXAN ON A MISSION. Four-star 2017 wide receiver Tyjon Lindsey became the first and probably last prospect to flip from Ohio State to Nebraska back in January. Such are the breaks in the recruiting world, and it left the Buckeyes scrambling at receiver.

They solved the problem by flipping Ellijah Gardiner out of Kemp, Texas (population: 1,500) from Missouri with the ease of a Waffle House Rock Star Grill Operator bringing your diced and peppered hash browns to a golden crisp.

From the local beat G.O.A.T. Tim May of

“I’m just going to keep my head straight, keep my nose down and working, really, competing for a spot to play my freshman year coming in,” Gardiner said.


That the Buckeyes found him is an example of the depth to which OSU player personnel director Mark Pantoni’s staff goes in compiling prospect lists, and to the reach Meyer and his staff now have due in large part to his reputation as a head coach and to the run to the 2014 national title.

“When we first got here, that probably wouldn’t have happened, and with getting J.T. Barrett (from Wichita Falls, Texas, in 2013) — it’s regional, the success, like when you start pulling Vonn Bell and Raekwon McMillan, other kids from Georgia listen,” Meyer said.

A teammate said he's 6'5" and runs a 4.39.

And there will forever be playing time in Urban Meyer's system for a guy who can routinely beat cornerbacks and high-point a football. Devin Smith rode that ability to a second-round draft pick, and Ohio State hasn't someone as good as him (at that) since he left.

If Gardiner handles the business in the weight room this summer, maybe he's the guy. As a wise sportswriter once wrote, ONLY TIME WILL TELL.

 NEW MEDIA MONSTER GROWS BIGGER. Ohio State's new media team, which lists juggernauts in its stable such as Kenton Stufflebeam, Sammy Silverman, and Zach Swartz, added another member Sunday night:

Of note from his profile: Robinson lists past employment with Clemson. Meyer routinely praised Clemson's new media use as a team they keep an eye on while evaluating their recruiting.

He should fit right in.

 THERE'S THE DOOR. Rutgers athletics were in a financial world of hurt before Jim Delany descended from the heavens and offered them Big Ten membership. 

Since joining, Rutgers has been bad at pretty much everything. It's spending money on coaches and facilities, but it's even incompetent in that too.

And for one more year, the Scarlet Knights will receive less conference revenue than Jim Delany's $20 million bonus.


Big Ten rival Michigan revealed this week that, thanks to the league's new TV contract, it is expecting a payout of $51.1 million from the conference in 2017-18. That is the same chunk of cash that Ohio State, Indiana, Illinois and the rest will add to their coffers.

But not Rutgers. The Scarlet Knights are projected to get just $11.6 million. As the athletic department races to build the facilities needed to compete in the conference, it will receive just one-fifth of the revenue that its well-heeled rivals are banking.

That will change in the coming years, of course. Rutgers will get $14.9 million in 2018-19 and $19.3 million in 2019-20, and then -- finally -- it will get a full share of that revenue pie in 2020-21. 

What I respect Rutgers in that everyone hates them. It's a feeling I know well from whenever I force myself into interactions with friends I alienated in my mid-20s when I spent a couple years grifting down in Louisiana.

But this is the deal they negotiated, and Delany put them over the rack, as what happens in every negotiation involving the rich and the poor. Sure, it puts the Knights further behind their peers in the short-term, but it's not like they did anything to build the #brand into what it is today.

And in a couple years, they'll get as much as Ohio State. That should bring embezzlement charges.

 SEX-HAVERS COMING THROUGH. It's been 24 hours and I'm still not over this quarterback of Jim Tressel as a strapping lad at Baldwin-Wallace.

One look into those steely eyes makes what happened at Ohio State feel like destiny.

 NICKNAME ORIGIN EXPLAINED. If elected governor of Ohio, I will executive order the tossing out of all government names. We will all adopt monikers.

Huber Heights (which residents will slit your throat if you conflate it with Dayton) wide receiver L'Christian "Blue" Smith gets it.

From Tony Gerdeman of

Could get a little awkward for one week a year, but it doesn't get better than that for an origin story.

 THOSE WMDs. Confessions of a cartel hitman... A high school coach's legacy remains... Improbable life of Paula Zoe Helfrich... The Six Day War... Whistleblower could make $600 million.

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