Skull Session: The Flip of Cameron Brown, The Potential of Alex Williams, and the Odyssey of O-Dog

By D.J. Byrnes on December 22, 2017 at 4:59 am
Demario McCall outruns the December 22nd 2017 Skull Session

What's the least productive Friday: The one following Thanksgiving or today? Folks, it's tough to say.


Word of the Day: Cthonic.

 THE ANATOMY OF A FLIP. Signing Day is a wild time. If Ohio State loses a recruit, then it's because the staff cooled on him or he couldn't qualify academically. He also probably doesn't know the definition of loyalty.

If Ohio State flips a prospect, he's a young gunner with huge upside that recognizes a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity.

Cameron Brown, not to be confused with his St. Louis Christian Brothers College teammate Kamryn Babb, flipped from Nebraska to the good guys. Brown is an elite route-runner with a knack for the big play.

After signing his papers, he detailed seeing the light.


"It's exciting. I always had Ohio State in my heart,” said Brown, 17. “I didn't know if I was the right fit. I figured out it's perfect for me. I feel like I can play in their system, they run the same one we run here at CBC.”

Brown had a monster senior season as he caught 58 passes for 931 yards and scored 13 touchdowns despite not playing in the state semifinal or final with an injury. He was a unanimous Class 6 first-team all-state selection by the Missouri Media and the Missouri Football Coaches Association.

The 6-foot-2 and 175-pound Brown verbally committed to Nebraska twice, but when it came time to put pen to paper he said Ohio State was where he leaned. Brown said he told Ohio State he'd sign with the Buckeyes following his official visit but choose not to make that announcement public. After decommitting from Nebraska the first time in June, Brown received death threats on social media.

I like Brown's tape. It's never a good idea on a betting a freshman wide receiver will see a lot of minutes at Ohio State (where Meyer prizes run blocking over catching), but it's good to see a mix of talent at receiver. I'm ready for a new crop.

 LATE SLEEPER. Back in the fall of 2014, Ohio State coaches called Luke Fickell and told him he should look at a West Virginia commit from Huber Heights (not to be conflated with Dayton; they'll kill you) named Robert Landers. It worked out for both parties involved.

With the Early Signing Day, it could eventually make stories like that extinct. But Ohio State managed to flip another Ohio product from West Virginia on National Signing Day in three-star defensive end Alex Williams from Pickerington North.

At 6-7, 250 pounds... Williams has the upside to play two positions of critical need.


But on Wednesday, coach Urban Meyer spoke first about him as a tight end. Ohio State’s depth at that position took a hit with A.J. Alexander forced to stop playing because of a knee injury and Kierre Hawkins’ transfer to Youngstown State.


“He worked out nonstop,” said his father, Dan. “He never misses a workout. He changed his diet. He put on 35 pounds of muscle. He did speed training/speed techniques and stayed in the weight room. His work ethic is like no other.”

Williams also is an excellent student. His parents said he has a 3.8 grade-point average.

Dublin, Upper Arlington, and Westerville get the shine, but don't sleep on Pickerington. That suburb is pumping out basketball and football talent.

If Jeremy Ruckert weren't already signed, I might tab Williams to make an earlier impact at tight end. Williams may take a year or two to earn tread at defensive end, but he'll be alright with that workout ethic under Mickey Marotti.

 HE SOUNDS SCARY. Some college football players commit based on path to the NFL. Others commit for the alumni network. Others commit to become racketeering kingpins.

Former USC player Owen "O-Dog" Hanson chose the last route. The former teammate of Matt Leinart and Reggie Bush went to the clink for 21 years after trademarking his moniker and using it to start a cthonic enterprise. The story is pretttty wild.

From The Washington Post:

“He ran his gambling business like drug dealers run the drug business,” a former customer told Rolling Stone. “If you’re short a little money they’ll kill you — that’s the attitude that he brought. It took all of us off guard. We are all educated . . . white dudes. We thought he was one of us, but he acted like an Italian gangster from Queens.”

Hanson eventually branched into drug dealing. The federal government would later accuse him of trafficking in cocaine, heroin, methamphetamine, MDMA, as well as selling anabolic steroids to pro athletes.

Court records indicate he collected around him a crew of enforcers with nicknames like “Tank” and “Animal.” Hanson named his crew after himself: “O-Dog Enterprise.” With his ill-gotten proceeds, Hanson built himself an opulent house in Redondo Beach, Calif., with a pool and the walls covered with a silver-plated AK-47 pressed with the Louis Vuitton logo.

Some day we're going to get a tell-all book or 30 for 30 about the Pete Carroll dynasty at USC. I don't know how old I'll be or where I'll be, but I know I'll be reading or watching it the moment it drops. I bet there are some mind-bending stories that rival the time J.R. Smith, Carmelo Anthony, Allen Iverson, Kenyon Martin, and Birdman all shared a locker room in Denver.

 MEYER ON HOW TO EARN AN OFFER. I may have shared this before. I'm not sure... the days and the posts, they run together at this point. 

But it's always offer season. For any aspiring athlete (or a parent of a future New York Giants first-round selection), here's Urban Meyer on how to earn an offer from the Buckeyes:

And remember, kids: It switched. Special teams are good now.

 THOSE WMDs. Monty Williams' life after tragedy... Education of Lyle May... The great Super Bowl jersey caper... Robert Gselleman's secret, exposed... CIA's classified beer of choice.

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