Skull Session: Four-Star QB Flips from Michigan State, Zone-6 Versatility, and the Importance of Jonathon Cooper

By D.J. Byrnes on June 25, 2018 at 4:59 am
Mike Weber stiff arms the June 24 2018 Skull Session

We're getting this Monday out of the way like three-star CB Tyrik Henderson:

ICYMI: Big news on the recruiting front.

​Word of the Day: Verboten.

 CHOOSE YOUR POKÉMON. My early forecast of Ohio State's 2018 offense: Good, extremely good.

You could start with the quarterback, the offensive line, or the thoroughbreds in the backfield. But don't sleep on the receivers.

They will be the most talented group of the Meyer era. And almost as importantly, they all offer unique skills.

From Tim May of The Columbus Dispatch:

The way the Buckeyes spread the ball around last season — five of the wide receivers had 23 or more catches — each had to make sure he made the most of an opportunity. It promises to be the same this year.

Of the 10 wide receivers or hybrid backs who caught a pass last year, nine are back (Trevon Grimes transferred to Florida). Hill, Campbell, McLaurin, Mack, Dixon, C.J. Saunders, Victor, Demario McCall and Jaylen Harris are an eclectic group, with McCall and Harris having made bids in the spring to become a bigger part of the rotation in the fall.

“I think it’s definitely to our advantage, just having so many weapons with guys who can do so much,” Campbell said. “I’m able to make short passes into big, explosive plays, and we have other guys who are able to take the top off the coverage and catch 80-yard bombs, touchdown passes.

I'm looking forward to the 80-yard bombs, my friends. I'm not sure why Meyer doesn't call that play every time, though I'll defer to him on the matter.

If the Buckeyes establish a consistent deep threat, there won't be a team capable of defending them for four quarters unless the play calling devolves back into 2015. And yes, I apologize for reminding you this early in the morning of that snafu.

 OL' JON COOP KEEPS HAMMERING AWAY. Nick Bosa and Chase Young will get the hype this preseason, which is fine because it's not really hype if players meet or exceed expectations.

Both players are testaments to Meyer's national recruiting strategy. Just don't forget about another defensive end who came to Columbus from just outside the 270 outerbelt.

Folks call him Jonathon Cooper.


The path is finally clear for Cooper to have a substantial role on the defensive line. Tyquan Lewis, Jalyn Holmes and Sam Hubbard have gone on to the NFL. Nick Bosa is back, and Young is moving up too. Those two and Cooper form the rotation now. They'll try to sort out a fourth guy in camp (Tyreke Smith and Jashon Cornell are the two guys to watch there). 

But Cooper is in now, which is a long time coming for a former high four-star prospect. His slow trek to this point is less about him and more about what was in front in from. Now Cooper gets to remind people that he was a borderline top-30 national player in the 2016 recruiting class. 

Not sure what's more absurd, a borderline top-30 commitment having to wait years to get his chance or that he's still only the third-most hyped player at his position.

Defenses can't double team Bosa, Young, and Cooper. If Cooper appears in the Rushmen package, and right now there's no reason to think he won't, he should be able to abuse interior linemen with speed.

I've been a fan of Cooper since he signed. Some say I was the first Buckeye fan to say he would be good. I'm not sure they're correct but I was at least No. 2 or 3.

 FLASH BACK. Here's a feel good story: Kent State wide receiver Antwan Dixon has returned to the Flashes football team after a bone marrow transplant sidelined him for 14 months.


In Antwan Dixon’s own words, “the sad story is over.” 

On June 10, just under 14 months after receiving a life-saving bone marrow transplant from his father, Dixon was medically cleared to rejoin the Kent State football team after passing a rigorous series of tests conducted by both personal and team doctors. 

“I’m Antwan Dixon again,” said a smiling Dixon, who spoke between workouts on June 14 in Kent. “I’m normal again. It’s go time.” 

Dixon suffered from aplastic anemia, a rare blood disease that causes one’s bone marrow to stop making new blood cells. The condition first struck Dixon during his junior year at South Fort Myers High School in Florida, then returned following his freshman season with the Golden Flashes. He did not play football or take classes at KSU in the fall of 2016 as his condition worsened, forcing him to return to his Florida home. 

Shoutout to Papa Dixon. Most fathers would give more than marrow to save their son's life. That procedure still ain't a stroll through a splendiferous countryside.

My mediocre son asked me for marrow once. I laughed and told him Starcat gets all my wealth.

 MARYLAND INVESTIGATES DEATH. Maryland has appointed a special investigator to get to the bottom of the death of offensive lineman Jordan McNair, who collapsed last month at a team workout.


One of the most respected figures in sports athletic training has been hired to conduct a review into the death of Maryland football player Jordan McNair.

Former South Carolina trainer Rod Walters will oversee what has been termed an "external review" of the death, the school announced Tuesday.

McNair collapsed May 29 at a team workout. He was hospitalized and received a liver transplant before passing away June 13.

Walters runs his own consulting business -- Walters, Inc. -- which has worked extensively with colleges as well as both Major League Baseball and the National Football League. From 1997-2003, he was on the board of directors of the National Athletic Trainers Association.

Credit to the Terps for doing the right thing. Hopefully it was a freak accident and not criminal negligence by people who should have known better.

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