Skull Session: Draftable Buckeyes, Urban Meyer's Loathing For Losing, and Alabama's Recruiting Absurdity

By Kevin Harrish on December 21, 2018 at 4:59 am
Larry Johnson is the master of today's Skull Session.

Folks, it's Friday. Congratulations, it is here.


Word of the Day: Pecuniary.

 DRAFTABLE BUCKS. It's looking like the Rose Bowl is basically just going to be a prequel to the next few seasons of NFL football, especially on Ohio State's side.

From Dane Brugler of The Athletic ($) looked at every NFL Draft prospect in every bowl game this postseason, and Ohio State's list is predictably exhaustive.

There are a few dozen NFL prospects in this game, but the most intriguing matchup in my eyes is Ohio State redshirt sophomore QB Dwayne Haskins (6-3, 228, 4.77, #7) against one of college football’s best secondaries. With 4,580 passing yards, 70.2 percent completions and 51 total touchdowns, Haskins emerged as one of the best quarterbacks in the country this season, showing steady development each game. He hasn’t yet revealed his NFL decision, but it is very realistic that this is final game at the collegiate level.


When college head coaches are fired or move on, my initial thought goes to the underclassmen on that team and how the coaching change might affect their NFL decision. And with this being the final game for Urban Meyer, it will be interesting to see which Ohio State draft-eligible underclassmen choose to join RB Mike Weber (5-9, 215, 4.52, #25), DT Dre’Mont Jones (6-2, 288, 4.99, #86) and EDGE Nick Bosa (6-4, 265, 4.67, #97), who have already declared for the 2109 NFL Draft. It wouldn’t be surprising to see potential top-100 draft picks like WR K.J. Hill (6-0, 198, 4.47, #14) and OG/C Michael Jordan (6-6, 312, 5.30, #73) declare early.

However, it will be a tougher decision for players like DT Robert Landers (6-0, 290, 4.88, #67), LB Malik Harrison (6-2, 241, 4.78, #39), CB Damon Arnette (5-11, 198, 4.50, #3), CB Kendall Sheffield (6-0, 184, 4.38, #8) and SS Jordan Fuller (6-2, 208, 4.55, #4) – all of who could benefit with another season of development. Sheffield is the most interesting of that group because he doesn’t have a natural feel in coverage, but cornerback is a stopwatch position and his elite speed for his size will be enticing for NFL teams.

The most fascinating thing here, to me, are the 40-yard dash times. Brugler said he uses what NFL teams have on file – either a time from spring camp or an estimate. Either way, that means they're likely moderately legitimate.

If they're legitimate, Nick Bosa running a 4.67 is just unfair for someone who's also as technically good as he is. For reference, his brother ran a 4.86 at the combine and certainly does not lack athleticism.

Another absolutely eye-popping time is Kendall Sheffield – though that's a bit expected for a record-setting sprinter. If he enters the draft, I think there's a real chance two former Ohio State players run sub-4.4 40-yard dashes, with Parris Campbell being the second.

That's absurd.

 URBAN MEYER ON LOSING. Urban Meyer is very good at winning and he did it a lot. Unfortunately, he's also extremely, extremely bad at losing – so bad that it really didn't even matter how many games he actually won.

Meyer spoke to Jerod Smalley of NBC 4 about his high stress job, saying "I’m obviously the poster child for not how to handle it."


"For 13 years, I’ve been a head coach at mega programs – Florida and Ohio State. And we came out of the chute so fast at both places, what’s good enough? You know, we won 30-straight conference games here. I couldn’t tell you the 30. I could tell you the one we lost, and why and how and the play calls and everything. And that’s not healthy. I couldn’t tell you the other 30, and they were big wins – a couple of overtimes in there. But I could tell you the one loss against Michigan State in the driving rain storm that cost us a chance. We went 12-1 or 13-1 that year, and what happened? We lost the game. I’m not saying that’s healthy, but it is what it is.”

When it takes absolute perfection for you to just avoid being completely miserable, I think it's safe to say that's not a healthy situation. There aren't many built to survive in that environment, much less thrive for nearly a decade and a half.

Meyer is rare, but even he can't do it forever.

 BETTER THAN THE AVERAGE BAMA? Alabama is the king of college football and it doesn't look like the Tide are going away anytime soon. This year, the Tide have a per recruit average rating of 94.04 – which is insane.

That means the average Alabama signee is a four-star, top-140 prospect. To put that in perspective, Off Tackle Empire took a look at how many players each school signed that was better than the average player Alabama signed.

The results via

  • Only 33 FBS teams signed a recruit rated higher than the average Alabama signee/commit
  • Only 139 players in the country are rated higher than the average Alabama signee/commit
  • Alabama signed as many Above-Average-Bama-Guy-Guys as the entire PAC-12 and more than the entire ACC and Big 12. Only two entire conferences got more than Bama.
  • Wake Forest and Kansas have NEVER signed a recruit rated higher than Average Bama Guy
  • No Group of 6 teams signed an AABGG this year, and only nine have ever done so
  • You need to stop caring about the national championship if you want to enjoy this sport.

All of that is absurd, but the Buckeyes fared better than most other programs around hthe country.

Ohio State signed seven players better than or equal to the average Bama commit. Relative to everyone else, that's damn good. Relative to Bama, it's less than half.

Still, the Buckeyes are one of the few programs in the country that even somewhat keeps pace with the Crimson Tide. Since 2000, Ohio State has signed 145 players better than the average Bama 2019 commit, compared to Alabama's 166.

And Ohio State has actually signed two classes – 2017 and 2018 – where their average signee was rated higher than the average 2019 Alabama commitment.

Bama is the leader, but they don't have an impossible lead over everyone. Just mostly everyone.

 KARAN HIGDON SITTING OUT. Legendary Michigan running back Karan Higdon is sitting out the Peach Bowl.

I'm usually fully in support of the player in these situations, but this one left me scratching my head. Who exactly does he think he is?

Fourth round picks don't sit out bowl games. Especially New Year's Six bowl games.

If everyone at or above Karan Higdon's level of talent sat out this bowl season, we might have to cancel half the games. I'm not even sure some programs would be able to field a team.

I don't know. I guess I just empathize more with the guys holding mega millions tickets in their back pocket instead of Higdon's scratch off. It's not to say Higdon wouldn't be risking anything by playing in the bowl game, he'd just be risking a hell of a lot less than Devin Bush or Rashan Gary.

And to be fair, of all the people on earth to know that there are no guarantees in life, it's Karan Higdon.

 IOWA THROWING SHADE. Ohio State made a late push to land Iowa commit four-star linebacker Jestin Jacobs of Clayton, Ohio.

The Buckeye push fell short, and Jacobs stuck with Iowa. And once the paperwork was in, Iowa used its Twitter fingers to toss a subtle jab at Ohio State.

"Bucked the rest," huh?

I feel so weird about this. I want to talk about how Iowa has absolutely no business swinging at the king based on the actual on-field results of the past two decades, or so. But also on-field results are hard to talk about when their team curb stomped my team's teeth out the last time they played.

So I guess I will just keep quiet and let them have the teen and the Tweet.

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