Skull Session: Buckeyes Bulked Up By Coach Mick, Terry McLaurin a Draft Day Steal, and C.J. Walker is Ready to Play Next Year

By Kevin Harrish on March 6, 2019 at 4:59 am
It's Ryan Daytime in today's Skull Session.

Today is the day – spring practice is here.

The first hour of practice is open to us media folks beginning at 8:30, then Ryan Day will hold a press conference at approximately 11:15 a.m. followed by media availability for some players.

For you Twitter users, be sure you're following Dan Hope, Colin Hass-Hill and Taylor Lehman for updates, photos, videos and all of the good stuff you need to aid in your time theft at work today.

Also, the Basketbucks are going to try to win a game without Kaleb Wesson again, even though it did not go too hot last time.


Word of the Day: Nepenthe.

 BULKING SZN. Mickey Marotti's job is essentially to get the players bodies the exact shape, size and dimension they need to be to ensure peak performance at their position.

Oftentimes, that means bulking them the hell up.

For example, Zach Harrison – who was already one of the most physically impressive human beings my eyes have ever seen – has already gained 10 pounds since his arrival in December (and one inch, apparently).

And that wasn't close to the most insane physical transformation so far this offseason.

I can't imagine the work that goes into changing your body like that, but I'm sure it's worth it. Ask Darron Lee.

 BIGGEST DRAFT STEAL. Earlier this week, I mentally put myself in the shoes of an NFL GM and tried to talk myself out of drafting Terry McLaurin. I couldn't do it.

I was glad to learn that others felt similarly. Alex Kirshner of wrote a piece arguing that McLaurin is going to be the biggest steal of the draft.

If you 1,100 words of Terry McLaurin swoon were what you were looking for on this fine Wednesday, it's a fantastic read complete with graphics and gifs. Here are the most compelling points, in my humblest of opinions:

Advanced stats say Ohio State’s Terry McLaurin is one of the best receivers in the 2019 NFL Draft.

Among FBS receivers in this class, McLaurin was first in 2018 in Marginal Efficiency, the advanced stat by SB Nation’s Bill Connelly that measures how successful a throw to a receiver is based on the down and distance. (For instance, a 10-yard completion on third-and-8 is more efficient than a 12-year completion on third-and-20.) He was seventh in the class in Marginal Explosiveness, which similarly measures how successful his successful targets are. Nobody fared better across both departments.

Traditional numbers like McLaurin a lot, too.

He caught 71 percent of his targets, ninth-best in the class. He averaged 14.3 yards per target, No. 1 in the class. He caught 11 touchdowns, tied for sixth-most. It helped to play in an elite Ohio State offense quarterbacked by Dwayne Haskins, but there’s no statistical indicator that McLaurin’s anything other than a star.

But he’s not going to be a Day 1 or maybe even Day 2 pick. While McLaurin drew positive reviews out of the Senior Bowl in January, he’s lagged behind a bunch of his peers in draft hype.’s scouting report says he has backup or special teams potential.

NFL Combine testing likes him a lot, too.

Maybe that’ll go up some after McLaurin ran a 4.35-second 40-yard dash at the combine (fifth among receivers), repped 18 times on the bench (tied for 10th), and broad-jumped 125 inches (tied for ninth). At 6’, his measureables and athletic testing are closely aligned with some good players (like Pierre Garcon) and some bad (like Breshad Perriman). But he’s certainly one of the most athletic players in the class.

And here's what does it for me: those are all physical, wide receiver things. And I'd argue those traits, while impressive, are not even what make Terry so valuable. You could argue his biggest assets are his leadership, his work ethic, his intelligence and his blocking a special teams ability.

So if you aren't even considering those in this analysis, he's better than you even think he is.

 REMEMBER C.J. WALKER? If I'm being honest, I straight up forgot C.J. Walker even existed for most of this season. It's nothing against him, because I probably would have done illegal things to get him eligible to play this season, but in the frustrations of this year's team and the hype of next year's freshmen, I just sort of forget.

But the cool thing about it is, every time I remember him, I get excited all over again, because the combination of him and D.J. Carton is going to be incredibly fun to watch next season.

From Adam Jardy of the Columbus Dispatch:

Next year, he will be the most experienced ball-handler on a team that will return sophomore guards Luther Muhammad and Duane Washington Jr. while adding five-star freshman point guard DJ Carton.

“He’s had a good attitude,” Holtmann said of Walker. “I think he has missed playing and missed the competitive stuff, because he’s a really good competitor. We’ve needed him in practice as a guy who can push our guys, and that’s been tremendous. I think he’s learned our system, which has been really good.”


The Buckeyes added a commitment from Carton after Walker had already transferred in, but he said he’s excited to play with the freshman.

“I feel like that will be a really good combo, me and him being in the backcourt whether I’m playing the 1 or the 2 and him vice-versa,” he said. “I feel like he’ll bring a different type of energy to the team. That’s something we also need, somebody able to run the wing and be able to make shots and get out in transition.”

So whatever happens tonight, know that this is the future. And it's a happy future.

 WHAT ARE YOU DOING, CARDINALS? It looks like the Cardinals are really going to do it. They're really going to draft Kyler Murray with the No. 1 overall pick.

I know it's been pretty widely speculated the past couple of days, but I just chose not to believe it to give them the benefit of the doubt. But now, it's almost impossible to ignore because pretty much every mock draft – including Matt Miller's and Daniel Jeremiah's – now has Kyler Murray going No. 1 overall and Vegas is now giving him 1/2 odds of going No. 1 overall.

So here's where we're at: the Cardinals are going to pass on can't-miss prospect at the edge – a position of need – in favor of a short, high-risk quarterback who nobody else in the top-six wants who was expected to be a professional baseball player two months ago and apparently had an epically bad performance during the interviews at the combine.

And then, they're going trade away the guy they drafted in the top-10 last season and likely get far less than he's worth in return.

I really wanted to root for Kliff Kingsbury at the next level, but he's just making it so hard. This pick was damn near impossible to screw up, even if he didn't choose Bosa, but here he is, somehow screwing up.

 IT'S ME, DEMARIO. Demario McCall hasn't gotten a ton of meaningful snaps in his Ohio State career so far, but that hasn't stopped him from working his ass off in practice, even when it isn't his turn to work his ass off.

As a well-documented Demario McCall lover, I'm stoked to see how Ryan Day unleashes him this year, now that there's room in the offense.

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