Skull Session: Ohio State's Decision to Let Tate Martell Leave, Dwayne Haskins' Last Chance to Impress, and Chris Holtmann's Playing Days

By Kevin Harrish on March 20, 2019 at 4:59 am
Dwayne Haskins has a chance to show out for the scouts in today's Skull Session.

You never really know what to expect out of Ohio State's pro day.

Sometimes, nothing even remotely compelling comes out of it, other times you get Bill Belichick getting hands on leading the Buckeyes through some drills.

I don't know what today's gonna bring us, but I know Dan, Colin and Taylor will be at the Woody all day to observe, and I'll be at home with my cat to post.

If you're already feeling football deprived in March, Ohio State will allegedly have a live stream of the event on its website starting at around 11 a.m.


Word of the Day: Noetic.

 DAY LET TATE WALK. Tate Martell was granted immediate eligibility at Miami, and from the sound of it, a big reason why is that Ohio State did nothing to try to keep him on the team.

From Barry Jackson of the Miami Herald, who talked to Martell's attorney, Travis Leach, as well as anonymous Miami sources:

Leach, according to a UM source, made the case that after landing quarterback Justin Fields from Georgia, Ohio State made no efforts to keep Martell. This argument carried weight with the NCAA.

After Ohio State landed Fields, the relationship between Martell and the Buckeyes obviously was impacted, and “no efforts were made by Ohio State to rectify the feelings between the two,” the source said. “Tate felt it was in his and Ohio State’s best interests to transfer. Ohio State did not object to that or try to get him to change his mind.”


It was enormously helpful that Ohio State did not object to any of the contentions made by Leach in his presentation to the NCAA even though the Buckeyes were given the opportunity to do so.

Nor did Ohio State suggest that Martell shouldn’t be eligible this season.


Ohio State’s change of coaches, from Urban Meyer to Ryan Day, was not believed to be a major issue in convincing the NCAA to make Martell eligible.

It sounds like Ohio State knew very well that brining in Justin Fields would hurt its relationship with Tate Martell, and they had very little, if any interest in mending that relationship and keeping him around after the Fields addition ultimately happened.

Like it or not, modern college football is a business, and this just looks like an example of two parties making business decisions.

 GIANT PRESENCE AT PRO DAY. One of the biggest storylines of the draft has suddenly become whether or not the team we all assumed was going to draft Dwayne Haskins even has any interest in Dwayne Haskins at all.

Last week, a report trickled out that despite assumptions, the New York Giants weren't really all that interested in Haskins and weren't really even scouting him very closely.

We're in the thick of smoke screens and blatant lies season, so it's hard to tell when things like this are real or totally fabricated. But it looks like the Giants are going to get an up-close look at Haskins today, whether they're there specifically for him or not.

From Ryan Dunleavy of

Here is something new to add to the equation: Giants coach Pat Shurmur and offensive coordinator/quarterbacks coach Mike Shula both are scheduled to be at Ohio State Pro Day on Wednesday, according to a person with knowledge of the plans.


Of course, the Giants' significant presence at Ohio State is not necessarily a sign of commitment to Haskins.

Defensive end Nick Bosa — the presumptive No. 1 or No. 2 overall pick — defensive tackle Dre’Mont Jones, wide receivers Parris Campbell, Johnnie Dixon and Terry McLaurin, and offensive tackle Michael Jordan all warrant closer looks at positions of need for the Giants.

At this point, I have absolutely no idea where Haskins is going to end up. He could go anywhere between about pick No. 3 and pick No. 13 and I wouldn't be all that shocked.

But wherever he goes, I think he's going to play football well for that team, and so do a lot of other people smarter than me.

If I wasn't confident it would absolutely ruin his life, I'd be begging for my Cincinnati Bengals to take him. But he's done nothing to deserve that.

 NAIA LEGEND CHRIS HOLTMANN. I knew Chris Holtmann played at Taylor University, but I had no idea he dominated in the NAIA while he was there.

ESPN's Tony Moss ranked all 68 NCAA Tournament coaches as players, and he has Holtmann at a quite respectable No. 38, digging up some of his NAIA history, including his All-American honors.


38. Chris Holtmann, Ohio State Buckeyes -- Holtmann was an NAIA All-American guard at Taylor University in Upland, Indiana, with his best year coming in 1993-94, when he led the Trojans to a 25-9 record, a No. 1 national ranking and a berth in the NAIA tournament.

The Google machine led me to this fantastic photograph of Holtmann's playing days:

Chris Holtmann
From Jim Garringer/Taylor University.

At No. 38, Holtmann comes in just in front of Tom Izzo, who amazingly captained a college basketball team at an extremely generous height of 5-foot-9.

Even more amazingly, two coaches on this list didn't even play for their high school varsity teams, so maybe I can put my Upwards Basketball experience to a career after all. You'll know my team by the iron-on stars on their sleeves.

What I really want is a new list ranking these coaches based on basketball ability right now. Rank them, seed them, and give the people a one-on-one NCAA coaches tournament. I'd pay multiple dozen dollars to see that. Maybe more!

Plus, I'm sure at least half of these guys are still good enough that they could school my bum ass tomorrow, probably even Izzo. He's obviously short and now old enough that he looks like a cross between a bridge troll and Saul Goodman's dad, but I know there's no way he's losing to me and my GAP Kids body without a fight.

 CINCINNATI MAN SAYS CINCINNATI THINGS. If you've never lived in the southwest Ohio area and want a good illustration of what residents think about the central part of the state, here's a solid example.

Cincinnati head hoops coach Mick Cronin went on the most Cincinnati rant of all time when asked about playing an NCAA Tournament game in Columbus. The only way it could get better is if he somehow worked in his high school Alma Mater.

"Obviously, I'm teasing," he said with a blank-ass stare indicating he was absolutely not teasing.

The guy is still hurt by a decade-old event Ohio State fans barely remember that made his school feel small and inferior (because that's so hard to do). He also seems to bring up Ohio State completely unprompted (which is also very Cincinnati), and jumps immediately to the football team, as if anything from Cincinnati has been apples to apples with Ohio State football the past 100 years.

But this is all extremely on-brand coming from a guy who once whined about Ohio State ducking Cincinnati until they were down after the Buckeyes pasted the Bearcats by 22. And the assery seemed to rub off on one of his players, who blamed the 42-14 halftime deficit on his team not being too familiar with the rims or the feel of the ball.

Clearly Ohio State waited for an advantageous matchup once again this year, taking its fringe NCAA Tournament team down I-71 to beat the eventual AAC Tournament champs at home. I guess the rims and ball were flawed this time, too.

Also, the reason there's no Montgomery Inn in the Columbus area is because it went out of business two years ago.

 NCAA OUT OF TOUCH? NO WAY! Here's some strong evidence that the NCAA learned everything knows about the lives of its student athletes from EA Sports' NCAA Football 07.

This whole video is basically just the old Campus Legend game mode – the one where the little screen would pop up every simulated day giving you four options of studying, meeting with a tutor, working out, or hanging out with friends.

They just put it in promotional video form to try to portray the actual life of a college athlete. Shockingly, it did not go over well with anyone.

I, for one, am utterly amzed that the NCAA appears to be out of touch with its athletes. Who would have thought?

 PICK SOME GAMES, WIN SOME STUFF. PSA: This is your last full day to join our NCAA Tournament Challenge. So unless you're feeling like scrambling tomorrow morning, get on it.

Whoever tops the standings when the dust settles will win an Evan Turner signed Sports Illustrated cover, a Jared Sullinger signed basketball and $100 worth of stuff from Eleven Warriors Dry Goods.

You could win these!

For those expressing concern, do not worry, 11W staff are ineligible to receive the prize pack even though we'll also be competing, mostly for the sake of allowing you all kicking our asses.

But understand, on the off chance I win this thing, I'm going to be so unbearable online I won't even need that prize pack to feel joy anyway.

 LINK LOCKER. The art of the NCAA Tournament buzzer beater... Fresh roadkill has become cuisine in Kentucky and many more states... British teens left for dead on a snake-infested island after being ripped off by conmen... Fish from the Ohio river that once caught fire are now safe to eat... Dan Stoddard believes there is room in the NBA for a 42-year-old rookie... 

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