Skull Session: Scouts Rave About Jeff Okudah, Ohio State's Defense Creates Mayhem, and Joe Burrow Leads the Nation

By Kevin Harrish on October 14, 2019 at 4:59 am
Greg Studrawa is looking at his players in today's skull session.

Reminder: Everything's moved up a day this week. So we all get a Ryan Day presser at noon.

Happy Monday!


Word of the Day: Puerile.

 ANOTHER ONE. If you want to know what an embarrassment of riches looks like, Jeff Okudah might be the best cornerback ever to come through Ohio State, but he's probably just the second-best player on the current defense and probably gets less ink than at least two players on offense.

He's a generational talent, but he's also teammates with a lab experiment at defensive end, a Heisman contender at quarterback and a record-hunter at running back. So somehow, he's flying under the radar.

But that doesn't mean NFL scouts aren't salivating.

From Matt Miller of Bleacher Report:

What if I told you there was a Jalen Ramsey-type cornerback prospect roaming the halls at Ohio State? That's what NFL scouts believe the Buckeyes have in junior Jeff Okudah. 

"Pat Pete. Ramsey. Whoever you want to compare him to, go ahead," said one area scout tasked with scouting Ohio State. "He's better than any dude that's come out of there."


"We're talking about a kid who enrolled early and was a scholar athlete as a true freshman," said the area scout. "At most schools he starts right away, but [Ohio State] had Denzel Ward and Kendall Sheffield in there. He's the most naturally gifted cornerback I've seen since Ramsey—but he's not going to worry you with his mouth."


Following a 2019 class with just one cornerback (Deandre Baker) drafted in Round 1, Okudah has a chance to be a top-three pick, besting his former teammate Ward (2018 No. 4 pick).

"I was there for Ward and Marshon. Okudah is what would happen if you combined their positive traits," said a former Ohio State assistant coach.

Ohio State's had seven cornerbacks drafted in the past six years with five of them going in the first round and two in the top 10 and we're out here talking about Okudah as decidedly the most talented of the bunch.

Folks, we've got nine games left. Let's enjoy him.

 MAYHEM HAPPENS. The Silver Bullets ain't just stopping opposing offenses from moving the ball, they're doing the damn attacking themselves.

The Buckeyes lead the country in creating tackles for loss, sacks, interceptions or fumbles on a given play – by a pretty wide margin.

That's a mayhem play every five snaps, which is probably more than one per offensive possession.

So basically, a given starting quarterback can start any drive knowing that at some point, there will be a sack, tackle for loss, interception or a fumble. I admire their tenacity for even going out there.

 TURNING IT ALL AROUND. I don't think I've ever been more sincerely upset that an high school player didn't end up at Ohio State than I was about Lynn Bowden Jr., and if you watched Kentucky take on Arkansas on Friday (and that is a gigantic if) you saw why.

Bowden – a receiver and punt returner – filled in at quarterback for the Wildcats and basically was their entire offense, going 7-for-11 passing for 78 yards and a touchdown with  24 carries for 196 yards and two touchdowns on the ground.

He's a monster. But there are more than a few reasons he never ended up at Ohio State.

From Kyle Tucker of The Athletic ($):

Bowden knows exactly how he looked to Ohio State and other outsiders back then. His father wasn’t around most of his life. Several family members were in and out of jail. He had an aversion to schoolwork and an affinity for “running the streets,” as he calls it.


“Gang member,” Bowden says. “That was the rumor, yep, mmmmmhmmmm.” 

Totally unfounded? 

“I mean,” he says, shifting in his seat, “I wouldn’t say gang member. It was just, like, a family thing. We all ran together and we all did stuff together. Just a group of North Side boys.” 

Doing what kind of stuff? 

“Fighting, smoking, carrying guns,” he says.

So a little bit like a …

“Gang, yeah,” he concedes. 


Eventually, Bowden started to give up on himself. He thought about quitting football. He essentially quit school. If his appearance and the whispers about gang affiliation didn’t scare off Ohio State, his transcript certainly did. There was major concern about whether he could qualify academically to play Division I football – a question that wouldn’t be answered until just a few weeks before the first game of his freshman season at Kentucky. 

So, yeah – those are solid reasons to be skeptical. But Bowden has more than turned his life around, and is now a quality student, a loving father and was even one of Kentucky's three representatives at SEC media days.

If you've got a subscription, this story is a must-read. He may be at Kentucky now, but he's an Ohioan making Ohio proud.

 YO, JOE BURROW. We're eight weeks into the college football season and Joe Burrow isn't still looking like a legit superstar gunslinger.

Burrow currently leads the nation in completion percentage (79.6) and quarterback rating (218.1) and is second in passing yards (2,157) and passing touchdowns (25). He's literally the best quarterback in the country at this point.

And the hilarious thing is, we can still talk about him fondly around these parts without much of any regret for how things transpired because Ohio State let the current best quarterback in the country just leave the team less than two years ago and still worked out better for them, even in full hindsight.

So good on you, Joe. Beat Bama, etc. ect. But just know that if we meet in January, you're getting folded across The Predator's shoulder. But with love!

 FREE MONEY ALERT. It looks like about 106,000 folks will be wearing white to a funeral on Saturday evening, and you have the unique opportunity of profiting from the public execution.

Penn State opens as an 8-point favorite over Michigan in Happy Valley and I'm going to do everything short of borrow cash from a sub-prime lender to stake on the Lions, because unless Michigan found a miracle cure to fumblitis, it's gonna get ugly.

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