Skull Session: Mark Pantoni Plans to Stay at Ohio Sate, The Best Teams Get Better, and Jeff Okudah and Chase Young Near Unanimous All-American Honors

By Kevin Harrish on December 19, 2019 at 4:59 am
Skull Session.

If you're looking for indications of how good yesterday's signing day was for the Buckeyes, we've got folks suggesting Ohio State could be simply too good for the Big Ten.

It ain't going to happen, but it's absolutely possible.

Word of the Day: Purlieu.

 PANTONI STAYING PUT. Ryan Day's going to get all the credit for this top-five recruiting class, but I'm going to go out on a limb and say that the dude who's been putting together top-five classes since Day was a receivers coach at Temple might have had something to do with it.

Day's been about as perfect as you could ask of a first-year head coach, but there's no chance he would have been this successful without some of the infrastructure Urban Meyer left behind, and that includes Mark Pantoni.

Don't get me wrong, Day did his work on this class and did it well, but the reality is that Ohio State wouldn't have a top-five recruiting class without Pantoni. But the good news is, he says he's not going anywhere – even if Meyer returns to coaching and comes calling.

People like strength coach and the head of football performance, Mickey Marotti; football operations head Brian Voltolini; head of player development Ryan Stamper; and Pantoni. They all followed Meyer from Florida. So what might happen if Meyer ever returns to coaching? Would the structure follow the old boss, or stay in the same place? If the chance arose, would Pantoni follow Meyer again?

“All I can say is that I know Urban loves this place, and he loves Ryan,” Pantoni told me in his office last week. “So I think he wouldn’t want to destroy this place, either. He’d definitely be considerate of Ryan and Ohio State for sure.”


“The number one goal in moving here was happiness for my family,” Pantoni said. “And so as long as that happiness is there, there’s no reason to leave. ... It a hundred percent feels like home, and hopefully home for a long time. That’s just how much we love it here.”

Pantoni essentially just said that Urban values Ohio State's success without him more than he would another program he was actually coaching. And the hilarious thing is, I don't completely doubt that.

 RICH GET RICHER. The bad news is, there ain't much parity in college football with five teams combining to sign two-thirds of all the available five-star prospects.

But the good news is, Ohio State is one of those five teams.

If you happen to be tired of pretty much the same teams making the College Football Playoff every year, well, sorry, but you might as well get used to it.

... has 33 players in the Class of 2020 rated as five-star recruits. A whopping 22 of them have either committed, or are predicted by Rivals experts, to sign with just five schools: Clemson (6), Georgia (6), LSU (4), Ohio State (3) and Alabama (3).

That’s five schools getting two-thirds of the very best recruits in America. And if those schools sound familiar, well, that’s because three of them (Clemson, LSU and Ohio State) are in this year’s playoff (along with Oklahoma), Alabama is a regular and Georgia has been in the running three straight years. 

I'm not sure it's good for college football at large for my team to be good every year, but I know it's sure good for me. I'll gladly take on the guilt of knowing that my program's existence is ruining college football for a collection of other fans (mostly to the north).

 NEARLY UNANIMOUS. Chase Young and Jeff Okudah are already consensus first-team All-Americans, but they're just one more list away from making it unanimous.

Both Buckeyes were named first-team All-Americans by the AFCA yesterday (though you didn't read about it on this website because the teens stole the day), meaning if they're on the FWAA first team, they move from consensus All-American status to unanimous All-American status.

Wyatt Davis, meanwhile, was also an AFCA first-team All-American after he was named a first-team AP All-American earlier this week. has a chance to slide into that consensus All-American category if he's

For those of you who have no idea what the hell any of that means, there are five All-American lists that determines consensus All-Americans:

  • Walter Camp
  • Associated Press (AP)
  • Sporting News
  • American Football Coaches Association (AFCA)
  • Football Writers Association of America (FWAA)

Landing yourself on any one of those lists earns you a tree in Buckeyes Grove, three makes you a consensus All-American and five makes you a unanimous All-American.

Personally, I think you should get a tree for every list you make and just go ahead and give some guys forests. But I guess that's why I don't make the rules.

 A TRADITION LIKE NO OTHER. Nothing ushers in the College Football Playoff quite like a bunch of players failing a piss test. This year, it was a group of Sooners players doing the honors.

I said this last year when a collection of Alabama and Clemson players got suspended and I'm going to say it again – how the hell are we five years into this thing and players are still failing drug tests before the playoff?

And it's not like they're new teams. Clemson and Alabama hadn't missed the playoff in four years and Oklahoma's been there three-straight years. They should absolutely know the procedure by now.

 LET'S GO BOWLING. You've all deservedly mocked my picks all year, so now can all come show me up in sports prognosticating this postseason by joining the 11W House Money Bowl Pick'em.


  • Group: 11W House Money 2019
  • Password: #ToughLove

Winner gets a $100 credit to the legendary Eleven Warriors Dry Goods while the runner up and last place get free shirts. That's right – we will reward you for picking every single game wrong.

 NOT STICKING TO SPORTS. A church leader tried to pay for sex on Grindr with an Arby's gift card... The most terrifying Christmas traditions around the world... A man who had caricature of himself drawn stole the artist’s money but left the picture of himself... A man found dead in his wife's freezer after a decade left a notarized letter saying his wife did not kill him... A teen admits to staging her own kidnapping.

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