Skull Session: Justin Fields Invents Interceptions, How Ryan Day's Son Recruited Zach Harrison and Mark May is a Fraud

By Kevin Harrish on December 26, 2019 at 4:59 am
We're gettin scenic in today's Skull Session.

Christmas is over, which means Clemson's on deck and we're putting Dabo on notice early: it's going to be a bad, bad week to be a Tiger.

But not before a little Christmas fun.

Word of the Day: Blithe.

 INVENTING INTERCEPTIONS. When you've got the most impressive touchdown/interception ratio ever, there's not a ton of room for improvement or failures to learn from.

But fear not – Justin Fields is dead set on perfection, even if it means inventing a few in-game interceptions that didn't even technically happen.

Ohio State quarterback Justin Fields has attempted 308 passes against some of the top-ranked defenses in the nation. He piled up 40 touchdown passes along the way. Yet he has thrown only one interception. (For context, fellow Heisman Trophy finalist Jalen Hurts of Oklahoma has attempted one more pass and thrown seven interceptions.)

Fields, however, knows the true count. He vividly remembers some of the near-misses along the way — including one in particular against Maryland that hit a defender square in the hands. He also knows about the interceptions he throws away from the public and media.

“I throw picks in practice all the time, really,” Fields said. “I kind of just go and practice and kind of see what throws I can make and what I can do in the game. I think that translates over to the game and plays in the back of my mind like, yo, I’ve been through this scenario one time. Let’s not make the same mistake again.”

So basically, Fields is explaining his success by just describing exactly how practice should work in a purely ideal world, and saying that's just what he does. I think anyone who's ever played any sport would love to be able to do what he just described, but I've never met anyone who could, until now, apparently.

 MOVE OVER, PANTONI. A few weeks ago, we were all out here heaping praise on guys like Ryan Day, Mark Pantoni and Brian Hartline for assembling another monster recruiting class.

Turns out, we were missing out on an extremely important member of the recruiting staff: Ryan Day's 11-year-old son, RJ, who's already landed one five-star prospect in his young recruiting career.

When Zach Harrison was a prized uncommitted recruit at Olentangy Orange last year in the Days’ school district, RJ approached him and told him that his dad was recruiting him. It helped form a bond that resulted in Harrison signing with the Buckeyes.

“I actually think that was a great moment for Zach to realize who I was — that I’m so close to my family and a family person, and I thought that mattered to him,” Ryan said.

He said that RJ chimes in with his opinion on various topics. He’s treated like a little brother by players.

“He’s one of the guys,” Harrison said.

That continued for the newest Buckeyes who signed letters of intent last Wednesday.

“He texted some of our recruits after they signed, congratulating them,” Nina said, “and then we had a little bit of a Christmas recruiting party Wednesday night. He’s like, ‘Mom, I have to go. I’m a big recruiter for this program.’ I’m like, ‘OK, buddy.’ He attended the party.”

So, what I'm understanding is that young RJ beat out James Franklin and Jim Harbaugh for a five-star prospect before he even turned 11. That's both extremely impressive and makes complete sense.

 MARK MAY – FRAUD. If you thought sliding into obscurity would be enough to quell Mark May's notorious distaste for the Buckeyes, you'd be extremely incorrect.

May ain't in the spotlight so much these days, but his hate for the Buckeyes still runs deep and he's predicting a blowout loss against Clemson on Saturday...

... publicly.

The truth, according to the mega troll himself, is that Mark May doesn't actually hate Ohio State, he just realized it's a schtick that works and has played the character extremely well for a decade and a half. More than that, he thinks this year's squad is the best team in the country.

In fact, the feud came about honestly in 2002, when, as you may remember, he was not a believer in the Buckeyes during their storybook season. As he picked them apart — “I wasn’t anti-Ohio State,” he said. “I was giving my opinion.” — May recognized he had pushed a button.

“It was fun for a while, because you’d say something about them, then you’d get five or 10 calls at ESPN,” he said. “Then you’d come back the next week and get a dozen letters. You knew they’d be nasty because it had the ‘OH’ at the top left.”

May leaned into the villain role, and soon enough, it took on a life of its own. As Holtz once told his friend on ESPN’s College Football Final, “Jesus loves you, but everyone else in Ohio thinks you’re an idiot.”

If you don’t tell anyone, the truth is May — who invited Team Blade out for golf (maybe next time) — really is a good guy and a smart football man. He even respects Ohio State, counts many former Buckeyes as friends (Keith Byars and Pete Johnson play in his annual charity golf tournament in Oneonta), and believes this year’s team is the best in the country.

“They’re the most complete team and they’re healthy,” he said.

May will likely be back on television soon after his ESPN contract expires, and I fully expect him to maintain his hatin-ass persona because frankly, it pays the bills. To that, I do tip the cap to a point. However, it also makes him a total fraud.

If he can live that lie with a clean conscience, that's on him. But sincere or not, his drivel makes him my full-time enemy. So spew that bullshit, Mark, and I'll continue to direct hordes of irascible Buckeye fans.

 SHAZIER GOING DANCING? Two years ago, we were worried Ryan Shazier wouldn't walk again. But now there's a chance he'll be dancing competitively on national television as ABC has him on its list of targets for the show's 2020 season.

ABC is also keeping an eye on NFL player Ryan Shazier, who was near-paralyzed after sustaining a serious spine injury during a game in 2017. A video of the former Pittsburgh Steelers linebacker dancing at his wedding this year went viral, with fans elated to see Shazier dancing again, hopeful that he’ll be able to return to the field.

“Two years ago, he was hit on a Monday Night Football game and doctors feared he was paralyzed, and he has learned to walk again. Those are those great stories that are really what ‘Dancing With the Stars’ is all about — here’s somebody who has overcome something, and when you do that, you dance,” Mills says of Shazier. “He would be great.”

Oh hell yes. I'm sure there's some deep part of me that's always wanted to be a ballroom dancing blogger, and you bet your ass there will be dancing Shazier content on this website if he's a contestant.

Plus, my fiancée (which still feels weird to type) is obsessed with this show and we'll be married by the time the next season starts (again, weird), so this will help me out with reasons to care. I'm not holding my breath that I'll have similar luck with the Bachelor, though.

 DECEMBER TO REMEMBER. Turns out, Joe Burrow is accurate with round balls, too.

I'm really glad to see something finally go his way after such a tough month with winning the conference title, earning a spot in the college football playoff berth, and claiming the Heisman Trophy along with every other award.

I do hope he enjoys December, though, because there's something coming for him in January.

 NOT STICKING TO SPORTS. Noodle shop owner arrested for putting opium in noodles so customers get addicted... Police discover 600 lbs of liquid meth during traffic stop for broken brake light... At least 17 mysterious large drones are spotted flying search patterns over Colorado every night, baffling local authorities... A slanted toilet is designed to keep employees from taking long restroom breaks... A man implanted a Tesla key into his hand so he can unlock his car with a wave.

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