Skull Session: Mel Tucker's Ability to Recruit Ohio, J.K. Dobbins is Giving Back With a Clothing Line, and the XFL is Already Outpacing the AAF

By Kevin Harrish on February 13, 2020 at 4:59 am
The band is playing in today's skull session.

When you break an NFL record, you get to wear whatever the hell you want. Those are the rules.

Word of the Day: Enrapture.

 THE BATTLE FOR OHIO. Michigan State finally got itself a head coach, and they're rolling with someone who once made it his mission to lock down the state of Ohio for the good guys.

Almost two decades later, Mel Tucker's now going to be recruiting against the Buckeyes.

“I can honestly say, in my four years at Ohio State, no one ever got out of there that we wanted," Tucker told me. "Between Coach Tressel and I, we were able to partner up and get it done. I always used to say, if you can’t recruit to Ohio State, you can’t recruit. We felt we just had to get it done in Northeast Ohio. At that time, that needed to be a foothold for Ohio State.”

Tucker and Tressel built the Glenville pipeline that would yield future stars like Donte Whitner, Troy Smith and Ted Ginn Jr. for years. They made sure another Desmond Howard, the St. Joseph High School star turned Michigan Heisman Trophy winner, didn’t happen. The recruiting wall that Ohio State has built around Ohio for most of the last two decades, that foundation was laid by Tressel and Tucker.


Will he take Ohio recruits away from Ohio State? Not likely. Dantonio didn’t do that, but he pulled a lot of talent from the second level of Ohio high school football, the players who didn’t quite get Ohio State offers. The school that can be the second-best recruiter in Ohio can win some games that way. Tucker will absolutely fight for that.

Like Dantonio, Tucker calls Saban and Tressel two of his primary mentors. So I expect, when he gets Michigan State rolling, he’ll be a pain for Jim Harbaugh at Michigan.

That last part is important.

Tucker's not coming to compete with Ohio State in Ohio. If that's the expectation, he's set up for failure. But being the second-best recruiter in Ohio is going to make him an extreme pain in the dick to Jim Harbaugh and James Franklin, and I'm all for that.

Ohio State's going to take the best 5-10 kids in the state, and Michigan State's going to take the rest.

I'll be fine and reasonable about this loose understanding until some low three-star Ohio prospect torches my team for 550 yards from scrimmage and I have to read about how it's because he always wanted to play for the Buckeyes but didn't get an offer.

Then, it will be bullshit.

 J.K. ALL DAY. Now that he officially owns the legal right to his own name and likeness, J.K. Dobbins is using it to give back to the Nationwide Children's Hospital. The Buckeye back rolled out his own clothing line this week with a portion of the proceeds going to the hospital.

I feel a mild sense of hurt and betrayal that Dolodale never gave us a "CAR-DALE JONES." tee, but I guess there's still time!

 2000% BETTOR. Even after a solid opening weekend, the XFL's been hit with some healthy skepticism, with plenty of folks still viewing it in the same light as last year's Alliance of American Football, which didn't even make it through one season before folding.

It's a fair comparison, given that both leagues are basically the same thing, except if we use sports betting as a barometer of interest, the XFL is handing the AAF a thorough ass-kicking.

Both DraftKings and FanDuel said that Saturday’s two games did roughly 20 times the handle that the first two AAF games did a year before. Some of that surely has to do with a more mature betting market, but don’t discount the buzz factor here.

“We saw momentum build on the XFL as the weekend progressed,” said FanDuel spokesman Kevin Hennessy. “Handle on XFL games increased 55% from Saturday to Sunday and bet count increased 31% from Saturday to Sunday.”

Now, the tough part is going to be maintaining interest, which is where the AAF failed. But based on those numbers, I'd say there's a strong chance they finish the season, which is good because Cardale Jones is a noted fan of lifting trophies.

 IF COACHING DOESN'T WORK... Mark this date down in history: *Northwestern*, of all schools, did something cool, new and interesting in the sports world, and got us all talking about who should do it next.

Slow clap for the Wildcats.

I would pay actual money to hear Mike Leach, Ed Orgeron or Jim Harbaugh call a basketball game, but if I'm picking just one it's gotta be Leach. In a dream world, he's working alongside Bill Walton, but I"m not sure the world is ready for that.

 POSEY FINDS A HOME. The Tiger-Cats were already the odds-on favorite to win the 2020 Gray Cup, and now their roster's been bolstered by a proper Gray Cup legend as DeVier Posey is heading to Hamilton.

The 6-2, 210-pound native of Redwood City, California has appeared in 36 career Canadian Football League games with 34 starts at receiver over four seasons with the Toronto Argonauts (2016-17), BC Lions (2018) and Alouettes (2019), posting 144 receptions for 2,080 yards and 13 touchdowns. Posey also won the 105th Grey Cup with the Argonauts and was named the game’s Most Outstanding Player after hauling in seven receptions for 175 yards, including a Grey Cup record 100-yard touchdown reception.

Between the CFL and the XFL, we're damn close to year-round football with at least one Buckeye to root for in every league. Nothing's ever going to replace fall, but I can now watch Cardale Jones in February and DeVier Posey in June, and I'm sure not about to complain about that.

 NOT STICKING TO SPORTS. Real turtles try to have sex with a gigantic 3D-printed turtle sex doll... A driver with 2,000 traffic violations was arrested in Moscow... A new app automatically cancels and sues robocallers... A teen growing his hair for his sick sister withdraws from school when he's told to get haircut... A truck driver pulled over for speeding was using his semi as a recording studio...  A Japanese man has been pooping outside for 45 years...

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