Skull Session: Urban Meyer Talks Joe Burrow, Chase Young and Jeff Okudah, Jaxon Smith-Njigba is Among the All-Time Greats, and Denzel Ward Talks Punt Block

By Kevin Harrish on April 14, 2020 at 4:59 am
Larry Johnson.

Walk-on punter Michael O'Shaughnessy is going to get us through this together.

When the Buckeyes tee it up for football season this fall, I'm praying this is the rendition of Seven Nation Army they choose.

Song of the Day: "Harmony Hall" by Vampire Weekend.

Word of the Day: Maladroit.

 1, 2, 3. There's a solid chance that three of Urban Meyer's former players are going to be taken No. 1, 2 and 3 in the upcoming NFL Draft. He's undeniably excited about the possibility, but also almost completely unsurprised.

“[Strength] coach [Mick] Marotti, he’s almost never wrong when he says, ‘We got one here,’” Meyer said. “Jeff Okudah, the minute he walked on campus, you knew you had one. And same with Chase. Chase plays a little bit of a developmental position, where you gotta grow up in your body and learn technique. But when you put a guy like Chase Young with [DL coach] Larry Johnson, the chance of success, it’s infallible. It will happen.”


Burrow came in a little raw, and when he got hurt, he fell behind Dwayne Haskins, who was further along as a passer, despite being a year behind him in class rank. "It’s really intriguing that we had them both there, and one was a little bit behind because he was also an all-state basketball player,” Meyer said. And so he went with Haskins, who threw for 50 touchdowns in Meyer’s final year, and had to let Burrow go.


“It’d be a feeling of great pride we had, first of all, a staff that went out and found those people,” Meyer said. “Jeff and Chase were top 10 recruits. But Joe Burrow was not. He was a guy that did not have some of the big offers. So that goes to show you that our recruiting staff and coaching staff did their jobs and went out and found the best of the best."

Draft night is going to be an Ohio State infomercial once again. Even if one of the players is officially from LSU, it's gonna be tough not to take notice of the Buckeye roots.

 BEST HE EVER SAW. Players usually get their GOAT status after their Ohio State careers, but Jaxon Smith-Njigba is a bit ahead of the game.

The Dallas Morning News asked their staffers to simply pick the best athlete they've ever covered, and Smith-Njigba already tops the list for one writer.

Joseph Hoyt, high schools insider: Jaxon Smith-Njigba

Ronnie Lott, the hard-hitting NFL Hall of Fame safety, thrived on a sound: “woo.” He used to hear crowds, in unison, make the noise seconds after he leveled an opponent. Fittingly, he called these tackles, “Woo licks.” As a sports reporter, I’ve always considered Lott’s mentality when it comes to memorable moments. Stories have to feature them. When there’s a moment that makes me elicit an involuntary woo, that’s usually a sign it’ll make it into print. No player I’ve ever watched, played against or covered gave me more woo moments than Rockwall’s Jaxon Smith-Njigba. As a junior, he nearly led Rockwall to an upset over Allen with 14 catches for 267 yards and three touchdowns. Woo. Last summer, at The Opening finals, he went up against some of the best prospects in the nation and left with more catches than anyone. Woo. On senior night, he pulled down an improbable one-handed catch that made it on SportsCenter’s Top 10 plays. Weeks later, in a rematch win over Allen, he made nearly the exact same catch for one of his six touchdowns. Woo. I saw all these moments. I literally muttered woo every time – and so did the crowds on hand.

Some other names in this article: Michael Jordan, Luca Doncic, Patrick Mahomes, Johnny Manziel, Michael Phelps, Kyler Murray, Deion Sanders, Mike Trout, Zion Williamson and Christian Yelich. That's some uh, solid company.

The most obnoxious thing to consider here is that Smith-Njigba is heralded as the best athlete Hoyt has ever seen – and rightfully so – but he's not even the highest-rated receiver in Ohio State's freshman class.

That, folks, is an embarrassment of riches I'm proud to claim.

 BLOCK THAT PUNT. That blocked punt against Penn State in 2017 was the exact moment my brain went from "what if an unlikely comeback happens?" to "Oh, the Buckeyes are going to win."

And it sure didn't happen by accident.

And to think, this came just a few hours after the worst possible way to start the game on special teams. I guess that special teams coordinator saved his job, because Urban Meyer was surely going to come for his he...


 CALLING HIS (DAD'S) SHOT. Mike Conley looked like natural-born H-O-R-S-E competitor this weekend, and maybe we shouldn't be surprised

I too tried to tell my father to dunk from the free-throw line when I was a small lad. Instead, he just laughed at me and banked in another mid-range "jumper."

 TURN THE TIDE. I'm not too keen on losing to Michigan in anything, so I'm gonna need y'all to help me turn the tide in this here Twitter poll.

Is this a fairly trivial thing to worry about? Undeniably. Do I still want to "kick that ass like it’s never been kicked before?" Hell yes.

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