Skull Session: How Many Players Would Sit Out a Spring Season, Master Teague III and Tommy Togiai Are Freak Athletes, and Teams May Need to Use Backup Coaches

By Kevin Harrish on July 22, 2020 at 4:59 am
Kerry Coombs is slinging it in today's skull session.

If you're a fan of good news, I would keep an eye on the 'ole website at 2:22 p.m. today.

(Please note: If this turns out to be bad news, I will not be held responsible for you disappointment).

Word of the Day: Evanescent.

 SHOULD THEY STAY OR SHOULD THEY GO? It's looking more and more possible that we see some a spring college football season, which would undoubtedly mean a few players opting to sit the season to save their talents for the NFL. The only question is, how many players would that be?

“I think agents are already working on guys to shut it down if that’s what ends up happening,” said former NFL scout Daniel Jeremiah, a draft analyst for NFL Network. “I think you’d see 40 to 50 guys sit out. It’s such a weird/unique situation. I think it could cost 15 to 20 of them a round, but it would also remove the risk of them dropping much further due to injury or poor performance.”


Jeremiah’s colleague Bucky Brooks, an NFL Network draft analyst and former NFL player and scout, said Ohio State QB Justin Fields and Clemson quarterback Trevor Lawrence “are locks as first round picks based on their natural talent and potential.” Some of the other top players, Brooks says, “have enough tape to make a reasonable assumption about their draft status. The gray area players will be the late bloomers. Those guys who haven’t quite performed at a high level consistently need another season of tape to move up the board. … They will need to play a few games in the spring to confirm their status as top picks.”

How many players fall into that group is a murky number. One person in the NFL scouting community predicted Ohio State and Clemson could each see close to 10 players opting out of a spring season to enter the NFL draft process. The Athletic’s NFL draft analyst Dane Brugler said if a college spring season happens and the NFL doesn’t move back the 2021 draft on its calendar, “a few hundred prospects (at minimum) will choose to go through that process instead of a hybrid season.”

The numbers The Athletic heard from coaches who tried to project how many players from their own programs might leave wasn’t as high. Exactly half the coaches surveyed said they suspected that two or fewer of their players would opt out. Another 20 percent said they figured three to five players would leave. The same percentage surveyed thought the range was about six to eight, while 10 percent thought it would be even higher

Let's just go ahead and get this out of the way: there's not a shot in hell Justin Fields plays a spring season. The guy is a lock top-five pick and already told the world that his sole purpose in coming to Ohio State was for Ryan Day to get him to the NFL. Mission accomplished – he's gone.

Past that, I honestly think there will be fewer guys sitting than people expect, since those who sit risk getting passed by those who don't. Because all else equal, there's not a shot in hell an NFL team is going to roll the dice on 18-month old film over fresh analysis.

I honestly think most guys are going to have to play a spring season to solidify their draft stock, outside of maybe 15 players. And the guys who play are going to get more favorable grades than the ones who don't. So if you choose to sit and others choose to play, you're risking a sweet paycheck.

But at the end of the day, I'm just a dude with a computer and some thoughts. This is uncharted territory. Nobody really knows anything. Let's see how it all plays out!

 FREAKS, MUTANTS, ETC. If we weren't in the midst of a global pandemic threatening the very existence of the college football season, we would be in the thick of what I like to refer to as Subjective List Season.

Subjective list season is a magical time of year where individuals from all corners of the World Wide Web toss out their opinions in list form to rake clicks from the engaged and the enraged alike, and everyone eats it up because there's absolutely nothing else to do or talk about in the middle of July.

There have been substantially fewer subjective lists this offseason, as opinion-havers have largely turned their #take machines towards things and ideas related to the Very Bad Virus. But thankfully, the world's best subjective list was not a casualty.

Folks, Feldman's Freaks is back, and it features multiple Buckeyes.

7. Master Teague III, Ohio State, running back

Freakiest attribute: Explosiveness

J.K. Dobbins got most of the spotlight in 2019, but this big back from Tennessee quietly put together an outstanding debut season, rushing for 789 yards and four touchdowns on his way to earning third team All-Big Ten honors. Longtime Buckeyes strength coach Mickey Marotti has developed a bunch of remarkable athletes, but few as big as the 5-11, 228-pound Teague have been this explosive. Teague’s testing numbers at Ohio State: he’s vertical jumped more than 40 inches, broad jumped more than 11 feet and clocked a 4.35 40.


42. Tommy Togiai, Ohio State, defensive tackle

Freakiest attribute: Strength

There are some other Buckeyes who also are deserving (speedy, long DL Zach Harrison and LB Baron Browning come to mind) but we’ll go with the powerhouse from Idaho, a 6-2, 300-pound junior who might be the strongest player the Buckeyes have had since Mickey Marotti has been in Columbus, which runs a decade of impressive dudes. Togiai (16 tackles, 2 TFLs in 2019) bench presses more than 500 pounds and squats more than 650.

I have a couple of #thoughts – as is custom with Subjective List Season

First off, A human as dense and large as Master Teague should not be able to do any of that which is described. Second, I do not know how many clones of me it would take simultaneously working in unison to do either of those lifts, but I'm betting it's around five.

Lastly, I'm glad Zach Harrison at least got a mention here, but in what world does a 6-foot-6, 265-pound defensive end that runs a 4.5-second 40-yard dash not make a list of physical freaks?

I mean, if this guy isn't a freak, what are we even doing?

 CONTINGENCY PLANS. Tired: Ohio State needs roster depth. Wired: Ohio State needs coaching depth.

I've already given plenty of thought to the fact that the Buckeyes – with their storehouses of elite talent and freak athletes – will have a decided advantage over their enemies if positive tests sideline players for games.

But I hadn't given much to the Next Man Up mentality carrying over to the coaching staff in similar circumstances, but it seems that might be a thing that actually happens.

Folks, if Ryan Day tests positive, prepare your hearts for Kerry Coombs, head coach. There's nobody else I'd rather ride with for one game. He'd lead us to victory against anybody in the country, Red Bull coursing through his veins.

Kevin Wilson can call plays, Greg Mattison will handle the defense by himself – the Bucks will still win by 30.

 BASKETBALL, TOO! The Woody ain't the only Ohio State athletics facility coming alive these past few weeks. Basketball is back, too!

Personally, I can't wait to see Zed Key lead the Buckeyes to the Final Four. I'm gonna have to get a custom jersey made for the occasion.

 SONG OF THE DAY. "Hoppípolla" by Sigur Rós.

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