It's always a thrill when they let the worst writer on this site get behind the wheels of the Skull Session machine. I'm your guest host this morning before I hand the skeletal keyboard over to Chase Brown, who will debut with his first edition tomorrow morning.
CHRIS HOLTMANN FLEXES. Let's recap what the Ohio State basketball coach clocked in the first seven days of August:
The coach, who has won 20 or more games in each of his five seasons in Columbus, was showered with praise by his boss, athletic director Gene Smith, in an exclusive interview with Eleven Warriors. Words matter – particularly for a coach who at times has taken his share of criticism from Ohio State fans.
Holtmann earns a commitment from four-star Pickerington Central forward Devin Royal, the state's No. 2 prospect in the 2023 class. The commitment is Ohio State's third in that class, cementing the group as the Big Ten's top-rated class.
AUGUST 6 and AUGUST 8
Ohio State wins both of their scheduled exhibition games at the Atlantis Resort on Paradise Island, Bahamas, rallying from a halftime deficit to edge Egypt, 72-68, Friday night, and then following it up with a 75-68 win over Puerto Rico Sunday evening.
Side note: These uniforms are cleeeeeean.
Holtmann lands perhaps the biggest commitment of his career when forward Scotty Middleton committed to the Buckeyes late Sunday evening. Middleton, a five-star prospect in ESPN's rankings and a four-star composite prospect at 247 Sports, is the program's highest-rated recruit since D'Angelo Russell signed with Ohio State in 2014.
“Duke, Kentucky, and Ohio State” does have a hell of a ring to it…
Middleton's commitment improves Ohio State's 2023 class rank from No. 5 to No. 3 in the country, behind only Duke and Kentucky.— Griffin Strom (@GriffinStrom3) August 8, 2022
Four four-star commits for the Buckeyes, and all among the top 105 players in the country.
JIM KNOWLES GETS A LINEBACKER. The Ohio State football program got its own #BOOM over the weekend when four-star linebacker Arvell Reese committed to the Buckeyes. The Cleveland Glenville product was the last remaining priority in-state target for Ohio State and will become the 22nd Tarblooder to lace them up for the Bucks when he gets to Columbus next year.
“There’s definitely a lot of pressure there,” Reese said in June about talking with fellow Glenville players and coaches. “Definitely a lot of guys remind me all the time, ‘Hey, you can go to Ohio State.’”
Reese chose Ohio State over Alabama, Michigan, Penn State, USC, and other programs and is a much-needed win after the Buckeyes after they missed out on linebackers Tackett Curtis (USC) and Troy Bowles (Georgia) in July.
CHRIS OLAVE: VERIFIED “GOT IT.” Okay, there's no way a rookie wide receiver should be able to create this kind of separation on a quick slant, but well, that's the kind of stuff Chris Olave does:
Chris Olave my lord pic.twitter.com/8kCQ4wnimF— Beckett (@410Beck) August 5, 2022
It should come as no surprise that Olave is making plays like that on the regular in New Orleans.
The velvety route-running, coupled with the offense-adoring speed, and the soft hands to match have made Olave an early training camp standout. When he broke free for a 60-yard touchdown catch from Winston on Saturday – a busted cover on defense led to a wide open Olave – it was a play that highlighted Olave's speed and ability to take advantage of any lapse.
And he feels he's only scratching his surface.
Velvety route-running is the perfect phrase to sum up his game. Saints fans are going to love him.
DALE → XFL 3.0. Cardale Jones hasn't played football in more than two years, but he's not quite ready to hang the cleats up yet. Friday, he teased a return to the XFL, which will be back for the 2023 season.
— XFL (@XFL2023) August 5, 2022
Jones, who inked his legend status in Columbus by trucking Alabama safeties on his way to leading Ohio State to the first-ever College Football Playoff championship, started five games for the XFL 2.0's DC Defenders before the league suspended operations in April, 2020.
POSTCARDS FROM PRACTICE. Alright, this is a killer view from the Naval Academy's practice field in Maryland.
Best practice view in college football. pic.twitter.com/kUZ8dUCWmq— Scott Strasemeier (@ScottStras) August 6, 2022
But is it the nation's best? There are some outstanding contenders mentioned in this r/CFB thread:
Practice with a view pic.twitter.com/gbRNuWTU4o— Utah Football (@Utah_Football) March 5, 2018
Just another day in fall camp What a blessing to practice with this scenery every day. Go Cougs! pic.twitter.com/av7mgnOfWI— Fesi Sitake (@fsitake) August 6, 2022
SALUTE. Hoopster Justin Ahrens and Jimmy Sotos were among 29 Buckeye student-athletes to graduate from Ohio State Sunday. With his TikTok fame,
Ahrens Sotos may not need the degree, but it never hurts to have one.
YOUR SONG OF THE DAY. “40 Day Dream” by the 10-piece cacophony of sound that is Edward Sharpe and the Magnetic Zeros.
THEM LINKS. The countdown to Portillo's arrival in Ohio is on… Pete Rose stays Pete Rose… Good news, everybody… Write your own digital ransom note… Imagine going to YouTube to learn about DIY rhinoplasty.