Skull Session: Faheem Delane's Commitment Gives Ohio State the No. 1 Class in 2025, and Jack Nicklaus Reveals He Once Wanted to Play Basketball Instead of Golf at Ohio State

By Chase Brown on June 10, 2024 at 5:00 am
Jack Nicklaus
Adam Cairns / USA TODAY Sports

Welcome to the Skull Session.

Lathan Ransom, Caden Curry and Joey Velazquez have been DUDES in the weight room this June.

Have a good Monday.

 ANOTHER BOOOOOOOM. College football doesn't have offseason championships, but — man, oh, man — Ohio State would win the 2024 title.

After a stellar January, February, March, April and May that included Buckeyes returning and commitments from transfers and high schoolers, the Buckeyes continued their offseason momentum in June, landing four-star running back Bo Jackson on June 4 and four-star defensive back Faheem Delane on Sunday.

A 6-foot-3, 200-pound athlete from Olney, Maryland, Delane is the No. 2 safety and No. 34 overall prospect in the 2025 class. He chose Ohio State over Oregon, Alabama, Florida, Florida State, Michigan, Tennessee and LSU.

Here is 247Sports director Andrew Ivins’ scouting report for Delane:

An aggressive back-seven defender who can cover the pass, defend the run, and get home on the blitz. Owns a college-ready frame, having measured roughly 6-foot-3, 200 pounds the summer before junior season. Quick to trigger and tends to play with tons of confidence. Has been utilized primarily as a box safety and a slot corner at the prep level and found plenty of success in both roles. Physical more times than not and always looking to deliver a blow. Serviceable in man-to-man situations and held his own at Under Armour's Future annual event, producing a pair of takeaways. However, can lose track of wide receivers in the deeper third and lacks the foot speed to recover. Should be viewed as a potential impact player in the secondary for a Power Five program that can do a little bit of everything. Likely to find the most success in a defensive scheme that has him forward-facing and constantly puts him in a position to make plays. Has what it takes to get on the field sooner rather than later like his brother, Mansoor, who starred as a freshman at Virginia Tech.

Delane’s commitment gave Ohio State 14 total commitments in the 2025 class, all of whom are four stars or higher. His pledge also nudges Ohio State past Notre Dame for the No. 1 spot in the 247Sports composite team rankings despite the Buckeyes having seven fewer commits than the Irish.

Pos Name Rating Rank Size School
CB DEVIN SANCHEZ ★★★★★ #5 NATL | #1 CB 6-2 | 170 North Shore (Houston, Texas)
CB NA'EEM OFFORD ★★★★★ #6 NATL | #2 CB 6-1 | 185 Parker (Birmingham, Alabama)
QB TAVIEN ST. CLAIR ★★★★★ #14 NATL | #3 QB 6-4 | 210 Bellefontaine (Bellefontaine, Ohio)
S FAHEEM DELANE ★★★★ #34 NATL | #2 S 6-2 | 195 Good Counsel (Olney, Maryland)
LB TARVOS ALFORD ★★★★ #47 NATL | #5 LB 6-2 | 210 Vero Beach (Vero Beach, Florida)
OT CARTER LOWE ★★★★ #54 NATL | #7 OT 6-5 | 290 Whitmer (Toledo, Ohio)
DE ZAHIR MATHIS ★★★★ #60 NATL | #5 Edge 6-6 | 225 Imhotep Institute (Philadelphia, Pennsylvania)
RB BO JACKSON ★★★★ #81 NATL | #5 RB 6-0 | 205 Villa Angela-St. Joseph (Cleveland, OH)
DE LONDON MERRITT ★★★★ #116 NATL | #13 DL 6-2 | 250 IMG Academy (Bradenton, Florida)
TE NATE ROBERTS ★★★★ #132 NATL | #6 TE 6-4 | 235 Washington (Washington, Oklahoma)
S DESHAWN STEWART ★★★★ #295 NATL | #26 S 6-2 | 185 DePaul Catholic (Wayne, New Jersey)
WR DE'ZIE JONES ★★★★ #313 NATL | #42 WR 6-0 | 180 DePaul Catholic (Wayne, New Jersey)
S CODY HADDAD ★★★★ #376 NATL | #18 ATH 6-1 | 175 St. Ignatius (Cleveland, Ohio)
LB ELI LEE ★★★★ #380 NATL | #41 LB 6-3 | 230 Archbishop Hoban (Akron, Ohio)
Prospect Rating Data: 247Sports Composite

Impressive. Most impressive.

What’s more impressive is Delane’s tape.

Last season for Our Lady Good Counsel High School, Delane recorded 69 tackles and 18 pass breakups while anchoring the backend of the Cougars. He collected 41 tackles and two forced fumbles two seasons ago.

Yeah, he’s a dude.

And the best part is, he’s one of several dudes in Ohio State’s 2025 class.

It’s good to be a Buckeye.

 TIMES THEY ARE A CHANGIN’. Delane’s commitment means a lot to Ohio State, but does it mean a lot to Ohio State fans?

According to a recent poll from Until Saturday, The Athletic’s college football newsletter, the answer is yes. However, it would have meant more a few years ago. But now? Now it’s… meh?

The Until Saturday poll did not ask about Delane’s commitment specifically but asked The Athletic’s readers to share if (and how) the NIL and transfer portal era has impacted their interest in high school recruiting. Of the 261 responses, 54.6% said they are “less interested” in high school recruiting, 39.2% said they’ve experienced “no change” and 6.2% said they are “more interested.”

The Athletic poll

“I have gone from 100 percent interest in high school recruiting to zero,” one reader shared. “I couldn’t name you a single signee to my favorite school from this past class when I used to know 90 percent of them.”

While I don’t think most Ohio State fans have experienced that drastic of a shift, I know of several who have adopted a “Wake me up in late December” approach toward recruiting, with their rationale being that a prospect’s commitment means zilch, zip, nada until that prospect inks their National Letter of Intent. (See: Jeremiah McClellan last December, or — in the most absurd sense — Baby Gronk). That, in their minds, equates to less interest in high school recruiting, and I would agree.

Still, I get excited when a top-50 overall prospect commits to Ohio State. Sue me!

I hope all of them stick to their word until Dec. 4 because, as I mentioned above, it’s good to be a Buckeye.

 LIKE FARMERS INSURANCE... Ohio State quarterback Lincoln Kienholz will be the guest speaker at the Central Ohio High School Sports Awards on June 20 at Mershon Auditorium.

Before Kienholz became a signal-caller for the Buckeyes, he starred in football, basketball and baseball for T.F. Riggs High School in Pierre, South Dakota. The 2022-23 USA TODAY boys high school athlete of the year, Kienholz threw for 9,100 yards and 104 touchdowns as the Governors’ quarterback, adding another 3,503 yards and 44 scores as a runner. On the hardwood, Kienholz averaged over 20 points, seven rebounds and three assists per contest for his career. In baseball, he hit over .400 as a batter and dominated on the mound.

All of that said, Kienholz — like Farmer’s Insurance — knows a thing or two because he’s seen a thing or two... in high school sports.

Next week, the Central Ohio athletes of the year, 30 in all, will be announced at the Central Ohio High School Sports Awards. According to Andy Resnik of The Columbus Dispatch, nine premier awards will also be announced, including boys and girls overall athletes of the year, boys and girls overall coaches of the year, boys and girls overall teams of the year, a courage award, a school spirit award and a lifetime achievement award.

 SAY WHAT NOW? Before Jack Nicklaus became the Golden Bear, he wanted to be a basketball player. Moreover, he wanted to play college basketball at Ohio State.

Nicklaus, a member of the 1957 class at Upper Arlington High School in Columbus, was selected as an all-league shooting guard as a sophomore, junior and senior, while earning honorable mention All-Ohio honors as a senior. 

During a television interview on Thursday at the Memorial Tournament, Nicklaus said he averaged "18-and-a-half as a junior and 18 as a senior." Because of his tremendous success on the hardwood, Nicklaus — also a two-time individual high school state champion in golf — revealed that he initially wanted to play basketball, not golf, at Ohio State.

“I didn’t go on a scholarship at all,” Nicklaus said. “I was recruited by Ohio State for basketball along with Jerry Lucas, John Havlicek and all of those guys. … I played a lot of high school ball with a lot of guys we recruited and (who) played on that team. I said, ‘You know, I think I’m going to leave those guys up there, and I’m going to stay down here with this little ball.”

That was a good choice.

Had Nicklaus chosen to play basketball, golf would have been deprived of one of its all-time greats.

Nicklaus won 18 majors (he finished runner-up in another 19) and 73 PGA tournaments in his professional career. He was also named the PGA Tour Player of the Year in 1967, 1972, 1973, 1975 and 1976, and he was inducted into the World Golf Hall of Fame in 1974 — well before his illustrious career ended.

Following his career, Nicklaus has remained an influential figure in the golf community. As he stood on the 18th green at the Memorial Tournament on Sunday, it was cool to see how some of today’s best golfers, including the tournament’s winner, Scottie Scheffler, and its runner-up, Colin Morikawa, treated the Golden Bear following a 72-hole weekend at Muirfield Village (also known as “Jack’s Place”). They were just… awestruck…

He’s the GOAT… the GOAT…

 SONG OF THE DAY. “Groove Is In The Heart” - Deee-Lite.

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