Skull Session: A Change is Gonna Come for Ohio State Football, the Buckeyes Are Hot on the Recruiting Trail and Southwest Airlines Adds Flights For Ohio State’s Trip to Oregon

By Chase Brown on June 17, 2024 at 5:00 am
Ryan Day
Adam Cairns / USA TODAY Sports

Welcome to the Skull Session.

Cody Simon, Donovan Jackson and Jeremiah Smith are Ohio State's DUDES of the Week.

(You'll see the three of them in a photo in the next section).

Have a good Monday.

 A CHANGE IS GONNA COME. Ryan Day sent a message on Saturday – not through a press conference or press release, but through an Instagram post. 

In said post, Day featured a picture of the entire Ohio State football team, another of Donovan Jackson, Jeremiah Smith and Cody Simon, and four more individual pictures of JT Tuimoloau, Jack Sawyer, TreVeyon Henderson and Quinshon Judkins. The sixth-year head coach did not write a caption for the post. Instead, he added a song: Sam Cooke’s “A Change is Gonna Come”.


A post shared by Ryan Day (@day.ryan)

Here are the lyrics for Cooke’s song:

I was born by the river

In a little tent

Oh, and just like the river, I've been runnin'

Ever since

It's been a long

A long time comin', but I know

A change gon' come

Oh, yes, it will

It's been too hard livin'

But I'm afraid to die

'Cause I don't know what's up there

Beyond the sky

It's been a long

A long time comin', but I know

A change gon' come

Oh, yes, it will

I go to the movie

And I go downtown

Somebody keep tellin' me, "Don't hang around"

It's been a long

A long time comin', but I know

A change gon' come

Oh, yes, it will

Then I go to my brother

And I say, "Brother, help me, please"

But he winds up

Knockin' me

Back down on my knees

Lor', there been times that I thought

I couldn't last for long

But now I think I'm able to

Carry on

It's been a long

A long time comin', but I know

A change gon' come

Oh, yes, it will

Three years without a Big Ten championship.

Four years without Gold Pants.

Five years without a national title.

A change is gonna come, Day declared.

Oh, yes, it will.

 THE BUCKS ARE HOT. Where Ohio State does not need a change to come is in recruiting. Why? Because the Bucks are hot on the trail as of late.

As of Thursday, Ohio State had commitments in the 2025 class from five-stars Devin Sanchez, Na’eem Offord and Tavien St. Clair and four-stars Faheem Delane, Tarvos Alford, Carter Lowe, Zahir Mathis, Bo Jackson, London Merritt, Nate Roberts, DeShawn Stewart, De’Zie Jones, Cody Haddad and Eli Lee.

Over the next three days, Ohio State earned commitments from four-star wide receiver Quincy Porter and three-star running back Isaiah West.

Quick math tells me that’s a seven-star weekend for the Buckeyes.

That’s pretty good.

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)
WR QUINCY PORTER ★★★★ #49 NATL | #8 WR 6-3 | 190 Bergen Catholic (Oradell, New Jersey)
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, Ohio)
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)
RB ISAIAH WEST ★★★ #526 NATL | #45 RB 5-11 208 St. Joseph's Prep (Philadelphia, PA)
Prospect Rating Data: 247Sports Composite

In Porter, Ohio State adds a pass-catcher with a “limitless ceiling,” Eleven Warriors recruiting reporter Garrick Hodge wrote. At 6-foot-3, 190 pounds, Porter possesses next-level footwork and catch radius, burning cornerbacks with short, intermediate and deep routes while also having success as a red-zone threat for Bergen Catholic (Oradell, New Jersey). Last season, he collected 41 receptions for 969 yards and 16 scores. Porter also recorded 35 catches for 686 yards and 11 scores in 2022.

In West, the Buckeyes gain a prospect who “runs with a mean streak,” Hodge wrote. At 5-foot-11, 208 pounds, West reminds me of former Ohio State running back Miyan Williams – who stood 5-foot-10 and weighed around 210 pounds when he arrived in Columbus in 2020 – because he runs with his hair on fire, bouncing off would-be tacklers for extra yards on each attempt. Last season, West recorded 861 yards and 10 touchdowns for St. Joseph’s Prep (Philadelphia), the same school that produced former Ohio State wide receiver Marvin Harrison Jr. and quarterback Kyle McCord.

While neither prospect is an offensive lineman – I know how much you all want Ohio State to land offensive linemen – take heart because Justin Frye and the Buckeyes have been recruiting the position hard this offseason. 

This month, Ohio State has had four-star offensive tackles Micah DeBose, Jackson Lloyd and Josh Petty on campus, as well as three-stars Jayvon McFadden and Andrew Stargel. And next weekend, the Buckeyes will have the Big One™ on campus: Five-star offensive tackle David Sanders Jr., the No. 2 overall prospect in the 2025 class, according to the 247Sports composite.

If Frye can land even one of them – but especially Sanders – Ohio State will no longer be hot on the recruiting trail, it will be nuclear.

 WHEELS UP. College football writers at ESPN, Joel Klatt of FOX Sports, Brad Crawford of CBS Sports (and more, I am sure) have ranked Ohio State and Oregon’s Week 7 showdown at Autzen Stadium as one of the top 10 college football games in the 2024 season.

At one point or another, someone from Southwest Airlines must have seen those rankings because the company added extra flights from Columbus to Portland on Friday, Oct. 11, and Sunday, Oct. 13. 

Southwest announced the additional services in a press release last week:

Thinking about following your favorite college football team on the road this season? Southwest just made it easier for you with extra flights to see six marquee matchups in September and October. On key weekends, we’ve added extra services between New Orleans and Las Vegas, Nashville and Oklahoma City, as well as Atlanta and Austin. Additionally, new service kicks off between Austin and Detroit, Birmingham and Milwaukee, and Columbus and Portland.

And here are the games related to Southwest’s added services:

  • Sept. 1 - LSU at USC in Las Vegas
  • Sept. 7 - Texas at Michigan in Ann Arbor
  • Sept. 21 - Tennessee at Oklahoma in Norman
  • Oct. 12 - Ohio State at Oregon in Eugene
  • Oct. 19 - Georgia at Texas in Austin

See you at Autzen, Buckeye Nation.

 EAT ARBY’S. Folks, I think Neal Shipley is destined for greatness.

On Sunday, the Ohio State graduate outperformed Florida State’s Luke Clanton to finish with the best score among amateurs at the 2024 U.S. Open. In doing so, Shipley became the 10th golfer ever to earn low amateur honors at both the U.S. Open and The Masters in the same year (though other reporters have claimed he’s the sixth or seventh golfer, not the 10th, to accomplish the feat, so it seems like the record books are a little unclear).

Of those 10, Jack Nicklaus was the first to complete the double in 1960, with Phil Mickelson, Matt Kuchar and Viktor Hovland, among others, joining the Golden Bear in later years.

“The guys that have done it before have obviously gone on to have some great careers,” Shipley said on Sunday. “But for me, it solidifies my amateur career as I turn pro next week. I’m really happy with the career I’ve had as an amateur and the legacy, hopefully, I’ll leave.”

When asked what it means to win low amateur at Pinehurst No. 2 – a course that made some of the world’s best professionals boot the ball around like us commonfolk at a local track – Shipley expressed gratitude.

“It’s really an honor to win the low amateur here,” he said. “It’s a really special place. .. It’s been wild. It’s something maybe three, four years ago I didn’t think was possible, and to accomplish all of this has just been phenomenal. Just the stuff of dreams really, as an amateur, to do everything I’ve done. I think I’ve checked all the boxes now.”

I like Shipley. He’s easy to root for. I wish him the best of luck once he turns pro, and I look forward to seeing him cash some checks.

Did I mention he was easy to root for?

 SONG OF THE DAY. “Change is Gonna Come” - Sam Cooke.

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