Monday Morning Kickoff: Klein, Recruiting Rumors and a Texas-Sized "Opening"
By Tony Gerdeman
* When news broke Friday night that OSU linebacker Storm Klein had been arrested and charged with domestic violence and assault, we knew that Urban Meyer's reaction would come quickly.
Photo by Jim Davidson
However, I didn't expect to sit down after a day of honey-doing on Saturday and find out that Klein had been dismissed from the team.
Meyer has said in the past that violence against women will not be tolerated, and clearly so far it has not been. Yes, there is a chance that Klein could return to the team if the charges are changed, but the lack of hesitation in this punishment also tells players that not only should they not partake in such violence, but they should also be able to avoid situations where such a thing could arise.
Are you currently arguing with your girlfriend, and are you getting angrier by the second? You better be able to diffuse the situation before it becomes something that costs you everything that you have worked for, and you better be able to do it without touching said girlfriend, because once the hands go on, all bets go off.
Still, it was a surprise that Meyer didn't hide behind a coach's favorite deflection - i.e. "letting the process play out".
Not only would that have been acceptable, it also would have been the norm, but obviously Meyer is trying to create a new norm.
Or at least he is when it comes to projected back ups.
In the end, if this is in fact the end, Storm Klein becomes another footnote in Jim Tressel's 2009 class that has now seen 10 of the 25 signees dismissed or transfer out. Of the 15 who remain, four have served, or are currently serving, various suspensions.
* If you have mistakenly found yourself worrying about the health of the Michigan rivalry of late, you can go ahead and stop worrying. If what I've been told is true, the future of the rivalry appears in good hands. What do I mean? I'm hearing that a few of the commitments in Ohio State's 2013 class don't really care for certain members of Michigan's 2013 class.
Recruits run into eachother throughout various summer camps, and there are apparently a few future Wolverines who have rubbed some future Buckeyes the wrong way.
Without getting into too much detail, let's just say that a few of Michigan's commits are carrying an attitude with them that just doesn't mesh well with others.
Of course, you don't need sources to know this, because Twitter is a pretty effective source by itself.
Every once in a while, you will see a Buckeye commit reference the fact that they will let their talking take place in November, not June or July.
* While we're on the subject of Michigan's recruiting, there was a pretty big stir over the weekend when the news broke that Wolverine offensive line commit David Dawson would be visiting Florida later in the month.
Brady Hoke has a strict "no visit policy" for Michigan's verbal commitments, meaning that if they visit other schools, then they can kiss their slot in the Wolverines' class goodbye.
Dawson, ESPN's top-ranked guard in the nation, has been committed to Michigan since February, but he was almost in danger of putting Brady Hoke's policy to the test.
However, Dawson didn't see his trip to Florida as a visit, and it's certainly not an official visit, because he was only planning on attending a camp.
Except that that camp isn't just any camp, it also happens to be Florida's "Friday Night Lights", which is one of their biggest recruiting days of the year.
Why would a kid from Michigan who is committed to Michigan travel to Florida at his own cost just to camp and run some drills?
"It’s a camp," he told ESPN. "All the great players in SEC country, that’s what I want to see."
Of course. Every future Big Ten player dreams of seeing future SEC players up close on his own dime. That's why midwest families travel to Florida on vacation, isn't it?
Fortunately for Michigan and Hoke, the Wolverine coaches talked to Dawson on Saturday and the visit was called off.
All of this drama begs the question of whether or not Hoke would have considered this a violation of his policy, and would he have acted upon it?
Feel free to draw your own conclusions, but I was told that he would have let it slide out of fear of losing Dawson's commitment altogether.
* Nike's exceedingly self-important football camp "The Opening" was last week, and it actually provided some interesting television viewing over the weekend.
The event features 150 of the top high school players in the nation with camp drills, 7-on-7 games, and a championship to determine the best athlete at the camp.
To determine the best athlete, Nike uses the "SPARQ" rating, which is compiled from a formula using the 40-yard dash, vertical jump, 20-yard agility drill, and the kneeling power-ball toss.
Friday night found me tuned in to ESPNU to get information on the various Buckeye commitments who were participating, but I soon became glued to the television because of Texas high school linebacker Mike Mitchell.
Mitchell, who has an ever-increasing interest in the Buckeyes, is a 6-4 215-pound top-five linebacker nationally who became must-see TV all by himself on Friday.
Nike's SPARQ national championship brought the ten players who finished with the best scores in preliminary sessions to a nationally-televised platform to settle things once and for all, and things certainly got settled.
The first drill was the vertical jump, which Mitchell topped out at a very impressive 40.2 inches. Then came the agility drill, which he did in 4.0 seconds. The time was the third-best of the night. A cornerback and a running back each did it in 3.97 seconds.
His power-ball toss reached 45 feet was the second-furthest in the championship (and two feet shorter than his best during preliminaries). It was the final event where Mitchell really blew everybody away—the 40-yard dash.
His first time was a blistering 4.46, which would have been plenty to earn him a championship, but he was far from done. His final run, and the championship's final run, was a remarkable 4.39 seconds, which was the best of any of the ten competitors.
He finished with a SPARQ rating of 154.47, which not only won the event, but also set a new national record.
Mitchell, who is being courted by just about everybody but his home-state Longhorns, wants to make a decision by the end of the month, and is trying to get a visit to Ohio State scheduled before that happens.
All signs are good for the Buckeyes here, but until a prospect signs his letter of intent, there is no such thing as a lock. Need I remind you of former linebacker commits Alex Anzalone and Lewis Neal?
Oh, and speaking of Alex Anzalone, following Mitchell's fantastic run in the SPARQ championship, Anzalone tweeted this: "There's a difference between combine kings and good football players." It was in direct response to a Buckeye fan thanking him for decommitting and unwittingly making room for the potential commitment of Mitchell.
Anzalone may be right about combines, and in the process a little bit petty, but time will tell if he's right about Mitchell.
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