Whiting’s Exit Puts Buckeyes at 82 Scholarships
By Brandon Castel
COLUMBUS, Ohio — The final piece fell into place for Ohio State Thursday, as linebacker Jordan Whiting announced his transfer from the University via Twitter.
With his impending exit, which was later confirmed by an Ohio State spokesperson, it leaves the Buckeyes’ current scholarship count at 82. That is the number they needed to be at by the start of the 2012 season as part of the NCAA’s scholarship reduction they received in December.
“Thank you all for (your) support and love,” Whiting tweeted.
“I thank (former head coach Jim) Tressel and Mr. Gene Smith for the opportunity, however my time here has come to an end.”
A fourth-year junior to be eligibility wise, Whiting was rumored to have been looking at the possibility of transferring closer to his home in Louisville, Ky. He is in the middle of an academic quarter at Ohio State, but it will be one of his last in Columbus, as Whiting plans to transfer to the University of Louisville in the summer.
“As of 11:55 a.m., I received an important phone call and after spring quarter ends on June 1st I will be attending University of Louisville,” he tweeted.
“And will be a Cardinal for the remainder of my college career as a student and athlete!”
The 6-1, 238-pound linebacker will have to sit out the 2012 season because of the transfer, and will have only one season to play football at Louisville. The decision makes sense, however, because Whiting was not likely to break into the lineup at Ohio State this fall.
A product of Trinity High School in Louisville, Whiting was the first member of Ohio State’s 2009 recruiting class, but he has never quite found a way to work his way on to the field at linebacker with the Buckeyes.
He totaled only two tackles in 19 games played on special teams and missed the 2011 season-opener against Akron because of a one-game suspension handed down by the NCAA for his role in the tattoos scandal.
The former 3-star prospect then found himself in a logjam at the middle linebacker position behind Storm Klein and Etienne Sabino. Both players return for the Buckeyes in 2012, and Whiting is not a good fit for another position on Ohio State’s defense.
That doesn’t mean he holds any ill will for the program as he makes his exit.
“Buckeye Nation these last few years have been the most memorable years of my life. It was truly a blessing to have been a part of this city,” he tweeted.
“Deep inside I will be a Buckeye (because) it’s part of who I am.”
Whiting is now the seventh player to leave the program since Urban Meyer took over as the head football coach back in November. Backup quarterback Taylor Graham was the first player to leave, asking for his release in early January so he could seek a transfer to Hawaii.
Graham was followed shortly by defensive backs Dominic Clarke and DerJuan Gambrell, both of whom were released from their scholarships by Meyer for violating team rules (both players were arrested in January).
Since then, defensive back Jeremy Cash and fullback David Durham have also asked for their release to seek a transfer, while tailback Jaamal Berry was told he will not be allowed to return to the team as he awaits his legal fate.
Getting down to the allotted 82 scholarships was obviously a priority to Meyer after signing a much larger class than most anticipated in February. Meyer insisted they actually had room to take one more than the 25 players they signed—which included six players who enrolled at Ohio State for winter quarter, and therefore counted against last year’s class.
Dr. John Bruno, an Ohio State professor of psychology and the faculty athletics representative, said none of the players who have left the program in recent months were “run off” by Meyer or any of the coaches for reasons other than misconduct.
“We believe the University owes a commitment to those young people in spite of the fact that there was a coaching change,” said Bruno, who does not work for Ohio State Athletics, but has been appointed to oversee the department by OSU President E. Gordon Gee.
“I think it’s monitored pretty closely in the Big Ten, and I know its monitored closely at Ohio State, especially during a time period like we have now.”
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