Ohio State football coach Urban Meyer accepts no recruiting victory until the prospect has enrolled early or signed a national letter of intent. So it is with Demetrius Knox.
The offensive lineman from Fort Worth, Texas, has been committed to Ohio State for months. With just 12 days to go before the signing period opens, he is believed to be still committed, but there is a twist. He is expected to make an official visit to Texas this weekend, and he has expressed interest in UCLA.
The Longhorns are coached by Charlie Strong, once an assistant under Meyer at Florida, and he and his new staff reportedly are making a major push for in-state prospects.
But Meyer isn’t sitting idly by. He and offensive line coach Ed Warinner visited Knox on Wednesday, with Knox posting photos on Twitter. Meyer would like to sign five offensive linemen to replenish a depleted cupboard. When the Buckeyes flipped Ready’s Brady Taylor from his commitment to Virginia Tech this week, they got their fifth.
Luke Kennard, a 6-foot-5 junior shooting guard from Franklin, Ohio, is ranked 24th overall in the 2015 class by ESPN. He told reporters at the Fly to the Hoop invitational in Kettering, Ohio, over the weekend that the five unofficial visits he has taken to Kentucky since last summer don’t mean that the Wildcats are his leader.
Although it’s true that Kennard grew up rooting for the Wildcats and his grandfather is a Kentucky native who regularly attends home games, the five-star recruit insists that there is no “ leader” among seven schools, including Ohio State. The others are Duke, Louisville, Michigan, North Carolina and Florida.
Tom Sestito, whom the Blue Jackets drafted 85th overall in 2006, has gotten a lot of attention since his role in a game-opening line brawl between his Vancouver Canucks and the Calgary Flames.
Sestito already had drawn notice for piling up 27 penalty minutes in one second of ice time against the Los Angeles Kings on Jan. 13. The brawl with Calgary gave him a two-game scorecard of two ejections and 42 penalty minutes in three seconds of ice time.
Ohio State running back Carlos Hyde was one of nine players invited to the Senior Bowl who won’t play in it, the Pensacola New s Journal reported. A source told T he Dispatch that Hyde accepted an invitation in late December without his agent, Eugene Parker, knowing it.
Parker doesn’t want his client in any postseason game. He apparently doesn’t believe that Hyde can help himself in the draft by playing and could only damage his draft stock. Former Browns general manager Phil Savage, who is executive director of the game, disagreed with that thinking.
“Running backs are in a position that in some ways has been devalued,” Savage said. “You look at last year, there was not a single running back taken in the first round. … My personal thought for Carlos was he’s got a chance to be a first rounder, particularly if he comes here and answers some questions that people had.”
Hyde rushed for 1,521 yards last season, despite missing the first three games because of a suspension. In his first mock draft, ESPN draft analyst Mel Kiper has Hyde projected to go to the Cleveland Browns in the first round with the No. 26 pick.
Thirteen former Big Ten players are on the rosters of the Super Bowl participants, but none is from Ohio State.
Wisconsin leads the list with four, three of whom — quarterback Russell Wilson, linebacker Schofield O’Brien and free safety Chris Maragos — play for Seattle. Former Badgers running back Montee Ball plays for Denver. Michigan State, Penn State and Purdue each have two players on the rosters.
But there are two coaching connections for the Buckeyes. Seattle coach Pete Carroll was secondary coach under Earle Bruce at Ohio State in 1979, and Denver defensive line coach Jay Rodgers served as a recruiting intern in 2000.
General manager Walt Jocketty said he thought the Cincinnati Reds had agreed to a deal with free-agent outfielder Grady Sizemore before Sizemore changed his mind and signed with the Boston Red Sox.
“That’s all I’ll say about it — we thought we were going to get it done, and he changed his mind at the last minute,” Jocketty told the Cincinnati Enquirer. “That’s his prerogative.”
Sizemore, 31, agreed to a one-year, major league contract with the Red Sox worth a guaranteed $750,000 and with incentives up to $6 million.
Sizemore, a former Indians star, hasn’t played in the majors since 2011 and has played in only 104 games since 2009. He had surgery on his left knee in 2010 and his right knee in 2011. In 2012, he had back surgery and another surgery on his left knee. The Reds saw him as way to take some pressure off of rookie Billy Hamilton in center field.
Michigan athletic director Dave Brandon told Detroit’s WDIV-TV that he is “confused” why some people think he’s calling the shots for the football program. When offensive coordinator Al Borges was fired and Doug Nussmeier replaced him, a lot of Michigan fans believed that the decisions were Brandon’s and not those of coach Brady Hoke.
“I’m not angered (by it), just confused as to why anybody could draw that conclusion,” Brandon said. “I’m not a football coach. … How that conclusion was reached is beyond me.”
Maybe it is because he watches game film with the coaching staff on Sundays, a practice that former coach Rich Rodriguez didn’t like. Then there’s the fact that when Nussmeier was hired, neither Hoke nor Nussmeier spoke, but Brandon did.
Bob Hunter is a sports columnist for The Dispatch.