Bob Hunter commentary | Rumblings: Ohio State could shift recruit Sam Hubbard to tight end

By The Columbus Dispatch  • 
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Sam Hubbard played his senior season at Cincinnati Moeller as a safety and was projected by most recruiting services as a linebacker or a defensive end, but it appears that he will at least begin his career at Ohio State as a tight end.

Scout.com had Hubbard ranked as the top prospect in Ohio last year, and Rivals.com ranked him No. 37 among outside linebackers nationally. But he was one of four linebackers in this year’s class, led by five-star prospect Raekwon McMillan, and the Buckeyes have commitments from linebacker Justin Hilliard and defensive end Jashon Cornell — both regarded as five-star recruits — in next year’s class.

The future looks thinner at tight end, where senior Jeff Heuerman underwent foot surgery in the spring. He is backed up by junior Nick Vannett and Marcus Baugh, who redshirted as a freshman and was sidetracked by off-the-field problems. The only other tight end on the roster, senior J.T. Moore, has had recurring knee problems.

Hubbard’s future has never been set in stone. He committed to Notre Dame to play lacrosse before his star spiked in football.

The Crew’s trade of last season’s leading scorer, Dominic Oduro, to Toronto FC for forward/midfielder Alvaro Rey looks like one of the worst moves in franchise history.

The Crew is 15th out of 19 Major League Soccer teams in goals scored, and Rey left the team after only 22 days and immediately signed with a second-division Spanish club. Crew officials insist that the trade wasn’t strictly player-for-player but that Oduro didn’t fit new coach Gregg Berhalter’s system and that the move helped free salary-cap space.

Whether the move is better than it appears now depends on whether the Crew can sign a player who can help it before the summer transfer window closes on Aug. 6. According to figures provided by the players union, the Crew should have about $586,000 to work with. The team is down to two healthy forwards.

Kevin Dineen, the former Blue Jackets player who coached the Florida Panthers for two-plus seasons before being fired last fall and then coached Canada’s women’s hockey team to a gold medal at the Sochi Olympics, has joined the Chicago Blackhawks as one of coach Joel Quenneville’s assistants.

During his playing days, Dineen was a teammate of Quenneville’s with the Hartford Whalers. He played for the Blue Jackets during their first two seasons and then four games into their third before retiring and joining the front office.

He was named coach of the Anaheim Ducks’ minor-league affiliate in 2005 and was a candidate for the Blue Jackets’ coaching job in 2010 when Scott Arniel was hired.

Florida made the playoffs in one of his two full seasons.

Retiring Big Ten football referee Bill LeMonnier told the Detroit Free Press at the league’s annual officiating clinic that the Michigan-Michigan State rivalry stands out in his mind as the most intense.

“With Michigan and Ohio State, it would be like that for the first few possessions and then settle in,” LeMonnier said. “But Michigan and Michigan State, it was like that from start to finish. That one has always stood out to me.”

In 2006, LeMonnier’s crew officiated No. 1 Ohio State at No. 2 Texas, No. 1 OSU against No. 2 Michigan and the memorable Boise State-Oklahoma Fiesta Bowl, yet he said the Michigan State-Michigan game was the most memorable.

“The rivalry of an Ohio State-Michigan game was great, but the Michigan-Michigan State game, that was 60 full minutes of intensity,” LeMonnier said. “I don’t mean that in any way negative — just real intense. You got it from the players, the coaches, the fans, the whole package was there for that 31/2 hours. Great place to hang out.

“This one to me, it’s like maybe down south, Auburn-Alabama. That in-state rivalry is really something.”

LeMonnier is a retired elementary school principal from Tinley Park, Ill. He started officiating youth football in 1973 and joined the Big Ten full time in 1993.

Before the Cleveland Cavaliers took Kansas star Andrew Wiggins with the No. 1 pick in the NBA draft, they also had an interest in Kansas coach Bill Self.

Self told the Kansas City Star that during the Cavaliers’ lengthy coaching search, the team contacted him.

“I talked to the Cavs’ people a lot throughout their evaluation process and the draft, but I’ll just leave it at that,” Self said. “That wasn’t anything I wanted to become public, certainly, and they didn’t either.”

The Cavaliers ultimately hired David Blatt on June 20.

Legendary Auctions has three items associated with former Ohio State All-American Jim Stillwagon in its upcoming online sports auction, which starts on Monday and concludes Aug.  1.

Stillwagon’s 1970 Outland Trophy ($4,000 minimum bid), 1970 Lombardi Award ($2,500) and 1970 national champion ring ($1,500) are among the 50 lots up for bid. The 1970 national title was awarded by the National Football Foundation.

Miami Heat coach Erik Spoelstra told the South Florida Sun-Sentinel that there are “no regrets” over LeBron James’ decision to return to Cleveland, saying that “this league does teach you that (change is) inevitable.”

He also said that James’ decision caught the Heat by surprise and threw team officials into panic mode for about “two to three” hours as they scrambled to contact free agents and rebuild the roster.

“We were all in (team president Pat Riley’s) office about five minutes just to collect ourselves, and then from there it was madness,” Spoelstra said. “The board was right there. So we said we better get to work, and we didn’t leave until after 1 in the morning. … It’s still the Miami Heat, still a great, proven organization.”

Bob Hunter is a sports columnist for The Dispatch.

bhunter@dispatch.com

@dailyhunter

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