"When you go visit the high school coaches in the state of New Jersey, a lot like in our home state of Ohio, they care about you, not as a football player only, but as a student, as a person, what you're doing on the field and off the field."
Amid the wildly contested satellite camp discussion among college football coaches and fans, teams are hot on the trail this summer so long as they aren't violating any NCAA rules. Ohio State head coach Urban Meyer and his staff, including New Jersey native and former Rutger's head coach Greg Schiano, joined former Buckeye coach and current Rutgers head coach Chris Ash for a camp held at FDU.
Meyer lauded Schiano's work ethic and football tenacity having come from the Garden State, and drove home that New Jersey is a very important part of the recruiting trail for Buckeye football, with the state producing some of his favorite talent since his time coaching at Notre Dame.
He was sure to include points about the latest graduating set of Buckeyes finished their collegiate career with 50 wins in four years, along with a National Championship and over a dozen(!) NFL draft picks. Meyer stressed the importance of the off-field stuff being just as important as the work they do on the field, noting that these young players are being watched very closely and how attendees can make the most of their time in front of coaches.
"It's not often that a coach will tell a player to skip practice, especially a rookie quarterback as raw as Jones."
Cardale Jones was minutes away from practice last week when a text message from head coach Rex Ryan changed his path from the Bills' facility all the way to Cleveland. Ryan insisted that Jones make his way back to Ohio to be present at the birth of his son, Owen, telling the quarterback he would regret it the rest of his if he missed it.
Jones was particularly thrown aback when the head coach reached out and put this personal moment ahead of the team's needs. The rookie quarterback made it to the hospital just in time to see his second child born; a memory that was followed by officially signing his NFL contract days later.
Not that former Buckeye, and No. 2 overall pick in the 2015 NBA Draft, D'Angelo Russell needed anything else to curse his career -- he got it anyway. After a rookie season with the Los Angeles Lakers that included significantly little playing time, in addition to the Nick Young/Snapchat debacle that landed Russell on a short list of snitches in the league and his teammate in hot water with his fiance.
Following the ordeal, there were reports and rumors that his teammates weren't speaking with him and found it hard to trust the young player. Trust with secrets is one thing, but when that lack of trust makes it's way to the court, you got Russell essentially being the victim in a game of "keep away". When asked how much worse things could get for the team and specifically the rookie, Lil B bequeaths, "a lot".
Still eight months away from his 21st birthday, Russell has a lot to learn, but plenty of time to get there and get back in the good graces of his teammates, colleagues and fans.