Skull Session: Baker Mayfield Encourages Justin Fields, Bruce Thornton is the Next Great Guard, and Doctor Talks Justin Fields’ Epilepsy


Hand up, I have never heard of this podcast, but it took me one 30 second clip to decide that I will be listening to at least one episode.

(Warning: a four-letter word beginning with the letter « F » is used, and it’s not « funk »)

Word of the Day: Salient.

 “SEEMS LIKE YOU ALWAYS FIND A WAY.” Justin Fields is about to join an extremely elite group where you pretty much only have 32 peers. The good news is, one of them is already welcoming him in with open arms.

At first, I thought it was kinda wild how similar Justin and Baker’s career paths were with both of them finishing their college careers at a different school than they started. Then I realized that also applies to like 20 percent of the league’s quarterbacks these days.

Just ask Aaron Rodgers, Russell Wilson, Joe Burrow, Kyler Murray, Jalen Hurts, etc.

 JUSTIN FIELDS > EPILEPSY. Justin Fields has had epilepsy the entire time he’s been developing as one of the top quarterback prospects of all time and it’s never caused him any significant problems.

I have no idea why folks are now questioning whether it will affect him in the NFL when it hasn’t strongly impacted him his entire life, but maybe a doctor’s word will be enough to end those conversations.

“As long as people are doing well, and the medications help them, there really are no contraindications to playing a sport,” said Dr. Emily Klatte, OhioHealth’s system medical chief for epilepsy, “and I think that’s a false perception out there.”

“It sounds like he’s already doing everything he should be doing to make himself successful,” Klatte said. “Things in general that can lead to seizures occurring more frequently are sleep deprivation, missing medication doses, stress sometimes. So I think any athlete just needs to work on those factors and know for their personal case what makes things worse and try to avoid those triggers.”

As if the two seasons of looking like one of the best quarterbacks in the country while also managing epilepsy wasn’t proof enough that he’ll be just fine at the next level.

I swear folks are just inventing reasons to have concerns about drafting him.

 NEXT GREAT GUARD. Ohio State’s going to have Meechie Johnson and Jamari Wheeler running point next year, but Bruce Thornton’s got next.

Q: Ohio State has been a top 10 team at times each of the last two years. What was your thought about picking Ohio State?

Thornton: “I built a great connection with the whole coaching staff and really (assistant) Jake Diebler and coach Holtmann. Ever since they offered me, they have called me since day one. It felt like home. It’s the place I want to be.”

Q: They will have Meechie Johnson and Penn State transfer Jamari Wheeler splitting time at the point this year. Do you see an opportunity for you to play the following year?

Thornton: “Yes sir. I feel like I will have an opportunity to start and play at Ohio State next year. It’s just of me doing what I have to do to be the best person I can be.”

Q: Ohio State is chasing the Big Ten championship and a shot to win a national championship perhaps in the next several years. Do you feel like you are a guy who can help the Buckeyes accomplish those goals?

Thornton: “Yes sir. Those are the goals. I told Coach Holtmann those are my goals. If you don’t dream big, you aren’t going to be the type of person you want to be. I feel like if I dream big I can accomplish anything I put my mind to.”

As an addendum here, we need to talk about the rating ESPN currently has for Thornton compared to the other two, because it’s one of the wildest outliers I’ve ever seen.

247Sports currently has Thornton as a four-star, rated the No. 6 point guard in the class and No. 24 player overall. Rivals has him as a five-star, rated the No. 5 point guard in the class and No. 12 player overall.

ESPN, meanwhile, has him as the No. *31* point guard and not even a top-60 player in the country. Hell, he’s not even a top-40 player in the southeast region.

So keep that in mind when you’re looking at that composite rating that has him as just the No. 59 player in the country. It’s uh… skewed.

 TENNIS SCHOOL? TENNIS SCHOOL. When it comes to Buckeye fandom, most of you don’t allow your attention to drift too far off the gridiron or the hardwood, and I certainly respect that.

But I wouldn’t be doing my job if I didn’t inform you all that Ohio State has one of the most dominant and consistent tennis programs in the country, and they cleaned up at the Big Ten awards this year.

Behold:

I wish I could tell you that Ty Tucker also won the Big Ten Coach of the Year award, but at this point, I’m sure y’all know that those things never actually go to the best coach in the conference.

 NCAA MAKES STATEMENT, DOES NOTHING. There’s nothing the NCAA loves more than words without action, and folks, they’re at it again.

“The NCAA and its members remain committed to providing a path for student-athletes to benefit from name, image and likeness opportunities,” the NCAA Board of Governors said in a statement following its quarterly meeting. “As we have previously noted, we recognize the importance of taking swift, appropriate action to modernize our rules. We also must collaborate with Congress to create a legal and legislative framework at the federal level to support name, image and likeness within the context of higher education. With several state laws taking effect this summer, we will continue efforts to adopt expanded name, image and likeness opportunities as soon as advisable.”

It’s worth noting that it’s been about a year and a half since the first statement like this, and pretty much nothing has been practically done on that front since then.

It’s unclear how many times the NCAA needs to affirm its commitment to doing something before it actually does something, but I guess for now our answer is « at least once more. »

 SONG OF THE DAY. « Doin’ Time » by Sublime.

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