Skull Session: Buckeyes Love Changing NIL Rules, Malaki Branham Wants a Retired Number, and Oregon’s AD Discusses Ohio State

Turns out, freakish athletism translates to multiple sports.

Behold, five-star 2023 safety prospect Sonny Styles out of Pickerington Central.

Also, it’s extremely cool and good that all of these five-star prospects just happen to be sprouting up in Ohio State’s backyard. Let’s keep that up please, Ohio.

Word of the Day: Rote.

 CRITICS ARE RAVING. Ohio’s officially announced its own take on name, image and likeness legislation on Monday, and you’ll be shocked to learn that the players are, by all accounts, extremely stoked.

This has got me daydreaming about which companies players are going to be representing when they arrive at check-in day in a few months.

Also, how much would it take to get a walk-on to arrive at the hotel rocking a shirt with my face gigantically printed across the front? My wife wants to know.

 ELITE PLAYER, ELITE NUMBER. Malaki Branham is one of the most hyped prospects Chris Holtmann has ever brought to Columbus, and the young gun is looking to make a splash right off the bat by rocking what is a pretty legendary number around these parts.

But he’ll have to get permission, first.

“Malaki, what a special kid he is. He is a young man people are going to love watching and getting to know. He is a versatile, multiposition guard. I don’t think you pigeon hole him in any particular position.

“The biggest thing for him is he and I both have to write a letter or have him pick up the phone and call Jimmy Jackson because he really wants to wear that number. We’ll see how that goes. But he is a special kid and we are super excited to have him.”

Jimmy Jackson’s the reason that No. 22 jersey now hangs from the rafters, but it was worn by NBA All-Star Michael Redd, too.

Those are decidedly huge shoes to fill, but I must say, it does look good on him.

 RARE OPPORTUNITY. We’re all excited to see Ohio State take on Oregon, giving the Buckeyes a quality non-conference matchup for the first time in quite a while. But on the flip side, Oregon is also stoked, because it means they get a chance at one of the top teams in all of college football. And they want to take advantage.

Speaking on Sirius XM Pac-12 Radio with Guy Haberman and Ryan Leaf, Oregon athletic director Rob Mullens explained the importance of the Pac-12 playing a big non-conference game like that and Oregon taking on the Buckeyes.

“This league has won more national championships when you combine all sports, than anybody,” Mullens said. “But at the end of the day, because of the visibility of football, that carries a disproportionate share of all of these college conferences. We have to take advantage of our opportunities. A lot of those come in the postseason, but we’re going to have some great opportunities in the non-conference segment this fall. We’ll have one, even though its game two and we’re focused on game one Ryan….but the chance to take a trip to Ohio State, we would’ve loved to have them last year, but the chance to go out and compete against what many believe will be a top three, top five team on the road, will give us a chance to show what Pac-12 football is like.”

Those comments just serve as a reminder that there is no « just another game » to any of Ohio State’s opponents. Whenever the Buckeyes come up on the schedule, it’s the single biggest, most important game of the year – a chance to make their season with a win.

The Buckeyes play every Saturday with a target on their back. That’s just how it is.

 THE WORST OF THE BEST? Shoutout to Brian Hartline for getting multiple mentions in this Twitter conversation.

For the record, I firmly disagree. The dude had back-to-back 1,000-yard seasons and had a single game where he put up 253 yards and a touchdown on 12 receptions. Bad players don’t do that.

However, statistically speaking, a former Ohio State player *is* pretty undeniably the correct answer to this question. It just ain’t Hartline.

 SONG OF THE DAY. « 1979 » by The Smashing Pumpkins.

 NOT STICKING TO SPORTS. The marathon men who can’t go home… A mob boss’ YouTube channel is causing political havoc in Turkey… A smart toilet takes pictures of your poop and sends it straight to your doctor… A chicken wing shortage is gripping the United States… San Francisco’s shoplifting surge has gotten out of hand… How a New York City restaurant loses money on a $14 sandwich… The age at which people are their happiest…