Skull Session: Tony Alford and Trey Sermon Always Kept in Touch, Larry Johnson Demonstrates His Teaching Greatness, and People Are Still Sleeping on J.K. Dobbins

QB1 is looking good out there in Chicago.

Word of the Day: Tarry.

 NEVER LOST TOUCH. The Buckeyes missed out on Trey Sermon coming out of high school (to be fair, they signed J.K. Dobbins instead, so we don’t need to get *too* worked up about the recruiting miss).

But there’s a reason he didn’t have to think all that hard before choosing to spend his final college season in Columbus – he never lost touch with Tony Alford.

Even after Sermon chose to play elsewhere, Buckeyes running backs coach Tony Alford kept in touch with him — and this helped bring him to Ohio State in 2020. Georgia native Justin Fields, who’d worked out with Sermon in high school, was the Buckeyes’ quarterback.

Sermon, eager to play for Alford alongside Fields at Ohio State, transferred.

“We just appreciate him giving Trey an opportunity, and we’re just glad they kept a relationship even when Trey didn’t select them in the beginning,” Mitchell said of Alford. “They still kept a really close relationship. He still called and said, ‘Hey, how are you doing?’ They kept a really good friendship.”

This is a solid act of humanity on Alford’s part to value the relationship and the wellbeing of the player more than the commitment. And it makes sense.

Coaches recruit and build relationships with these prospects and their families for months – sometimes years. If it really is a genuine connection, it makes sense that those ties wouldn’t end just because a high schooler chooses a college that’s different than the one you work at.

That sort of relationship building is going to be absolutely vital in the transfer portal and one-time transfer era of college football. For starters, recruiting just ain’t going to work if it’s not based on a relationship and a culture fit, because your players will simply leave.

But it also works in the other direction – just because a player doesn’t pick your school out of high school doesn’t mean he won’t end up on your team at some point. It happened already with Antwuan Jackson and Trey Sermon, and I promise it happens again – maybe much sooner than later.

 GODFATHER OF THE DEFENSIVE LINE. Larry Johnson is the OG of defensive line coaches, and when you see him in action, it’s extremely easy to see why.

Our guy’s pushing 70 years old and he’s still out here doing hands-on training about how to hand fight in the trenches.

And that, folks, is how you produce three top-three picks in five years.

It’s also why Jack Sawyer looks like a seasoned vet already – dude’s been getting coached up by Coach J since he was a sophomore in high school, which is especially hilarious when I consider what I was doing with my life as a sophomore.

 STILL SLEEPING. J.K. Dobbins was quite clearly the best rookie running back in the NFL towards the end of last season (once he started actually getting the carries he deserved), but folks still seem to be sleeping on him entering the 2021 season.

But J.K. ain’t fretting about it. 

I think it’s safe to say Dobbins would prefer the production than a lofty PFF rating, though.

 TOUR DE CENTRAL OHIO. You know spring has officially sprung in Ohio when Brian Hartline’s bringing out the bike.

I would be absolutely embarrassed to learn how many days (weeks?) it takes me to move my blogger body 30 miles.

 SONG OF THE DAY. « Despacito » by Luis Fonsi.

 NOT STICKING TO SPORTS. A man built his own submarine as a pandemic project and dove to the bottom of a lake… Amazon’s Ring is the largest civilian surveillance network the United States has ever seen, and police can often use it without a warrant… How Shrek changed animated movies forever… Why swearing could have a place in the office… A lost village emerges from an Italian lake…