Friday, September 21, 2018
Sports

Urban Meyer has shifted signing day focus to Midwest

In the geopolitics of American football recruiting, the Houston metro area might produce a telltale announcement today. That's when Marvin Wilson, a defensive tackle given five stars by all those who know how to give out stars, will choose from among five universities on national signing day.

Wilson, widely deemed the best player left uncommitted, has narrowed his list to LSU, Florida State, Ohio State, Oklahoma and USF. On Jan. 18, he tweeted a photo of himself in an Ohio State jersey with the message, "Thinking about joining my boys. I'm trying to be great."

Plenty came packed in that and Wilson's list of finalists. For one thing, it did not include Texas, where Tom Herman has taken over for Charlie Strong, but did include Strong's new post, USF. For another, it included Ohio State.

"Urban Meyer is a real problem," said Mike Farrell, the national recruiting director for rivals.com — and Farrell meant a problem for opposing recruiters in talent-flush Texas. "He's landed two five-star kids from Texas this year. Obviously he got (current Buckeyes quarterback) J.T. Barrett out of there."

The reshuffling of the college football landscape finds some root in that Ohio State-and-Texas nugget. Supremacy has tilted from the SEC to a more balanced equation with the ACC boasting the national champion (Clemson) and the Big Ten widely presumed tops.

"Meyer is the best recruiter in college football," Farrell said. Alabama coach "Nick Saban wins all the national titles and recruiting titles and he's a terrific recruiter, but he's very straightforward. He's very deadpan. He's not creative. Urban Meyer always knows who is the right person to talk to, which angle to take, how to take the angle."

Still, on the team lists at rivals.com and 247sports.com, Alabama remains at No. 1 and Ohio State No. 2.

In other recruiting news, Lakeland receiver James Robinson reportedly will not sign with Florida today after he was issued a citation for misdemeanor possession of marijuana during a recruiting visit to Ohio State last week.

CONCUSSION SUIT: The NCAA and helmet maker Riddell are defendants in class-action lawsuits alleging they failed to protect football players from long-term head injuries and didn't educate them about the risks.

Basketball

SHACKLEFORD DEATH: There was no foul play in Friday's death of former North Carolina State standout Charles Shackleford, the Kinston (N.C.) Police Department determined.

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