Ex-boxing champ Vinny Paz accused of assault: 'I got robbed'

Published: Wednesday, January 03, 2018 @ 2:11 PM
Updated: Wednesday, January 03, 2018 @ 2:10 PM

            Vinny Paz appears in court for assault charges on Wednesday, Jan. 3, 2018. The retired boxing champion whose comeback story after a car crash was dramatized in the 2016 film
Vinny Paz appears in court for assault charges on Wednesday, Jan. 3, 2018. The retired boxing champion whose comeback story after a car crash was dramatized in the 2016 film "Bleed for This," has been accused of attacking a Rhode Island man and sending him to the hospital. (Sandor Bodo/Providence Journal via AP, Pool)

Ex-boxing champion Vinny Paz, who's accused of biting a man, knocking out his teeth and sending him to a hospital, appeared in court on a felony assault charge on Wednesday and was released.

Paz, a five-time world champion who broke his neck in a car crash, is known for his comeback story, which was dramatized in the 2016 film "Bleed for This," starring Miles Teller. He appeared in Providence District Court on Wednesday morning, not long after turning himself in on a warrant issued by police on Tuesday.

Paz, who appeared in court with black eyes, did not enter a plea and was released on personal recognizance. He was ordered to have no contact with the man he's accused of beating and was scheduled to appear in superior court in April.

Witnesses told police that Paz accused the man of stealing $16,000.

Outside court, the retired champ maintained his innocence, telling reporters, "I got robbed." He called himself the victim and said he planned to go to a hospital after leaving court.

Asked if he regretted taking the law into his own hands, he replied, "No."

Paz, 55, retired from boxing in 2004. Since then, he has had several brushes with the law, including a 2012 no-contest plea to disorderly conduct for a fight with two women at a Providence bar. He also pleaded no contest in 2007 to drunken driving.

Michigan loses out on 4-star DL Tyler Friday

Published: Friday, January 19, 2018 @ 9:10 AM

Michigan has lost out on one of its top recruiting targets for the class of 2018 when 4-star defensive lineman Tyler Friday announced his commitment to Ohio State .

Friday made his announcement at a press conference on Friday. He chose Ohio State  over Michigan and Alabama .

Michigan had been recruiting Friday since he was a sophomore at Don Bosco Prep in northern New Jersey. It’s a recruiting loss in a state where the Wolverines have enjoyed much success the past four years.

There were 13 players from New Jersey on the Michigan roster in 2017, a pipeline of talent that began growing rapidly in 2014 with the recruitment of Jabrill Peppers and Juwann Bushell-Beatty from Paramus Catholic. That list of players includes defensive end Rashan Gary, who was the No. 1-ranked player in the country in the 2016 class, and offensive linemen Grant Newsome, Jon Runyan Jr., and Cesar Ruiz. Ruiz played at IMG Academy in Bradenton, Fla., but is from Pennsauken, N.J.

Michigan linebackers coach/special teams coordinator Chris Partridge was the head coach at Paramus Catholic before joining the Wolverines in 2015 as the director of player personnel. He was moved to the coaching staff at the end of the 2015 season. Partridge has been named national recruiter of the year each of the last two years by major recruiting web sites.

Michigan has signed a player from New Jersey each of the last four recruiting cycles but that streak is likely to end this cycle.

Friday (6-foot-3, 263 pounds) is ranked as the No. 85 player overall in the country by the 247Sports composite, the No. 2 player in New Jersey and the No. 3 defensive tackle in the country. He has said that colleges have been recruiting him as a defensive end but he should have the versatility to play on the interior as well.

Ohio State and Alabama increased their recruitment of Friday late in the process. He visited all three schools, including Michigan on Nov. 25 for the Ohio State game.

While adding Friday would have definitely been a boost to the 2018 class, Michigan does have good depth on the defensive line.

Michigan has signed three defensive linemen to the 2018 class: Aidan Hutchinson of Dearborn, Mich., Taylor Upshaw of Bradenton, Fla., and Julius Welschof of Misebach, Bavaria, Germany. The Wolverines signed 10 defensive linemen in the previous two recruiting classes.

That position group will be led by Gary, who will be a junior next season, and fifth-year senior Chase Winovich. Winovich announced this month that he is returning for this final year of eligibility after contemplating declaring for the NFL Draft. He was named winner of the team’s Blue Collar award for 2017. Winovich made 77 tackles, led the team with 18 tackles for loss and tied with linebacker Khaleke Hudson for the team lead with 8 sacks.

It will also include sophomore Aubrey Solomon, the No. 2-ranked defensive tackle in the country in the 2017 class. Solomon played in all 13 games with four starts as a freshman.

Tyler Friday commits to Ohio State: Buckeyes land a top DL

Published: Friday, January 19, 2018 @ 9:08 AM

Ramsey (N.J.) Don Bosco Prep defensive lineman Tyler Friday brought some good news for Ohio State fans today. The 6-foot-3, 263-pound defensive lineman committed to the Buckeyes over Alabama, Michigan, Penn State, Miami (Fla.), and a slew of other offers during a ceremony at his high school on Friday afternoon, Jan. 19.

Friday has the potential to play several different positions at Ohio State, but seems most likely to excel as a strongside defensive end or defensive tackle. He’s been ranked by the 247Sports composite rankings as the country’s No. three defensive tackle and one of the top 100 players in America, regardless of position. The potential of Friday playing interior offensive line has been discussed, as he spent much of his high school career playing on the offensive line. However, Friday has the athleticism and explosion to be a force on the defensive line.

The Buckeyes had been trailing behind Michigan for much of the late stretch of Friday’s recruitment, but growing bonds with Ohio State and an in-home visit from defensive line coach Larry Johnson seemed to signal a major turn in the tide of this recruitment. Michigan seemed to fall behind both Alabama and Ohio State as time went on. All three programs received official visits from Friday in November and December.

Ohio State now holds six commitments from defensive linemen in the 2018 recruiting class as Friday joins one of the country’s most impressive position groups in any recruiting class. 5-star DT Taron Vincent headlines the current commit list, which also includes 4-star linemen like Tyreke Smith, Tommy Togiai, and Antwuan Jackson Jr. and local prospect Alex Williams.

Friday has not yet been reached for comment on his commitment. Stay tuned for further news and analysis on the New Jersey star’s commitment to Ohio State.

Tyler Friday’s commitment gives Ohio State football another blue-chip DL

Published: Friday, January 19, 2018 @ 9:08 AM

Ohio State boasts one of the nation’s strongest recruiting classes in 2018 and that group got even stronger with another commitment on Friday, Jan. 19. Ramsey (N.J.) Don Bosco Prep defensive lineman Tyler Friday pledged to the Buckeyes on Friday afternoon at a ceremony at his high school, choosing Ohio State over Michigan and Alabama. In the 247Sports composite rankings, Friday is regarded as the country’s No. 86 overall recruit, the No. 4 defensive tackle, and the No. 2 prospect in the state of New Jersey.

So what will Friday’s commitment mean for Ohio State? Let’s break it down.

What does Friday bring to the table on the field?

At 6-foot-3 and 263 pounds, Friday is considered to be somewhat of a tweener. Although he’s rated by 247Sports and ESPN as a defensive tackle prospect, Rivals regards the 4-star prospect as a strongside defensive end. At Don Bosco, Friday has played nearly every role on both sides of the line, repping at left tackle, defensive end, defensive tackle, and offensive guard. I’d expect that Friday will begin his career at defensive end, but defensive tackle and interior offensive line are both real possibilities as he grows into his body and goes through Mick Marotti’s strength and conditioning program.

Friday is skilled at understanding how to win leverage battles and is rarely blown off of the football, a function of knowing how to utilize that leverage and impressive lower body strength. Friday also shows impressive ability to use his hands violently and discard blockers when needed, filling gaps as a defensive lineman. On the offensive line, his leg drive and aggression in finishing blocks are good signs.

He doesn’t fit the image of some of the prototypical defensive ends that Ohio State as recruited. Friday is more stockily built than players like Chase Young, Jalyn Holmes, or Joey Bosa, lacking their lanky frame and wide wingspan. He’s a plus athlete who shows more than enough agility and explosion to play effectively at defensive tackle, but he’s not in the elite echelons of athleticism at his position group.

What Friday means for Ohio State’s recruiting

Friday is yet another addition to Ohio State’s dominant recruiting class, particularly adding to an already-impressive defensive line group. The Buckeyes will remain second in the 247Sports team recruiting rankings with 308.99 points, trailing just behind Georgia’s top-ranked class nationally (309.15 points). For reference’s sake, Texas’ third-place recruiting class has 292.11 points and Penn State’s fourth-place class has 278.88 points.

Ohio State now holds commitments from six defensive linemen in this 2018 recruiting class, as Friday joins 5-star DT Taron Vincent, DE Tyreke Smith, DT Tommy Togiai, DT Antwuan Jackson Jr., and DE Alex Williams. Although Williams may not ultimately end up at defensive end, the group is nonetheless filled with talent and provides an immediate boost to defensive line coach Larry Johnson’s position group.

The Buckeyes now hold 11 commitments from prospects in the 247Sports composite top 100, good for best in the country by a fairly safe margin. Friday is Ohio State’s 23rd commitment overall in this 2018 recruiting class, 20 of whom are regarded as composite 4 or 5-star prospects. Georgia holds commitments from 18 such prospects and Auburn and Texas each hold 17 commits meeting those criteria.

I expect Ohio State to take only one more defensive lineman at most, likely Oradell (N.J.) Bergen Catholic product Javontae Jean-Baptiste. Jean-Baptiste, a 6-foot-5, 215-pound 4-star defensive end, is currently on Ohio State’s campus for his official visit during the Jan. 19 weekend. The overall numbers for the Buckeyes are more fluid. Ohio State is still pursuing prospects at offensive tackle, wide receiver, running back, linebacker, and defensive back and the Buckeyes will likely have a strong finish to their 2018 recruiting class.

It goes nearly without saying that any opportunity to defeat programs like Michigan and Alabama on the recruiting trail is a significant one for Ohio State. Urban Meyer and his coaching staff enjoy to note that they keep score in everything that they do and yet another victory over Jim Harbaugh’s program to the north will surely warm hearts around Columbus.

Check out Friday’s highlights

Friday has not yet made his senior year highlights available to view. However, check out highlights from his junior season below.

Sam Darnold to Cleveland? Former USC QB goes No. 1 in first NFL.com Mock Draft

Published: Friday, January 19, 2018 @ 9:05 AM

The Cleveland Browns are on the clock for the first pick of the 2018 NFL Draft. There is little doubt that they will be selecting a QB and that slot, but which QB: USC’s Sam Darnold, UCLA’s Josh Rosen or Wyoming’s Josh Allen.

In his first 2018 NFL mock draft, NFL.com analyst Daniel Jeremiah believes that the Browns will take Darnold at the top spot.

Jeremiah writes that the Browns “finally land their franchise signal-caller” by selecting Darnold at that spot.

Darnold led the Trojans to an 11-3 record this season and captured the Pac-12 Championship. The redshirt sophomore was thought to be a Heisman Trophy favorite coming into the 2017 season after his performance in the Rose Bowl against Penn State last season. However, his play this season did not earn him a spot to New York and he was out of contention for that award for most of the season.

That being said, Darnold had another solid year for the Trojans, including numerous comeback wins and some excellent play down the stretch. On the year, Darnold completed 63.1 percent of his passes for 4,143 yards and 26 TDs. He also threw 13 interceptions and led the Pac-12 with 22 turnovers.

A USC QB hasn’t been taken No. 1 since the 2003 NFL Draft when the other team in Ohio, the Cincinnati Bengals, selected Heisman Trophy winner Carson Palmer.

The first round of the NFL Draft will take place on Thursday, April 26 at AT&T Stadium in Arlington, Texas.