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McCarron to find out free agent fate next month

Published: Monday, January 01, 2018 @ 3:27 PM

McCarron: It’s a weird situation

AJ McCarron is about six weeks away from a potentially easier exit.

The Cincinnati Bengals backup quarterback said he will find out Feb. 15 the arbitration ruling on his grievance to become an unrestricted free agent.

“We’ll have to wait and see,” McCarron said. “Hopefully I get my chance.”

A player must have accrued four seasons to become an unrestricted free agent, but there is an unresolved issue over whether McCarron accrued a season as a rookie in 2014. He began that year on the reserve/non-football injury list with a shoulder injury and was only on the 53-man roster for three games and the playoff loss to Indianapolis.

›› Marvin Lewis’ future with Bengals remains cloudy

McCarron said he already presented his case last spring and is just waiting on a verdict. He would like to think he could still move on if he remains a restricted free agent, but wouldn’t count on it. A pursuant team would have to compensate the Bengals however they choose to tender him.

“It’s just hard,” he said of the wait. “As a competitor, you just see other guys playing and you want your chance to be able to showcase what you can truly do, and that’s just being a competitor. Like I’ve said before, God’s plan doesn’t work out when we want it to. It’s on His time. I’ve always truly believed that, and my wife always does an excellent job of reminding me that, and it’s just something you’ve got to buy into and trust and realize.”

On the Bengals’ exit day Monday, McCarron met with Marvin Lewis and discussed his future.

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When asked what he thinks his future holds, McCarron said that depends on what he finds out Feb. 15; however, has given up any hope of getting his opportunity to play with Cincinnati.

“Anytime you come into a place where a guy is established like A.D. (Andy Dalton), who’s led them to the playoffs however many times and they are paying him that much, it’s not going to happen,” McCarron said. “It’s just the way it goes. Like I said, I just want a chance to compete so I’m just waiting on that opportunity.”

Buffalo’s hero: Andy Dalton is getting royal treatment from Buffalo after his incredible 49-yard touchdown pass to Tyler Boyd lifted the Bengals to victory over Baltimore on Sunday.

The Ravens’ loss meant the Bills are headed to the playoffs instead. Dalton’s pass came on fourth-and-12 with 44 seconds left.

“I think I’m the hottest guy in Buffalo right now,” Dalton said Monday. “According to my Twitter, I think everybody’s loving us right now. Obviously that’s a crazy fan base and they’re all pretty excited.”

›› 6 things to know about Bengals win vs. Ravens

Bills fans have been donating to Dalton’s foundation in $17 increments in honor of the 17 years they waited for a postseason appearance.

“We’re appreciative of that,” Dalton said. “Obviously they’re helping out a good cause. It’s been pretty fun to see the reaction we’ve gotten.”

Postseason awards: The Cincinnati chapter of the Pro Football Writers of America named defensive tackle Geno Atkins as the Bengals’ 2017 Most Valuable Player and defensive end Carlos Dunlap as the recipient of the organization’s annual “Good Guy” award.

Atkins, who also earned the MVP honor in 2012, finished the season with nine sacks, 10 tackles for losses and 20 quarterback hits. Dunlap, coming out of his eighth season, is the 17th recipient of the PFWA’s “Good Guy” award, given for professionalism and cooperation with media and understanding the media’s role in covering the team. He was recognized in part for his involvment in the local community, this season focusing on an anti-bullying initiative.

›› Bengals send Marvin out (maybe) a winner with wild comeback at Baltimore

“This is my community so I just want to take ownership and get involved,” Dunlap said.

Player moves: The Bengals on Monday signed nine players from the practice squad to reserve/future contracts. Included in that transaction were linebackers Carl Bradford, Connor Harris, kicker Jonathan Brown, offensive tackle Javarius Leamon, guard Oni Omoile, tight end Scott Orndoff, cornerback Sojourn Shelton, safety Robenson Therezie and wide receiver Kermit Whitfield.

WATCH: 5-year-old dancer steals the show at Cavs-Warriors’ game

Published: Tuesday, January 16, 2018 @ 4:46 PM

From the Facebook page of the NBA.
From the Facebook page of the NBA.

The halftime show of Monday night’s game between the Cleveland Cavaliers and the Golden State Warriors featured a dancing 5-year-old whose moves amazed thousands of NBA fans around the world. 

With the Cavaliers’ Scream Team in the background, young Tavaris Jones danced to the song “Rolex” by Ayo and Teo, according to media reports. 

The video has gone viral as nearly 50,000 people have watched in on YouTube alone. 

Wisconsin recruiting: Badgers offer OLB Javontae Jean-Baptiste, Michigan visits QB Graham Mertz, early enrollees on campus

Published: Tuesday, January 16, 2018 @ 2:15 PM

Wisconsin-Javontae Jean Baptiste-Recruiting

Recruiting never stops in Badgers country, and we’re here to help put it all in perspective. Join us every Tuesday and Thursday night for a recap of Wisconsin recruiting news, insight on what’s happening behind the scenes and a glimpse at what’s coming next.


Badgers offer 4-star OLB Javontae Jean-Baptiste

Wisconsin’s push to enhance its 2018 recruiting class is barreling toward the finish line with National Signing Day approaching on Feb. 7. But that hasn’t stopped the Badgers from making a late charge at a heavily recruited prospect.

On Monday, Wisconsin offered a scholarship to outside linebacker Javontae Jean-Baptiste, a 6-foot-5, 215-pound senior from Bergen Catholic in New Jersey. Jean-Baptiste now has 23 scholarship offers, which include Nebraska and Ohio State.

The likelihood of landing Jean-Baptiste appears to be slim, but Wisconsin isn’t completely out of the race. Jean-Baptiste has taken three of his five allotted official visits: Boston College (Dec. 8), Virginia Tech (Dec. 15) and Nebraska (Jan. 12). He is scheduled to take his fourth official visit to Ohio State this weekend. Jean-Baptiste told Evan Flood of Badger247.com that he would use his fifth visit on either Texas A&M or Wisconsin.

Jean-Baptiste is a 4-star prospect who is rated as the No. 7 player in New Jersey and the No. 21 outside linebacker in the country, according to the 247Sports composite.

Michigan pushing for Wisconsin QB commit Graham Mertz

Quarterback Graham Mertz (Overland Park, Kan.) committed to Wisconsin on Oct. 8 as a member of the 2019 recruiting class. But until he officially signs on the dotted line a year from now, it’s fair game for any college program to try to sway him from making that decision.

Given how well Mertz has performed in the months since making his commitment, it’s no surprise that he continues to generate more interest.

Steve Lorenz of 247Sports reported that Michigan coach Jim Harbaugh and new assistant coach Dan Enos visited Mertz last Friday during a recruiting trip to the Kansas City area. That’s notable because Michigan offered Mertz a scholarship on Dec. 16.

Mertz led Blue Valley North to the Kansas Class 6A state championship and finished his junior season completing 269 of 434 passes (62 percent) for 3,684 yards with 45 touchdowns and 6 interceptions. He participated this month in the U.S. Army National Combine in San Antonio and was deemed by recruiting analysts as one of the best quarterbacks there.

Mertz is a 4-star prospect and is rated as the No. 7 pro-style quarterback in the country, according to the 247Sports composite. If he signs with Wisconsin, he would be the second-highest-rated signal caller for the Badgers since 2005, behind only Bart Houston. It appears Wisconsin will have to hold off other programs in the coming months.

5 early enrollees on campus

Of Wisconsin’s 19 signees in the 2018 recruiting class, five opted to enroll at Wisconsin early so they could acclimate to classes and begin preparations for spring practice. Those five are safety Reggie Pearson Jr. (River Rouge, Mich.), wide receiver Taj Mustapha (West Bloomfield, Mich.), nose guard Bryson Williams (Lincoln, Neb.), cornerback Donte Burton (Loganville, Ga.) and wide receiver Aron Cruickshank (Brooklyn, N.Y.)

All five of those players are on campus and ready to begin school next week. Andrew Marlatt, Wisconsin’s senior director of operations and recruiting, posted a photo of them Monday to Twitter.

Land of 10 spoke with Pearson, Williams, Burton and Cruickshank before they left their hometowns for campus, and each player acknowledged the importance of enrolling early and participating in practice.

“It’ll be great because then I’ll get to adapt to the new surroundings and stuff,” Cruickshank said. “I’ll get to feel more into the atmosphere. It’s not like high school where I get to go home. I’ll be there for four years.”

Cruickshank comes from an Erasmus Hall program that once was home to Curtis Samuel, who enrolled early at Ohio State in 2014 and then became a star player and NFL draft pick. Erasmus Hall football coach Danny Landberg said that, since that time, he and his staff have encouraged every Division I player to enroll early.

“We don’t want him sitting around in Brooklyn doing nothing while other kids are in spring ball,” Landberg said. “We want him out there as fast as possible. This is business. We don’t have time for games. We want him to get out there and make an impact as soon as he can.”

Loganville football coach Mike Humphreys said Burton took extra classes online, including Spanish, so he could acquire enough credits to graduate early. Burton hopes that decision pays off in the form of playing time.

“I think it’ll be a big part,” Burton said. “It’ll let me get a head start on everything that they have going on up there. The workouts. Just getting an opportunity to try to work into a role on the first team. It’s really a blessing that I was able to become an early enrollee. I’m just happy to be a part of the team. I can’t wait to really get started. I think me coming early will give me a little bit of an edge. It will basically give me the opportunity to go in and compete.”

Williams could be in the best position to play early among the group of five, given Wisconsin’s need at nose guard. He’ll have an opportunity to serve as the backup to Olive Sagapolu and take over as the starter in 2019.

“As far as being able to try to contribute right away next fall, obviously I think that was something that was really important to him,” said Ryan Gottula, Williams’ high school football coach at Lincoln Southeast. “It’s a huge adjustment for any kid going from the high school level to the Division I level.

“But having that time to get to know your teammates, get to know your coaches, learn the scheme ― I think asking a freshman to do that in just a few weeks in the fall is really tough. This would allow him to get adjusted to school and learn that scheme and be a part of spring practices.”

The post Wisconsin recruiting: Badgers offer OLB Javontae Jean-Baptiste, Michigan visits QB Graham Mertz, early enrollees on campus appeared first on Land of 10.

Ohio State recruiting: Top Buckeyes target sets commitment date; Greg Schiano hits the trail

Published: Tuesday, January 16, 2018 @ 2:00 PM

ohio state football-greg schiano-buckeyes-ohio state-buckeyes football

Recruiting never stops, and if you take a day off, you fall behind. Join us every night for a daily recap of Ohio State recruiting news, insight on what’s happening behind the scenes and a glimpse at what’s coming next.


Tyler Friday locks in commitment date

It looks like Ohio State fans may not have to wait much longer for good news on one of the top remaining targets in the 2018 recruiting class. Four-star defensive lineman and Ramsey (N.J.) Don Bosco product Tyler Friday took to Twitter to detail his plans for an upcoming commitment ceremony.

Friday will announce a decision between Ohio State, Michigan and Alabama in his high school’s auditorium. The New Jersey native already has taken official visits to each of the three programs — Nov. 17, Nov. 25, and Dec. 15, respectively — and recently received an in-home visit from Ohio State defensive line coach Larry Johnson this past Friday.

Everything has been trending Ohio State’s way since the start of the new year, and my confidence remains high that Friday will be a Buckeye. Johnson and defensive coordinator Greg Schiano have built strong relationships with Friday, and the allure of Ohio State seemingly has put the Buckeyes in front. I expect that Friday — both the player and day — will be the start of a very positive weekend for Ohio State.

Friday is a 6-foot-3, 263-pound defensive lineman in the Class of 2018, rated by the 247Sports composite as the country’s No. 3 defensive tackle, No. 2 prospect in New Jersey, and No. 85 among all prospects in the country. He has the potential to play as a defensive tackle, strongside defensive end, or interior offensive lineman.

Greg Schiano visits top target

On Monday, we discussed Javontae Jean-Baptiste’s decision time frame, and his lack of any detailed plans beyond an upcoming official to Ohio State on Friday. Jean-Baptiste, a defensive end from Oradell (N.J.) private school powerhouse Bergen Catholic, already has taken official visits to Nebraska, Boston College and Virginia Tech, but has yet to commit to taking another official visit after his planned trip to Columbus this weekend. There are schools that want to change that — Wisconsin, Texas A&M and Pittsburgh are all lobbying for one last visit from Jean-Baptiste — but it’s been no dice for all of them to date.

A sit-down with his Bergen Catholic coach, Nunzio Campanile, did little to change Jean-Baptiste’s plans in terms of an announcement or further visits.

“Coach Schiano is coming [Tuesday night] for an in-home visit. That’s the only thing he has planned so far. He’s not certain yet on an announcement date or if he’ll take any more official visits after Ohio State,” Campanile said.

What does that mean for the Buckeyes? Good news, likely. I think Jean-Baptiste’s official visit to Ohio State will tell the tale for this recruitment. While Nebraska, Boston College, Virginia Tech and other programs have done well in pursuit of him, Ohio State was a very significant offer for the Jersey native.

If Ohio State coaches come out of the visit confident that they want Jean-Baptiste (I expect that they will be) and Jean-Baptiste comes out of his visit confident that he wants to choose Ohio State (I expect that he will be), then it will only be a matter of when and not if for the Buckeyes. Things can change quickly in recruiting, but Ohio State is sitting in strong position for both of these New Jersey defensive linemen heading into an important weekend.

Details on Buckeyes’ latest 2018 offer

On Monday, Ohio State offered a scholarship to Washington (D.C.) St. John’s College Prep defensive back and Virginia commit DJ Brown. Brown has been on fire in December and January, adding seven new offers in the last several weeks. Ohio State, Clemson, Nebraska, California, South Carolina, Duke and Louisville have all offered Brown, who’s been committed to Virginia since July 2017.

Brown, an Under Armour All-American, took an official visit to Virginia in November. He’s bandied about the possibility of official visits to Ohio State, Clemson, South Carolina, Cal, Duke and Northwestern for his final four trips. He’s on a time crunch to arrange those trips ahead of signing day on Feb. 7.

BuckeyeGrove.com’s Marc Givler reported that Brown is planning to take an official visit to Ohio State, but it will be a game of wait-and-see as to whether that trip occurs. I wouldn’t go as far as to pencil Brown into the class yet until it’s clear what Ohio State’s scholarship numbers will look like and how interested the Buckeyes are. To boot, Clemson is not a school to take lightly for an East Coast prospect.

The offer to Brown is an interesting development and a situation that bears watching as the close to this recruiting class nears, but I wouldn’t expect it to be a recruitment that takes the forefront of Ohio State’s priority list just yet.

Miss a day of the Ohio State recruiting notebook? Don’t fret! You can get all of the previous versions of Dotting the ‘Eyes here.

The post Ohio State recruiting: Top Buckeyes target sets commitment date; Greg Schiano hits the trail appeared first on Land of 10.

Ohio State recruiting: Top Buckeyes target sets commitment date; Greg Schiano hits the trail

Published: Tuesday, January 16, 2018 @ 2:00 PM

ohio state football-greg schiano-buckeyes-ohio state-buckeyes football

Recruiting never stops, and if you take a day off, you fall behind. Join us every night for a daily recap of Ohio State recruiting news, insight on what’s happening behind the scenes and a glimpse at what’s coming next.


Tyler Friday locks in commitment date

It looks like Ohio State fans may not have to wait much longer for good news on one of the top remaining targets in the 2018 recruiting class. Four-star defensive lineman and Ramsey (N.J.) Don Bosco product Tyler Friday took to Twitter to detail his plans for an upcoming commitment ceremony.

Friday will announce a decision between Ohio State, Michigan and Alabama in his high school’s auditorium. The New Jersey native already has taken official visits to each of the three programs — Nov. 17, Nov. 25, and Dec. 15, respectively — and recently received an in-home visit from Ohio State defensive line coach Larry Johnson this past Friday.

Everything has been trending Ohio State’s way since the start of the new year, and my confidence remains high that Friday will be a Buckeye. Johnson and defensive coordinator Greg Schiano have built strong relationships with Friday, and the allure of Ohio State seemingly has put the Buckeyes in front. I expect that Friday — both the player and day — will be the start of a very positive weekend for Ohio State.

Friday is a 6-foot-3, 263-pound defensive lineman in the Class of 2018, rated by the 247Sports composite as the country’s No. 3 defensive tackle, No. 2 prospect in New Jersey, and No. 85 among all prospects in the country. He has the potential to play as a defensive tackle, strongside defensive end, or interior offensive lineman.

Greg Schiano visits top target

On Monday, we discussed Javontae Jean-Baptiste’s decision time frame, and his lack of any detailed plans beyond an upcoming official to Ohio State on Friday. Jean-Baptiste, a defensive end from Oradell (N.J.) private school powerhouse Bergen Catholic, already has taken official visits to Nebraska, Boston College and Virginia Tech, but has yet to commit to taking another official visit after his planned trip to Columbus this weekend. There are schools that want to change that — Wisconsin, Texas A&M and Pittsburgh are all lobbying for one last visit from Jean-Baptiste — but it’s been no dice for all of them to date.

A sit-down with his Bergen Catholic coach, Nunzio Campanile, did little to change Jean-Baptiste’s plans in terms of an announcement or further visits.

“Coach Schiano is coming [Tuesday night] for an in-home visit. That’s the only thing he has planned so far. He’s not certain yet on an announcement date or if he’ll take any more official visits after Ohio State,” Campanile said.

What does that mean for the Buckeyes? Good news, likely. I think Jean-Baptiste’s official visit to Ohio State will tell the tale for this recruitment. While Nebraska, Boston College, Virginia Tech and other programs have done well in pursuit of him, Ohio State was a very significant offer for the Jersey native.

If Ohio State coaches come out of the visit confident that they want Jean-Baptiste (I expect that they will be) and Jean-Baptiste comes out of his visit confident that he wants to choose Ohio State (I expect that he will be), then it will only be a matter of when and not if for the Buckeyes. Things can change quickly in recruiting, but Ohio State is sitting in strong position for both of these New Jersey defensive linemen heading into an important weekend.

Details on Buckeyes’ latest 2018 offer

On Monday, Ohio State offered a scholarship to Washington (D.C.) St. John’s College Prep defensive back and Virginia commit DJ Brown. Brown has been on fire in December and January, adding seven new offers in the last several weeks. Ohio State, Clemson, Nebraska, California, South Carolina, Duke and Louisville have all offered Brown, who’s been committed to Virginia since July 2017.

Brown, an Under Armour All-American, took an official visit to Virginia in November. He’s bandied about the possibility of official visits to Ohio State, Clemson, South Carolina, Cal, Duke and Northwestern for his final four trips. He’s on a time crunch to arrange those trips ahead of signing day on Feb. 7.

BuckeyeGrove.com’s Marc Givler reported that Brown is planning to take an official visit to Ohio State, but it will be a game of wait-and-see as to whether that trip occurs. I wouldn’t go as far as to pencil Brown into the class yet until it’s clear what Ohio State’s scholarship numbers will look like and how interested the Buckeyes are. To boot, Clemson is not a school to take lightly for an East Coast prospect.

The offer to Brown is an interesting development and a situation that bears watching as the close to this recruiting class nears, but I wouldn’t expect it to be a recruitment that takes the forefront of Ohio State’s priority list just yet.

Miss a day of the Ohio State recruiting notebook? Don’t fret! You can get all of the previous versions of Dotting the ‘Eyes here.

The post Ohio State recruiting: Top Buckeyes target sets commitment date; Greg Schiano hits the trail appeared first on Land of 10.