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National Signing Day: Projected Ohio State signees, commitments, live updates

Published: Wednesday, February 07, 2018 @ 1:00 AM

With National Signing Day finally here, Ohio State football has a chance to finish with the No. 1 recruiting class in the country.

Most of that work was done in the Dec. 20-22 early signing period, when the Buckeyes signed 21 players. It could have been even higher, but Ohio State suffered December defections from 5-star defensive end Brenton Cox, 4-star safety Jaiden Woodbey and 4-star quarterback Emory Jones. The Buckeyes also missed out on in-state 5-star tackle Jackson Carman, who signed with Clemson.

Ohio State coach Urban Meyer is not one to accept disappointment, though, and his work on the recruiting trail since those losses has been extraordinary. Since January, the Buckeyes have landed 4-star defensive end Tyreke Smith, 4-star defensive end Tyler Friday and 3-star wide receiver Chris Olave. They’re also positioned to land 5-star tackle Nicholas Petit-Frere and 4-star defensive end Javontae Jean-Baptiste on National Signing Day.

Stay here for live updates, as this post will be updated throughout the early signing period.

Ohio State  recruiting updates, signee tracker for the early signing period

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UPDATE, 11:40 a.m.: Javontae Jean-Baptiste, a 4-star defensive lineman from Oradell (N.J.) Bergen Catholic, has signed a National Letter of Intent with the Buckeyes.

UPDATE, 10:44 a.m.: Nicholas Petit-Frere, a 5-star tackle from Tampa (Fla.) Barkeley, has signed a National Letter of Intent with the Buckeyes.

UPDATE, 10:43 a.m.: Ohio State defensive coordinator Greg Schiano has spurned the New England Patriots to remain with the Buckeyes.

UPDATE, 10:17 a.m.: Chris Olave, Ohio State’s other unsigned commit, has signed a National Letter of Intent with the Buckeyes.

UPDATE, 10:10 a.m: Tyler Friday has officially signed with Ohio State, per the Ohio State football Twitter account.

UPDATE, 10 a.m: Walker and Jean-Baptiste are both expected to decide around 12 p.m at their respective high schools, per sources.

UPDATE, 7:55 a.m.: Due to a school delay, Rasheed Walker has pushed back his announcement to 12 p.m from its previously scheduled 11 a.m time slot. Jean-Baptiste’s high school, Oradell (N.J.) Bergen Catholic, has been closed due to inclement weather and there is no word yet as to how his announcement may be effected.


Projected Ohio State signees on National Signing Day

Here are all of Ohio State’s projected players in the Class of 2018. Those whose signed in December are noted with an asterisk.

  • Tampa (Fla.) Berkeley Prep 5-star T Nicholas Petit-Frere
  • Bradenton (Fla.) IMG Academy 5-star DT Taron Vincent*
  • Jacksonville (Fla.) Trinity Christian 5-star S Tyreke Johnson*
  • Westerville (Ohio) South 5-star RB Jaelen Gill*
  • Cleveland Heights (Ohio) 4-star DE Tyreke Smith
  • Lindenhurst (N.Y.) 4-star TE Jeremy Ruckert*
  • Virginia Beach (Va.) Bishop Sullivan 4-star ILB Teradja Mitchell*
  • Pocatello (Idaho) Highland 4-star DT Tommy Togiai*
  • Brooklyn (N.Y.) Erasmus Hall 4-star C Matthew Jones*
  • Owasso (Okla.) 4-star SAF Josh Proctor*
  • St. Louis Christian Brothers 4-star WR Kamryn Babb*
  • Seffner (Fla.) Armwood 4-star RB Brian Snead*
  • Ramsey (N.J.) Don Bosco Prep 4-star DE Tyler Friday
  • Franklin (Tenn.) 4-star T Max Wray*
  • Huber Heights (Ohio) Wayne 4-star WR L’Christian “Blue” Smith*
  • Toledo (Ohio) St. John’s Jesuit 4-star OLB Dallas Gant*
  • Dinwiddie (Va.) County 4-star ILB K’Vaughan Pope*
  • Oradell (N.J.) Bergen Catholic 4-star DE Javontae Jean-Baptiste
  • Murfreesboro (Tenn.) Blackman 4-star RB Master Teague*
  • Brenham (Texas) Blinn College 4-star DT Antwuan Jackson*
  • Orlando (Fla.) Jones 4-star CB Sevyn Banks*
  • Austin (Texas) Lake Travis 4-star QB Matthew Baldwin*
  • San Marcos (Calif.) Mission Hills 3-star WR Chris Olave
  • Pickerington (Ohio) North 3-star DE Alex Williams*
  • New Castle (Pa.) 3-star CB Marcus Hooker*

Commitment times for Ohio State targets on National Signing Day

  • Javontae Jean-Baptiste will commit at 8 a.m.
  • Nicholas Petit-Frere at 10 a.m. on ESPNU.
  • Rasheed Walker at 12 p.m.

UPDATE, 7:55 a.m.: Due to a school delay, Rasheed Walker has pushed back his announcement to 12 p.m from its previously scheduled 11 a.m time slot. Jean-Baptiste’s high school, Oradell (N.J.) Bergen Catholic, has been closed due to inclement weather and there is no word yet as to how his announcement may be effected.

UPDATE, 10:00 a.m: Walker and Jean-Baptiste are both expected to decide around 12 p.m at their respective high schools, per sources.

UPDATE, 10:10 a.m: Tyler Friday has officially signed with Ohio State, per the Ohio State football Twitter account.

Latest updates on Ohio State recruiting

Projecting Ohio State’s 2018 signing class

Ohio State has a history of productive 3-star recruits

Buckeyes make their pitch to 5-star tackle

Nebraska, Ohio State battle for Javontae Jean-Baptiste

Urban Meyer’s makeover of Big Ten recruiting is complete

All of Ohio State’s 2018 de-commitments

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LaVar Ball pulls son LiAngelo out of UCLA after suspension

Published: Monday, December 04, 2017 @ 4:16 PM

LiAngelo Ball Pulled Out Of UCLA After Suspension By Father Lavar Ball

LaVar Ball pulled his son, LiAngelo, out of UCLA weeks after the Bruins basketball player and two of his teammates were arrested in China for stealing a pair of sunglasses.

>> Read more trending news

LaVar Ball confirmed to ESPN on Monday that he had removed his son from the university. TMZ first reported the decision.

LiAngelo Ball was indefinitely suspended alongside teammates Cody Riley and Jalen Hill after they were accused last month of shoplifting from a Louis Vuitton store next to their hotel in Hangzhou, China. If convicted, the trio would have faced 10-year sentences.

"I'm not sitting back and waiting," LaVar Ball told ESPN. "We get back over here and the consequences were even stiffer than China. So basically they're in jail here."

>> Related: UCLA basketball players thank president for help after arrest in China

The trio apologized to their teammates, friends, families and the government – including President Donald Trump – at a news conference after they were returned to the U.S. on Nov. 14.

According to ESPN, Riley, Hill and LiAngelo Ball were subject to review for possible violations to UCLA’s Student Conduct Code. The code includes a section on theft.

UCLA basketball coach Steve Alford announced last month that the trio would be suspended indefinitely. ESPN reported that the players have not been allowed to suit up, travel or practice with the UCLA basketball team.

>> Related: LiAngelo Ball, UCLA teammates arrested in China could get 10 years in prison if convicted

"These are good young men who exercised an inexcusable lack of judgment," Alford said at a news conference last month. “At some point, they may be permitted to join team workouts, practices and meetings, but that timeline has yet to be determined. They will have to earn their way back."

LiAngelo Ball and 2 UCLA Teammates Arrested in China for Shoplifting

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It was fixed! Conspiracies abound over Alabama’s win over Georgia 

Published: Tuesday, January 09, 2018 @ 11:22 AM

Alabama defeated Georgia 26-23 in overtime to win its 11th college football national championship. Watch the team celebrate. (Erica A. Hernandez/AJC STAFF)

For some Georgia fans Monday’s loss to Alabama in the College Football Championship, though tragically heartbreaking, filled them with hope and pride.

For other Bulldogs watchers it was deja vu watching a team rise in joy only to crumble in defeat

And yet for others, the overtime loss was the result of a sinister force -- the Big Ten referees officiating the game.

Media outlets and fans alike point to a litany of missed calls that allowed Alabama to claim its fifth title in nine seasons.

Here are some of the cited incidents of flagrant favoritism to the Tide:

• Bulldogs are ahead 20-13 with 4 minutes in regulation. Alabama faces a fourth-and-4. Tua Tagovailoa hits Calvin Ridley in the back of the end zone to tie the game.

The no-flag play: Alabama wide receiver Najee Harris (bottom) jumps early.

• In the third quarter, Georgia appeared to block a punt. Georgia’s Tyler Simmons was called offside ... but was he?

The no-flag play: Two Alabama players actually moved before the snap.

• TV cameras caugh several missed facemask pulls.

The no-flag play: On a third down run in the third quarter, Georgia running back D’Andre Swift fell short of the marker after he was snagged down. A flag would’ve kep Georgia’s drive alive. The Tide went on to score its first points in the ensuing drive.

• Also in the third quarter, special teams player Mekhi Brown was flagged for unsportsmanlike conduct after he struck Georgia’s Walter Grant following a kickoff return. 

The no-flag play: Among the most agregious missed calls was when Alabama linebacker Mack Wilson shoved Jake Fromm’s head to the turf after a tackle.

Alas, there’s no disputing the end result.

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NCAA championship: Brothers Calvin, Riley Ridley to face each other as rivals

Published: Monday, January 08, 2018 @ 6:23 PM

UGA, Alabama to Face Off In National Championship

They haven’t talked all week, and they’re not going to. Not until after the College Football Playoff National Championship Game.

“I’ll probably give him a hug, text him, start back everything,” Georgia wide receiver Riley Ridley said. “We’re brothers, you know.”

>> Read more trending news 

While a lot is being made of the numerous relationships between the coaches, including of Nick Saban squaring off against his former defensive coordinator Kirby Smart, no one in the title game has a stronger bond than Alabama junior wide receiver Calvin Ridley and his younger brother Riley.

“I want him to do good … but I want us to win,” Calvin said.

Although the brothers say that they’re close, and are usually in touch, they’ve put that on hold. Usually they’re often in contact, either though texts or phone calls, but after what they called a normal Christmas back home in the Fort Lauderdale, Florida, area, they sort of went their own ways for a bit.

>> Visit WSBTV.com for more Georgia Bulldogs news

They had enough to worry about in dealing with Clemson and Oklahoma in their respective semifinal games.

“It’s been intense,” Riley Ridley said. “Mom doesn’t know who she wants to root for. She’s a little nervous because both of her boys will be on the field at the same time.”

Wide receiver Riley Ridley #8 of the Georgia Bulldogs (L) will face off against his brother, w ide receiver Calvin Ridley #3 of the Alabama Crimson Tide Monday in Atlanta.(Michael Chang/Getty Images, Jamie Squire/Getty Images)

Calvin thinks she’ll lean toward Riley because he doesn’t have a national championship ring, and this way both would have one.

Regardless, the winner will have lifetime bragging rights.

“You better believe it,” Riley Ridley said.

Although Riley Ridley was also recruited by Alabama, he opted for Georgia in part to forge his own path — and at his brother’s encouragement.

The sophomore reserve has eight receptions for 136 yards and 2 touchdowns this season.

>> Visit AJC.com for complete coverage of the national championship game

Calvin leads Alabama with 59 receptions for 935 yards and four touchdowns this season. No one else on the Crimson Tide has more than 16 catches.

He’s second in Alabama history with 220 catches and 18 receiving touchdowns, and third in receiving yards with 2,749.

“Calvin is special,” Nick Saban said during the national championship game media day Saturday morning.

Calvin said none of the defensive backs had asked him for advice on covering his brother, but if they asked him he would. “He’s big and he has good hands,” are the keys.

Riley (6-2, 200 pounds) is a little bigger and more physical. Calvin (6-1, 190) is more of a technician and isn’t afraid to throw blocks on much bigger defenders.

>> More coverage from DawgNation.com

As for who is better at getting under an opposing player's skin during a game, they’re not quite in agreement.

“We don’t really talk trash,” Riley Ridley said. “It may look like we talk trash, (but) it’s more of ‘Let’s go! That’s all you got?’”

“He is probably,” Calvin said.

Both thought this matchup was going to happen in this building, but in a different game. Georgia clinched a spot in the SEC championship game early, but then Alabama lost at Auburn — setting up the rematch of the “Deep South’s Oldest Rivalry,” which has been described as like playing your brother.

“It’s the perfect stage,” Riley Ridley said.

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NCAA Championship: When will Donald Trump arrive in Atlanta?

Published: Monday, January 08, 2018 @ 2:22 PM

Trump To Attend College Football National Championship Game

President Donald Trump is set to arrive in Atlanta on Monday about two hours before the Georgia-Alabama game.

>> Read more trending news 

The president will fly with Agriculture Secretary Sonny Perdue from the American Farm Bureau Federation’s annual meeting in Nashville and will arrive at Dobbins Air Reserve Base in Marietta, Georgia, at 6 p.m.

>> More coverage from DawgNation.com

He’ll take a motorcade from there to downtown Atlanta, with plans to arrive at the stadium shortly before 7 p.m.

>> Visit AJC.com for complete coverage of the national championship game

The fans who paid top dollar to watch Georgia face Alabama at Mercedes-Benz Stadium may not see the president, but his presence should be obvious.

>> Visit WSBTV.com for more Georgia Bulldogs news

His decision to catch the championship game adds a twist to the biggest college football contest in Georgia’s history — and a host of soon-to-be answered questions.

Read more about Trump’s plans to visit the game at Politically Georgia.

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