Making the morning rounds.
• The vest is back. Nine months after he was fired for a gross lapse of administrative oversight at Ohio State — and a little less than a week after he was passed over for the top job with the Indianapolis Colts — former Buckeye head coach Jim Tressel has accepted an administrative role as vice president of strategic engagement at the University of Akron. He's expected to be introduced today and paid $200,000 a year.
As a coach, Tressel remains toxic due to a "show-cause" penalty handed down as part of the NCAA sanctions levied against Ohio State in December, effectively rendering him unemployable for the next five years for his role in covering up his knowledge of multiple violations by star players in 2010 — and then keeping that knowledge secret even after the NCAA came calling about said violations and allowed the offending players to play in the 2011 Sugar Bowl. As an administrator, however, apparently everything is copacetic. With a salary in the low six figures, at least you can't say the man isn't being forced to make sacrifices, right? [Cleveland Plain-Dealer, NewsChannel5]
• Blocking is overrated, anyway. All things considered, Tennessee did alright Wednesday, inking a recruiting class that ranked 17th nationally and fifth in a cutthroat SEC race, according to Rivals, just ahead of East Division rivals Georgia and South Carolina. There's just one thing: There are no offensive linemen. The Vols are one of only three teams nationally (along with BYU and Army) that failed to sign a single O-line prospect, a particularly ominous sign for a team that came in 103rd nationally last year in total offense and 106th in scoring.
That was despite a front line that remained astonishingly intact over the course of the year. Four of the five positions up front were manned by returning starters Zach Fulton, Dallas Thomas and Ju'Wuan James and Notre Dame transfer Alex Bullard in every single game; meanwhile, the fifth spot remained in flux not because of injury, but because sophomore James Stone was demoted at midseason in favor of true freshman Marcus Jackson. That group remained together all year, most of them for the second year in a row, and still produced by far the worst rushing attack in the SEC. Maybe the third time is the charm: All six regulars return in this fall. [Knoxville News-Sentinel]
• Our brief regional nightmare is over. Five-star Valdosta, Ga., linebacker Josh Harvey-Clemons has successfully submitted his official letter of intent to Georgia, according to a school spokesman, ending the only lingering hint of drama from National Signing Day. Harvey-Clemons committed to the Bulldogs Wednesday in a nationally televised announcement, but failed to get his LOI in by the end of business hours because he couldn't get ahold of his grandfather — Harvey-Clemons' legal guardian — to sign off on it. The crucial fax reportedly arrived at 8:30 a.m. [Athens Banner Herald]
• Numbers game. Justin Taylor — the three-star running back from Atlanta who made headlines last month when he had a longstanding scholarship offer yanked by Alabama just a few weeks before signing day — landed on his feet Wednesday when he signed a letter of intent to Kentucky, but he wasn't above taking a few parting shots at Nick Saban. "I knew I wasn't going to Alabama when I met with Coach Saban at my high school a couple of weeks ago," Taylor told the Atlanta Journal-Constitution. "When Coach Saban came down, I just had this feeling in my heart. I prayed about it and God told me … and I know this sounds kind of crazy … but God told me that Alabama was not the place for me. … I was committed to them for a year. They could've handled it better."
Taylor's high school coach, former South Carolina running back Stanley Pritchett, was even blunter: "If you look back on it, you see that it was a numbers game, that Alabama really wanted to sit out because of the [scholarship] numbers [rather than a knee injury]," Pritchett said. "It kind of makes you mad, but you also feel good that he didn't go there. Because if he had gone to Alabama, he would've probably just have been another number." [Atlanta Journal-Constitution]
• Four more years. By contrast, most if not all Big Ten schools responded to a recent NCAA rule change Wednesday by signing new recruits to four-year scholarships, thereby preventing coaches from yanking a scholarship from under-performing players on a year-by-year basis. (Not that cutting kids was accepted practice in the Big Ten to begin with, but now it's not even possible.) Hypothetically, the enhanced commitment to athletes should serve as an effective recruiting against the mercenary "oversigning" tactics in the SEC (see above), though the final recruiting rankings suggest that either a) The Big Ten needs to work harder to get the word out, or b) Kids don't really care. [Cleveland Plain-Dealer]
Quickly… Texas loses a part-time starter on the defensive line. … A Georgia Tech coach resigns over secondary rules violations. … Missouri's athletic department reacts to Dorial Green-Beckham's commitment. … Jordan Payton on how he wound up singing with UCLA after commitments to USC, Cal and Washington. … Jim Mora and Rick Neuheisel have a moment over the challenges of coaching at UCLA. … Vanderbilt lands the best recruiting class in school history. … Here's the Jamal Marcus highlight reel that Urban Meyer described Wednesday as "borderline ridiculous." … And the Big 12 has prepared a 10-team schedule for its television partners, though it's still not confident enough in West Virginia's departure from the Big East to release it to the public.
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