Headlinin’: Tressel’s contact with Pryor ‘mentor’ went beyond e-mails

Matt Hinton
Dr. Saturday
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Making the morning rounds.

The Sarniak Files. The Columbus Dispatch has unearthed records (significant portions of which have been redacted by the university) that show far more extensive contact than previously reported between ex-Ohio State coach Jim Tressel and Ted Sarniak, the Jeanette, Pa., glass salesman often described as a "mentor" to Buckeye quarterback Terrelle Pryor, after Tressel was sent incriminating e-mails naming Pryor and at least one other player in possible NCAA violations in April 2010. Altogether, Tressel and Sarniak exchanged 77 phone calls and text messages and spent more than four hours in phone conversations throughout last year, all while Tressel continued to carry on the coverup that eventually cost him his job last week and could still saddle OSU with heavy sanctions from the NCAA.

The longest call between Tressel and Sarniak was an 18-minute conversation on Dec. 21, one day before word of a possible NCAA investigation in Columbus hit the media and two days before Pryor and four teammates were hit with a five-game suspension to start the 2011 season. Tressel also spoke with Sarniak for three minutes immediately following the press conference announcing the suspensions on Dec. 23, and exchanged 31 text messages with local attorney Christopher Cicero — the former OSU walk-on who initially tipped Tressel off — the following day, Christmas Eve, the only recorded contact between Tressel and Cicero after their initial e-mail exchanges in the spring. [Columbus Dispatch]

But can he do calculus? Georgia Tech picked up a verbal commitment Monday from Lawrenceville, Ga., defensive end Francis Kallon, a 6-foot-5, 245-pound immigrant from England who has never played a down of football in an actual game going into his senior year. Kallon, a basketball player, had repeatedly ignored the pleas of Central Gwinnett High coach Todd Wofford to get him out for football until this spring, when Kallon finally agreed to put on the pads and immediately landed a dozen scholarship offers based on his measurables and practice performance alone. "I've never seen anything like it," Wofford said. "I had no idea this would happen. I was hoping this big kid could do anything for me." [Rivals] {YSP:MORE}

Get back to where you once belonged. USC coaches have decided to move junior Devon Kennard, a once-hyped defensive end recruit who has spent most of his first two seasons learning to play middle linebacker, back to a hybrid outside linebacker/defensive end role similar to the "Elephant" position once occupied by Brian Cushing and Clay Matthews under former coach Pete Carroll. The move should allow Kennard to flash more of his natural ability off the edge and, opposite a healthy Nick Perry at the other end, inject some life into a pass rush that looked a little limp last season. [Orange County Register]

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All according to plan. Jadeveon Clowney's high school coach, Bobby Carroll, confirmed earlier reports Monday that the most hyped signee of the 2011 recruiting class has academically qualified and plans to begin classes at South Carolina this summer. "The media made it out that Clowney wasn't going to qualify and I don't know where that ever came from," Carroll told the Charleston Post and Courier. "He's as good a student as any other kid I've coached that went on to play Division 1 football. I think that boy just had a lot going on the last 18 months. It was an absolute zoo there every single day." [Charleston Post and Courier]

Comings and goings. As expected, former Clemson receiver Brandon Clear will transfer to Illinois for his final season of eligibility, and should be immediately eligible to play this fall as a fifth-year graduate student. Clear has just six catches for 137 yards and one touchdown over the last two seasons and faced an uphill battle for playing time with the abundance of touted young receivers in front of him on the Tiger depth chart. [FightingIllini.com]

Elsewhere, Alabama linebacker Petey Smith has decided to transfer to a Mississippi junior college in search of more playing time, following B.J. Scott and Demetrius Goode as the third defensive transfer out of Tuscaloosa since the end of last season. "Basically, I just felt that I wasn't giving it my all," Smith said. "I'm not going to say I wasn't happy. I didn't feel like I had an opportunity to show what I could do with reps and everything. … I'm just gonna go (to Holmes), play the football season and then I can really choose what school I want to go to through the recruiting process over again." [al.com]

Quickly… Oregon's opening-day showdown with LSU in Dallas is an official sellout. … Will Muschamp is already facing pressure to keep up with the Joneses on his own campus. … Colorado plans several "large alumni gatherings" to raise money on Pac-12 road trips. … Any self-righteous column with the word "hooey" in the headline gets an automatic link. … And the state of Alabama takes the lead in an academic field it can take to heart.

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Matt Hinton is on Twitter: Follow him @DrSaturday.