Posted on: September 14, 2011 3:03 pm
Edited on: September 14, 2011 3:21 pm

Morning Surf Report: More Ohio St. booster news?

*A Cleveland-area businessman and Ohio State booster accepts responsibility for the payments that three football players received while attending a fundraiser staged by a charity led by his son-in-law, reports Randy Ludlow.

Though stopping short of saying he provided the $200 cash payments, Robert “Bobby” DiGeronimo confirmed to The Dispatch that he played a pivotal role in the payments that led to the players’ suspensions for violations of NCAA rules. Running back Jordan Hall, cornerback Travis Howard and defensive back Corey Brown were suspended for Ohio State’s wins over Akron and Toledo before they were reinstated yesterday by the NCAA for Saturday’s game at the University of Miami.

...DiGeronimo confirmed reports to The Dispatch that former Ohio State quarterback Terrelle Pryor gave the cash envelopes to his three teammates. DiGeronimo said the money was intended as reimbursement for travel expenses.

As a few other people I follow on Twitter pointed out, the booster claims the Pryor paid teammates $200 apiece but did not take any money himself, which seems like an interesting detail.

*Tennessee pulled quite a coup snagging blue-chip LB Curt Maggitt out of South Florida from a program with deep ties to UF. Maggitt isn't allowed to speak to the media, but Maggitt's dad explained to Jason Lieser that his son was turned off by the Gators recent history of player arrests and he got bad vibes from a guy he thought was UF's new DC Dan Quinn.

“It was several things,” Roosevelt Maggitt said. “The No. 1 reason was we evaluated UF’s history. I see guys get up there and then they get pulled over for nonsense. I didn’t want Curt to be involved in that. As a father to Curtis, I gave Curt my opinion that Tennessee was really the right school. After meeting with the head coach and a lot of coaches, we decided that would be the best thing for Curtis.”

Regarding Quinn, his irritation might be misdirected. He said Quinn bothered him by resting his foot on a coffee table at his home, but a spokesperson for Florida said today that Quinn never went to the Maggitts’ residence. It might have been a different Gators assistant.

“I didn’t get good vibes from him,” he said. “He kind of disrespected my house. Any time a man puts his shoe on your table, that ain’t no good. That didn’t show respect for my house.”

*After showing they could contain Matt Barkley and USC's passing attack, Utah's secondary should be able to deal with BYU QB Jake Heaps this week, writes Lya Wodraska.

*The Auburn-Clemson game has a few compelling subplots. One of the biggest is about the two former prolific high school coaching buddies now running both teams offenses, Chad Morris for Clemson and Gus Malzahn for Auburn. Evan Woodbery examines their connection.
  The story starts in Stephenville, Texas, a West Texas city roughly halfway between Dallas and Abilene. The pressure of college football is intense, but it might not compare to what Morris endured after his first year there. Stephenville was accustomed not just to winning, but to winning state championships. Every year. Art Briles had just left and was on his way to a successful college career. So when Morris failed to make the playoffs his first year, the response was not enthusiastic. 

"There weren't a whole lot of Christmas parties I was invited to that year," he said. This was 2003, and Morris sensed football was evolving and he needed to try something bold. 

"I knew there something out there on the cutting edge," Morris said. "There had to be something out there. The game of football was changing."

Morris and his staff flew to Arkansas (twice) to watch Malzahn's teams in action.  Malzahn wasn't sure about his new admirer ("He was real apprehensive") but Morris eventually impressed him with his persistence and sincerity.

"If you know Gus, Gus is pretty close to his chest with things," Morris said. "It took the fact of me saying, 'Coach, I need some help. I want to learn what you're doing.' And after a while he told me, 'I'm not going to tell you what I'm doing, but I'm going to give you ideas.'"

The ideas clicked for Morris and led him from Stephenville to Lake Travis High (another Texas powerhouse) and eventually to Tulsa, where he was hired at Malzhan's urging and led the Golden Hurricane to the nation's fifth-most prolific offense.
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