Sunday Special: Not Dunn yet, but Ohio State is waiting

Todd Porter
Updated: Monday, September 26, 2011
GlenOak's Bri'onte Dunn will fall a credit short of graduating early and enrolling at Ohio State in January.<br /><div id="dfp-300x250" style="float:right;"><script type="text/javascript">googletag.display("dfp-300x250");</script></div>
GlenOak's Bri'onte Dunn will fall a credit short of graduating early and enrolling at Ohio State in January.


At one time Bri’onte Dunn thought about graduating early from GlenOak High School and enrolling at Ohio State in January. That isn’t going to happen now for a couple of reasons.

GlenOak athletic director and head football coach Scott Garcia said Dunn needs to complete one more credit.

“He would have had to take an English class this summer,” Garcia said. “I don’t think that’s going to happen.”

The way Dunn has played through the first four weeks of the season — he is running like a man among boys even among the big boys — he sure looks like he could fit in at Ohio State in January. Dunn is about 6-foot-11⁄2 and 225 pounds. Last week against Jackson, and even against Massillon in Week 2, Dunn ran between the tackles for hard yards, and broke tackles and pulled away from the defense for the big yards.

Ohio State’s top two running backs are sophomore Carlos Hyde (6-0, 238) and junior Jordan Hall (5-9, 195). Dan Herron, a senior, is suspended for the first five games for his part in tattoo-gate.

After that, the best guess on underclassmen that Dunn will have to compete with for playing time next year are Jaamal Berry and redshirt freshman Rod Smith (6-3, 230), who is a bit bigger than Dunn.

“I think physically he could play,” Garcia said. “But it’s going to be a big learning curve for him. I don’t know if he could be an every-down back that early, but physically he could play as a freshman. He has all the tools to do that.”

There also has been some chatter among recruiting analysts and websites that Dunn is — again — hedging on his verbal commitment to Ohio State.

His cousin, Marlington junior Dymonte Thomas, committed to Michigan. Garcia said that isn’t the case, and Dunn has said as much.

“No, he’s still an Ohio State guy,” Garcia said. “I think it’s a matter of what happens down the road with Ohio State.”

Garcia was referring to any additional NCAA penalties that may fall on the Buckeyes.

MICHIGAN NOT A FIT

I’m not certain why Dunn would consider going to Michigan. He has the tools to be a running back in a pro-style offense, not be ignored and rust away in a five-wide spread offense that looks to get the quarterback the ball most of the time.

Michigan quarterback Denard Robinson has carried the ball 50 times for 352 yards coming into this weekend. Vincent Smith, the top running back, has carried it 12 times for 132 yards. Smith is a tiny guy at 5-6, 172 pounds. Dunn hasn’t been that small since grade school.

If Dunn doesn’t land in Ohio State because of NCAA penalties, going to Michigan would seem like fitting a round peg in a square hole.

Veteran Fitch head coach Phil Annarella didn’t mince words after watching a week’s worth of film on Dunn.

“He’s special, no question about it,” Annarella said. “His durability and his combination of quickness and strength. His uncle (Tony Dunn) played for me at Warren Western Reserve, and I taught his dad in school. He comes from great genes.”

RUSHING UPDATE

Dunn and Marlington’s Alden Hill continue to chase the Stark County career rushing record. Dunn has 4,572 and Hill has 4,323 after the first five weeks of the regular season. The record is 6,013. That leaves Dunn 1,441 shy of the record. Hill is 1,690 away.

Timken running back Ismial Oree is the county’s leading rusher this season with close to 1,000. Dunn has 840.

MCKINLEY'S FITCH WIN

Annarella seemed a little bit on edge after his team’s first loss of the season, 24-16 to McKinley in Week 4, but he drove home a point he made that week.

“I told you, I told everyone, McKinley was an excellent football team,” Annarella said. “We can’t give them as many opportunities as we did, and we didn’t perform the way we had been. But it is no fluke McKinley won. They’re a great team. For some reason everyone is always expecting McKinley to screw up, and I don’t understand that. Ron (Johnson) is doing a great job over there with them.”

Annarella on McKinley’s Hail Mary pass before halftime: “Everyone in the stadium knew they were going to throw it, except our defensive backs. And we told them it was coming.”

KEEP AN EYE ON …

Lake freshman girls tennis player Katherine McCauley. She is probably the No. 1 singles player in the county, and has lost only one match in the county this year. The

14-year-old is a straight “A” student and weighs all of 97 pounds. The competition will get stepped up a bit at the sectional and district tournaments, though.

HEGAN REPLACEMENT

Indians broadcaster Mike Hegan, who was inducted into the Cleveland Sports Hall of Fame, was honored Saturday night by the Indians. This is Hegan’s final year in the booth calling games after 50 years in baseball. He will move into an alumni relationship role in the front office.

Who will replace Hegan?

Don’t assume it will be Jim Rosenhaus, who works games along with Hegan and Tom Hamilton.

Bob DiBiasio, senior vice president of public affairs, said the team will conduct a nationwide search for Hegan’s replacement. The Cavs, meanwhile, are looking to replace Joe Tait in the booth as well. Reportedly the Cavs have received more than 100 applicants for Tait’s position.

CANTON D-LEAGUE

Wes Wilcox, the general manager of Canton’s new Development League team, has been busy the last few weeks scouting talent for the start of the team’s season. Wilcox didn’t have many answers to what lies ahead, but did allow that fans of the Canton team will see some tangible movement in the coming weeks such as a head coach, coaching staff and perhaps a team name.

CANTON CAVS

You probably won’t be able to hear all of the Cavs’ Canton Development League team’s games on the air, but there is a good bet WHBC AM-1480 signs on to do a few games. All the rest of the team’s games will be seen on the D-League’s website, and some will be broadcast nationally on TV.

KOUFOS PLAYING

Former GlenOak star Kosta Koufos took his talents to Greece, and is playing for Greece’s team in EuroBasket 2011. In 11 games he averaged 9 points a game and four rebounds. He led Greece with 15 points in a recent loss to Russia. Greece had a tough loss to France and let a fourth-quarter lead slip away on a 16-5 run that was sparked by Tony Parker.

AQUINAS HALL OF FAME

St. Thomas Aquinas will induct a new class of athletes into its hall of fame when Dean Bagnola (1970), Chris Barres (1994), Erin Dougherty Boley (2005), Tim Haren (1971), Terry Haren (1971), Mark Haren (1970), Damien Marchione (2000), Jamie Parr (1992), Luann Scanlon Pusateri (1989), Mark Saunders (1997), Michael Sedmock (1983), Ryan Shaffer (1995), Mr. and Mrs. Jack Dempsey (special honors) and Joe Eaton (coach) are inducted Saturday. Tickets for the event can be purchased for $30 at the high school office.