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Skull Session: Ohio State Lands Five-Star Linebacker Riley Pettijohn, Jake Diebler and His Wife Welcome Their Fourth Child and Musa Jallow Returns to Columbus


Skull Session: Ohio State Lands Five-Star Linebacker Riley Pettijohn, Jake Diebler and His Wife Welcome Their Fourth Child and Musa Jallow Returns to Columbus


Have a good Monday.

 A BIG ONE… After James Laurinaitis landed a commitment from five-star linebacker Riley Pettijohn on Saturday, I think — I think I need to see Justin Frye land a Big One… or else… why not replace him with a former Buckeye who can recruit?

In five seasons as Ohio State’s wide receivers coach, Brian Hartline has landed five-stars Jeremiah Smith (2024), Chris Henry Jr. (2026), Julian Fleming (2020), Emeka Egbuka (2021), Brandon Inniss (2023), Mylan Graham (2024) and Jaxon Smith-Njigba (2020), as well as four-stars Noah Rogers (2023), Quincy Porter (2025) and Carnell Tate (2023), among others.

In two seasons as Ohio State’s secondary coach, Tim Walton has landed five-stars Devin Sanchez (2025), Na’eem Offord (2025) and Aaron Scott Jr. (2024), as well as four-stars Jermaine Mathews Jr. (2023), Calvin Simpson-Hunt (2023) and Bryce West (2023), among others.

In four months as Ohio State’s linebackers coach, Laurinaitis has landed Pettijohn and four-stars Tarvos Alford (2025) and Eli Lee (2025). He was also instrumental in the Buckeyes’ securing four-star Payton Pierce in the 2023 class.

Do you see the trend?

Former Buckeyes can recruit like no other.

To be clear, Hartline, Walton and Laurinaitis have completed hard, hard work for Ohio State. Those commitments did not happen just because the three coaches were former Buckeyes, but if I had to guess, that was a large part of their recruiting pitch. Been there, done that — or something to that effect.

If Frye cannot land a Big One soon — cough David Sanders Jr. cough — could Ohio State look for an alumnus to coach the offensive line after 2024?

I think it’s worth considering!

 WELCOME HOME, MUSA. Following the 2020-21 Ohio State men’s basketball season, Musa Jallow transferred to Charlotte. He averaged five points, 2.9 rebounds and 0.8 assists per game in 10 appearances before tearing his ACL.

Two years later, Jallow is back in Columbus, but it’s not because of basketball. Instead, it’s because of a career as an inpatient exercise psychologist at the Ohio State Ross Heart Hospital.

From Adam Jardy of The Columbus Dispatch:

“It’s funny, just being back,” he said. “Everything’s the same, but I feel like I’m in a completely different mindset, obviously not playing college basketball.”

Jallow took in a few men’s basketball games at Value City Arena and was on hand to watch the Buckeyes take down No. 2 Purdue in the first game with Jake Diebler as interim head coach. He finally received his senior jersey, which he said now hangs on his apartment wall, and was pleased to see that the doors were still open to him at the program even as those who personally knew him as a player had mostly moved on.

This winter, Jallow said he is looking to apply to medical school next year, so he’s finishing up prerequisite classes and studying for the MCAT. While he’s at the hospital, Jallow said he’s interacted with “a lot” of doctors who were season-ticket holders and watched him play for the Buckeyes.

“It’s been a warm welcome back,” he said.

The same went for his return to the Kingdom Summer League. Playing for team NWFG, Jallow was surprised to learn he was suiting up with two former teammates in Andre and Kaleb Wesson. Before the game started, the three embraced, sat on the bleachers and caught up as if no time had passed.

“I ain’t played with Musa in so long,” Kaleb Wesson, who played in Bulgaria and France last year, said. “That’s my dude, though. You know what you’re going to get out of Musa. He’s going to give you 100 (percent) on every play. He’s going to hit shots and do what any coach asks him to do. Musa’s a great dude.”

So far, the ankles have held up and Jallow has enjoyed dipping his toes back into the game alongside his friends. There is a general plan for what comes next, depending on health, schoolwork and job opportunities. After leaving Ohio State only to make his way back, nothing would surprise Jallow.

“I give the glory to God for bringing me back,” he said. “I wasn’t expecting (it), but it’s good to be back.”

The No. 148 overall prospect in the 2017 class, Jallow spent four years at Ohio State, including a medical redshirt season in 2019-20. The 6-foot-5, 210-pound forward appeared in 104 games and made 28 starts for the Buckeyes, averaging 2.8 points, 2.2 rebounds and 0.7 assists in 14.8 minutes per contest.

For one reason or another — be it health or Chris Holtmann’s refusal to develop players during their time as Buckeyes — Jallow never worked out as a member of the Ohio State men’s basketball team. I am thankful, however, that his association with the school didn’t end there. Now back in Columbus, Jallow has spent the past several months helping others return to full strength as an employee for the Ohio State Wexner Medical Center.

Cheers to him and cheers to full-circle moments.

 MY BOY’S WICKED SMAHT! “How do you like them apples?” Ohio State men’s lacrosse alumnus Trent DiCicco said to all Big Ten athletes (apart from Michigan State’s Ashley Harlock) after winning the 2024 Wayne Duke Postgraduate Award.

(I can neither confirm nor deny if DiCicco said those words. However, I can confirm that Good Will Hunting is the greatest movie of all time).

Last week, DiCicco won the Wayne Duke Postgraduate Award and was awarded a $10,000 scholarship for his academic, athletic, extracurricular and leadership achievements as a member of Ohio State’s lacrosse program.

“Trent has been a terrific representation of what it means to be a student-athlete at Ohio State,” Kaitlin Davis, assistant director of athletic academic services, said in a statement. “He kept dedicated to his academic goals while being a leader for his teammates. He is a special person and I could not think of a better Buckeye to win this award for our program and this university.”

DiCicco was a four-year letterwinner and captain of the Ohio State men’s lacrosse team. In 47 appearances for the Buckeyes, the Guelph, Ontario, native collected 17 points on 10 goals and seven assists, 88 ground balls, and 10 forced turnovers. DiCicco was also a member of Team Canada’s youth program during his college career and won a silver medal at the U21 World Championships in Limerick, Ireland in 2022.

A two-time Big Ten Distinguished Scholar, DiCicco majored in mechanical engineering with a minor in robotics and autonomous systems, posting a 3.94 overall grade-point average. DiCicco also participated in research projects focusing on human movement biomechanics applied to law enforcement and athletes and a multidisciplinary project related to optimizing human performance, injury prevention and rapid rehabilitation.

In addition to all that smart stuff, DiCicco also co-founded and co-owns a small fashion brand called Modern Crown and volunteers at the Second and Seven Reading Foundation and Dream Center Food Service.

Following his final year at Ohio State, DiCicco plans to pursue a master’s degree in mechanical and systems engineering at Stanford in the fall.

Wait, Stanford is the school Skylar leaves Harvard for…

Does DiCicco have to go see about a girl?

Kidding — or am I?

In the 17-year history of the Wayne Duke Postgraduate Award, DiCicco is the fourth Ohio State student-athlete to receive the honor. Other Buckeyes include swimmer Chelsea Davis (2010), soccer player Lindsay Agnew (2017) and track and field athlete Sade Olatoye (2020).

Congratulations to him. That boy is wicked smaht!

 THIS AND THAT. Another Skull Session, another This and That™.

You know the drill.

Ohio State men’s basketball head coach Jake Diebler and his wife, Jordyn, welcomed their fourth child, Julien, over the weekend. The Dieblers also have two daughters, Jaymes and Jessa, and another son, Jackson.

Dawand Jones was the honorary grand marshal for The Honda Indy 200 at Mid-Ohio over the weekend. The former Ohio State and current Cleveland Browns offensive lineman’s “Start your engines!” kicked off the race on Sunday.

Former Ohio State and current Pittsburgh Steelers quarterback Justin Fields is absolutely shredded with two months until the 2024 NFL season starts.

Ohio State women’s basketball star Cotie McMahon will represent the United States at the FIBA 3×3 Nations League Americas Conference in Mexico City. The tournament will mark the third time the Centerville, Ohio native and All-Big Ten forward has represented the United States in an international competition.

That’s all, folks!

 SONG OF THE DAY. “Stuck In The Middle With You” – Stealers Wheel.

 CUT TO THE CHASE. John Cena announces his retirement from professional wrestling after 2025 season… How an Oscar-winning filmmaker helped a small-town art theater in Ohio land a big grant… These oldest inhabited termite mounds have been active for 34,000 years… Volunteers who lived in a NASA-created Mars replica for over a year have emerged… Disgust over litter has one Long Island town launching an unusual campaign.

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