Ohio State Football's Eugene Clifford: This Buck Stops Here

Buckeye CommentarySenior Analyst IJuly 7, 2008

I was starting to question Jim Tressel.  I was curious as to how he planned on getting 27 to 28 recruits in this upcoming class.  I looked at the team, I looked at the recruits, I looked at the numbers, and it didn’t add up.

Then came Antonio Henton’s departure, which, truth be told, wasn’t a gigantic surprise with the incoming Terrelle Pryor and surprisingly good Joe Bauserman.  Add in an early departure and/or an early departure for the NFL Draft, and finally the numbers start to seem a little more plausible.

Then comes word out of Cincinnati that backup safety Eugene Clifford had been charged with two counts of assault after punching two employees of a bar in the face while they were trying to break up a fight.

One thing we know about Jim Tressel: Bar plus fight plus two charges does not equal more playing time.

In fact, Buckeye Commentary would not be surprised if the last time Eugene Clifford put on his Buckeye uniform was in fact his final time.

We’re all about second chances, and maybe thirds, but we’re definitely not about fourth chances.

You may remember Clifford from the 2006 recruiting class that included Brandon Saine, Taurian Washington, and Dane Sanzenbacher.  While Saine won Mr. Ohio, there were a lot of rumblings that Eugene Clifford might be the best player in the state and one of the best safeties in the nation.

Of course, if you have a shorter memory like us, you remember Eugene for his public indiscretions.  His count:

Ball 1 - He first made a name for himself prior to enrolling at OSU by getting busted for pot possession (we’ll give him a break, since it was his first offense and he obviously needed a talking to).

Strike 1 - He was not a factor in the 2007 season, playing four games with eight tackles.  Then comes word that Clifford and starting cornerback Donald Washington would be held out of the National Championship game thanks to their friend Mary Jane.  Final word came down that only Eugene was suspended for the game.  He ends up getting a Medical RS and would technically be a freshman this coming season.

Strike 2 - All was quiet for three months before those names Jamario O’Neal and Mo Wells were thrown around as being punished by Jim Tressel for the spring.  No one knows why, but Mary Jane is once again suspected to be at the party.  Mo Wells was quickly cleared, no doubt entrapped by his Jamaican dreads, while the others got “the keys to the car” taken away.

Strike 3 - Another three months go by, and Eugene surfaces with two counts of assault.  You may notice the underlying theme for all these events.  We’re not saying it is all his fault, but there seems to be a trend with Cliff and really bad things.

If the charges stick (they will, this isn’t Gainesville), expect Ohio State to get its first points on the board for Every Day Should Be Saturday’s Fulmer Cup (an unfortunately funny tracker of player incidents).

Also, expect Ohio State to be out of the Eugene Clifford business.  I won’t guess where he could end up (especially since he still has a RS to burn), so stay tuned…maybe Rich Rodriguez is already blowin’ up his cell.

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