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Alex Anzalone recruiting updates: On to Florida

Ohio State lost a top linebacker recruit during a saga that led to the arrest of an overzealous fan whose story was first reported by SB Nation's Land-Grant Holy Land. He's since dropped Notre Dame for Florida.

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16 Total Updates since May 4, 2012
  • Important 9
  • Updates 11
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  • All Updates 16

Alex Anzalone enrolls at Florida

One of the nation's top linebacker prospects is already on campus in Gainesville and ready to get started with the Gators.

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Stop tweeting at recruits

For real, don't tweet at recruits about anything, ever.

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4-star LB Anzalone dumps Irish for Florida

The talented four-star PA linebacker's long and winding recruitment looks to be ending at Florida after previously committing to Ohio State and Notre Dame.

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Alex Anzalone Commits To Notre Dame Over Penn State, Florida

Alex Anzalone, a top linebacker recruit, committed to Notre Dame Sunday at Nike's premier camp, The Opening. Anzalone stars for Wyomissing (Pa.) High School.

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Charles Eric Waugh Explains His Actions, Apologizes To Ohio State From Jail

Charles Eric Waugh spoke for the first time since his arrest in a 75-minute interview published Sunday by the Columbus Post-Dispatch. Waugh faces up to 10 years in prison for failing to comply with the terms of his state's sex offender registry. In his comments, Waugh explained his actions and apologized to Ohio State players and coaches.

"If you could go to the coaches, tell them I never meant to cost you a recruit," Waugh said. "I lost my freedom for being supportive of Ohio State. I care about Ohio State. ... I want to tell the players as well: You'll never lose me as a fan, and I hope I haven't lost you guys as friends, those who know me. And to the fans: I never meant harm."

Several photos of Waugh and teenage Ohio State recruits surfaced on the Internet, and his obsession with the Buckeyes was well-documented in an investigation by the SB Nation blog Land-Grant Holy Land. He tweeted what were meant to be inspirational messages to 129 former, current and potential players in April. The act was unsettling to some, though Waugh said he was simply trying to be encouraging.

"I thought to myself, ‘Ohio State has got a lot of fans who do crazy things,'  " Waugh said. "  ‘What can I do to make myself stand out? Something encouraging and positive.'  "

Waugh's actions may have cost Ohio State one recruit in talented linebacker Alex Anzalone, but the university won't have to worry about another NCAA violation coming down the pipe. Waugh says he has never donated any money, nor had any official association with Ohio State. The NCAA has not contacted Waugh or the Buckeyes.

For more on Buckeyes football, visit Ohio State blog Land-Grand Holy Land, plus Big Ten blog Off Tackle Empire and SB Nation Cleveland.

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Urban Meyer On Alex Anzalone Recruiting Mess: 'Ohio State Acted Very Quickly'

The Ohio St. Buckeyes lost a commitment from four-star linebacker Alex Anzalone a couple weeks ago after a SB Nation report revealed a registered Kentucky sex offender named Charles Eric Waugh had gained access to Anzalone during an Ohio State visit. Anzalone's father railed against the Buckeyes for allowing his son to come in contact with Waugh before granting that the school couldn't have done much to avoid it.

Coach Urban Meyer can't directly talk about a recruit by name, as that's a NCAA violation, but he's now broadly addressed the topic.

"I didn't know anything about it. So it's alarming,'' Meyer said in a wide-ranging chat shared by the AP. "The first thing you think about is safety of your players and the safety of the university. The good thing is Ohio State acted very quickly, I mean very quickly. Recruiting, you'll hear a million different stories. It's the stories that you have no control over that are the most bothersome. And that was obviously one we had no control over.''

According to reports, Anzalone is still considering the Buckeyes.

For more on Buckeyes football, visit Ohio State blog Land-Grant Holy Land, plus Big Ten blog Off Tackle Empire and SB Nation Cleveland.

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Charles Eric Waugh Arrest: How Ohio State Site Land-Grant Holy Land's Report Contributed

Registered sex offender Charles Eric Waugh was arrested Monday night for violating probation after an investigation by SB Nation's Land-Grant Holy Land uncovered he'd had contact with scores of Ohio St. Buckeyes players and recruits, many of whom are teenagers.

Here's the timeline of events that led to his arrest:

April 30: Waugh tweeted messages meant to be inspirational at "129 current, former, and prospective student athletes with ties to The Ohio State University," Land-Grant Holy Land's Luke Zimmermann reported. When many of those athletes all started retweeting the same thing, the Ohio State portion of Twitter had some fun with the creepiness of mass-messaging high schoolers, but largely moved on. Tweeting athletes is typically against NCAA rules, but nobody really cares about NCAA rules.

Zimmermann uncovered photos of Waugh spending time with Ohio State player Devin Smith and recruit Alex Anzalone, making his minor NCAA violation now a potential actual NCAA violation. But that was far from all.

May 2: According to Zimmermann, Waugh's Twitter account was suspended twice during this period. Ohio State athletes were also warned via a mass text to avoid "Charles Eric Waugh, registered sex offender in Kentucky." "Block his access to your Twitter and Facebook accounts," another email obtained by Land-Grant Holy Land urged.

May 3: Zimmermann published a report on Waugh's background, including "five counts of possession of matter portraying sexual performances by minors." Waugh had previously pled guilty after being caught "downloading images of boys younger than 16 engaged in sexual acts." He was placed on five-year probation and branded a sex offender for 20 years, meaning, among other things, he could not have social media contact with minors. Obviously, he did just that.

Breaking NCAA rules is one thing, and a popular thing for enlightened college football fans to scold each other about. Violating probation is another thing entirely, and goes far beyond just about any NCAA rule ever.

May 4: Anzalone, a four-star linebacker recruit, publicly decommitted from Ohio State. Speculation instantly connected his decision to the Waugh incident, which was confirmed when Anzalone's father Sal tore into Ohio State for allowing Waugh access to his son. The school released a statement defending itself for its role in the story.

May 6: Sal Anzalone walked back his original comments about Ohio State. "There's nothing wrong with Ohio State; it's a great institution," he said. "When I said there was something wrong with Ohio State, I was talking about the visit - there was something wrong with the visit, not with Ohio State."

May 7: Waugh was arrested.

May 8: According to reports, Anzalone's recruitment is now led between Notre Dame, Florida, Stanford and Penn State, with the Buckeyes perhaps back in the running.

For more on Buckeyes football, visit Ohio State blog Land-Grand Holy Land, plus Big Ten blog Off Tackle Empire and SB Nation Cleveland.

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Sex Offender Charles Eric Waugh Arrested

Charles Eric Waugh, the registered sex offender at the center of a bizarre story first reported by SB Nation's Land-Grant Holy Land involving Ohio State football, social media and a decommitted recruit, has been arrested.

On May 4, linebacker Alex Anzalone decommitted from Ohio State. Before decommitting, Anzalone was at the Ohio State spring football game and probably posed for multiple pictures with multiple fans. At the time, he probably didn't think anything of any of them.

As it turned out, he posed for a picture with Waugh, an Ohio State fan who happens to be a registered sex offender. In 2007, he pleaded guilty to possession of matter portraying sexual performances by minors, and he was put on probation. On April 30, Land-Grant Holy Land reported he tweeted inspirational messages at over 100 Ohio State players, staff and recruits. Some of the people he tweeted at were under the age of 18, and using social media to contact minors is a violation of Waugh's parole. Here are the details, from Land-Grant Holy Land.

Waugh was formally booked in the Boyd County Detention Center on one count of probation violation and another for failing to comply with the sexual offender registration.

Waugh could still additionally face a Class A misdemeanor for his use of social networks with members under the age of 18 and coupled with the two other charges should turn into prison time (particularly considering that he was previously allowed to avoid any for agreeing to the probation in the first place).

The unfortunate reality of this situation is that there was little to nothing Ohio State could have done to prevent it. It's not practical for them to screen everyone who shows up to a football game, nor is it possible to pre-screen and preemptively block shady characters on Twitter.

For more on Buckeyes football, visit Ohio State blog Land-Grant Holy Land, plus Big Ten blog Off Tackle Empire and SB Nation Cleveland.

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Ohio State Releases Statement Regarding Charles Eric Waugh

Ohio State continues to tackle the Charles Eric Waugh story head-on, releasing a statement on Friday explaining what's happened so far. The school sent out an email and mass text to student athletes on Thursday, alerting them that Waugh, a convicted sex offender, had been contacting current and prospective student athletes using various forms of social media.

The statement comes via Eleven Warriors:

The issue surrounding the individual from Kentucky is being treated by the Department of Athletics as a student-athlete welfare issue. When the University became aware that this individual had been seen in pictures - taken in public places - with student-athletes, proactive precautions were taken and the Department of Athletics alerted more than 1,000 Ohio State student-athletes about this person. The email message also reminded them of the negative implications that can be realized through simple associations on social networking sites. This individual is not associated with Ohio State. He is not a booster. He has not engaged in any activities on behalf of the University. The Department of Athletics will continue to monitor this issue and it will remain proactive in its efforts with regard to precautions for its student-athletes.

Though the incident may have cost the Buckeyes a recruit -- and it's possible Alex Azalone's change of heart stemmed, in part, from his parents wanting him to go elsewhere anyway -- Ohio State has taken an incredibly swift and proactive approach to it all. After learning of Waugh's past, the school immediately alerted its student athletes, and has quickly moved to make sure he has no further contact with any of them.

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Alex Anzalone's Father Rips Ohio State Coaching Staff After Son Decommits

Alex Anzalone's decommitment from Ohio State came at a curious time, leading many to wonder if it had to do with the weird, scary story about a convicted sex offender contacting Buckeye recruits on Twitter. For his part, the All-State Wyomissing linebacker declined to get into specifics, saying he had his reasons but didn't want to make them public.

His father, however, was unafraid of opening up and clearing a few things up. According to Sal Anzalone, the last straw was a photograph of his son with Charles Waugh, the man Ohio State warned athletes about this week.

"You don't want your son to go to a place where there's a potential issue (like this)," Sal Anzalone said. "You expect the (football) staff to have some sort of control on how things are handled with recruits when they visit. This is ridiculous.

"I was concerned with what recruits do, and with them being allowed to visit these kind of places where it puts kids at risk. That's the issue. You entrust people (at the school) to do the right thing."

Via Reading Eagle

This is certainly a complicated issue, and more may have been at play, but Anzalone's father was extremely upset that a sex offender had posed with his son for a photograph, and seemed to blame the coaching staff. He went on to add that "something's just not right" at Ohio State.

Of course, one has to wonder what Ohio State could've done, short of screening everyone at the spring game. It happened, and it's an odd situation all-around, but it seems like more of a cautionary tale than an indictment of the Buckeyes.

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