INSIDE OUT

first_imgA.J. Ouellette’s rise from walk-on to one of the MAC’s top threats Cancel replyYou must be logged in to post a comment. Facebook Twitter Google+ Published on August 31, 2016 at 8:07 pm Contact Matthew: mguti100@syr.edu | @MatthewGut21center_img A.J. Ouellette was Ohio’s fifth-string running back on the bus to Kent State. The freshman walk-on was there to only play special teams in the team’s 2014 season opener.But three Ohio running backs fumbled a combined four times in the second half, blowing a seven-point halftime lead. Each was taken out. Then the fourth-string back got injured. Ouellette was the only option left.With the game tied at 14, Ohio had the ball in its own territory with a few minutes on the clock. Ouellette, in his first career drive, rushed six times, helping Ohio set up a game-winning field goal as time expired.Just four weeks earlier, the 5-foot-10, 203-pound Ouellette wasn’t even if sure if he’d be on the team. It took him all of 16 days into training camp to make the roster and earn a scholarship. The junior hasn’t stopped since, emerging as one of the most dangerous offensive threats in the Mid-American Conference. Once irrelevant, overlooked and battered by Division I schools, Ouellette is now the go-to option for the run-heavy Bobcats offense poised for its eighth-straight year of bowl eligibility.“Once he took the reins, he never let go,” said Dak Notestine, Ohio’s director of strength and conditioning. “We live and die by his sword.”AdvertisementThis is placeholder textOuellette has been holding footballs since he was six months old. In the family’s backyard in Covington, Ohio, about 80 miles north of Cincinnati, Ouellette and his father would set up mock defenders made out of whatever they could find to jump or knock over, said his mother, Jody.That helped lay the framework for a brute running back. One who rushed for 785 yards as a freshman, the second-highest total for a rookie in Bobcats program history. One who once scored a touchdown in high school with a broken collarbone. One who led Covington (Ohio) High School to four straight league championships.Still, he didn’t draw a single D-I football offer.,The recruiting interest came and then vanished. Purdue, Akron, Marshall, North Carolina State and Miami (Ohio) each showed interest, but backed off. Ouellette submitted over 100 letters, filled out dozens of online recruiting questionnaires and sent game tape to D-I programs across the country. Save for a few Division II and Division III roster spots, he attracted no real interest. Too small, he heard.Ouellette jotted down the name of each school that overlooked him, using it as fuel. A coach at Akron quipped, “We have a lot of A.J.’s,” to Dave Miller, Ouellette’s high school coach.Ouellette added the Zips to the list.In a game against Akron midway through his freshman year of college, he ran for 74 yards, leading the Bobcats to a 23-20 win.“You just have to smile, keep moving on,” he said.Miller let schools know that Ouellette was the best player he’s coached in over 20 years. Tramain Hall, a former New Orleans Saint and Tennessee Titan who works with Ouellette at a fitness facility in Ohio, said Ouellette is capable of playing in the NFL. Hall, who’s trained Division I and NFL athletes including Houston Texans wide receiver Braxton Miller, describes Ouellette as “hungry.”“He’s from a small town, but this guy makes big time plays,” Hall said.“Everybody kept saying, ‘I can’t believe how good he is,’ but nobody offered him,” Jody Ouellette said.,In December of Ouellette’s senior year, Ohio’s offensive coordinator Tim Albin saw film of Ouellette and knew he could play Division I. But Ohio had already promised commitments to other running backs in the class, so all Albin could do was keep Ouellette on his radar. When National Signing Day passed and Albin found that Ouellette still hadn’t committed, Albin offered him preferred walk-on status.“A.J.’s going to come in and he’s going to play on special teams,” Albin told Ohio head coach Frank Solich. “I didn’t know he’d play (running back) the first game of the season,” Albin later said.Nobody did.Known as a student of the game and quiet leader, Ouellette was unanimously named a captain this year. In a mid-season contest at Buffalo last year, Ohio needed somebody to fill in at middle linebacker. Within a week, Ouellette had learned the intricacies of the defense. For two weeks, he played both ways. He recorded tackles, made catches and ran the ball at Buffalo.“If he didn’t step up, we would have been in a world of hurt,” Notestine said.The past few summers, Hall opened his facility early because Ouellette wanted to work out for 90 minutes at 8 a.m. It’s the same at Ohio.“My phone would be blowing up on weekends for extra work he wanted to do,” Notestine said. “The kid just doesn’t rest.”,This offseason, Ouellette dropped two-tenths of a second off of his 40-yard dash time (4.56). He upped his squat from 480 pounds to 510, took his bench press to 415 from 360, improved his shuttle time and added a couple inches to his vertical jump. He wants to average 5 yards per carry this year and lead his team to a MAC championship.From no Division I offers to preferred walk-on. From preferred walk-on to clear-cut starter. From starter to integral force in Ohio’s offensive attack.“I try to let the pads talk,” he said.The pads are talking.Banner photo courtesy of Ohio Athletics Comments This is placeholder text Advertisementlast_img read more

Jamaican-Queen Counsel pleads guilty, to be sentenced next year

first_imgPORT OF SPAIN, Trinidad  – A High Court Judge has set January 16 next year as the date for sentencing Jamaican-born British Queen’s Counsel, Vincent Nelson, who pleaded guilty to his role in the high profile case involving a former attorney general and an opposition legislator.During a two-hour in-camera session on Thursday, Justice Malcolm Holdip accepted the plea agreement deal between the Office of the Director of Public Prosecutions (DPP) and Nelson, who was indicted on three counts of conspiring to commit money laundering, misbehavior in public office and conspiracy to commit an act of corruption.The charges are related to the alleged kickback of millions of dollars (One TT dollar=US$0.16 cents) in legal fees to former attorney general Anand Ramlogan and attorney Gerald Ramdeen as a “gift” for receiving State briefs. Nelson will now be the state’s witness in the case.Ramlogan and Ramdeen have been released on bail totaling TT$2.7 million after being jointly charged with conspiracy to contravene Section 3 of the Prevention of Corruption Act; conspiracy to contravene Section 45 of the Proceeds of Crime Act and conspiracy to misbehave in public office.Earlier this week, in his application to have the matter heard without the presence of the media, the DPP, Roger Gaspard said Nelson would have agreed to turn state witness against Ramlogan and Ramdeen and that since the charges against all three arose from the same factual origin, there was “some symmetery” in Nelson’s case and the case against the other two.“That type of symmetry makes for a heightened degree of sensitivity as far as the carriage of this and those related matters,” he said, adding “one has to be especially careful to ensure that nothing is done to attract the issue of adverse pre-trial publicity for any of the subjected related parties”.The judge accepted the plea agreement and in accordance with section 26 of the Criminal Procedure (Plea Discussion and Plea Agreement) Act, and Nelson will now be sentenced on January 16.In accordance with the provisions of the recently-proclaimed Criminal Procedure (Plea Discussion and Plea Agreement) Act, certain steps are to take place before the judge signs off on the agreement.These include the disclosure by the prosecution the substance of and reasons for the agreement and before accepting it, the judge has to ensure an accused was not induced to enter the agreement and knows of the consequences of it.The judge also has to ensure that the agreement is justifiable.Ramlogan and Ramdeen are to re-appear in a magistrate’s court on June 28.last_img read more

Mane hits hat-trick as Liverpool crush Porto

first_img0Shares0000Sadio Mane scored a hat-trick as the Liverpool attack tormented Porto 5-0 © AFP / Francisco LEONGPORTO, Portugal, Feb 15 – Sadio Mane scored a brilliant treble as Liverpool romped to a 5-0 thrashing of Porto at the Estadio do Dragao on Wednesday to march towards the Champions League quarter-finals.Mane fired the away side ahead in the first leg of the last-16 clash, before Mohamed Salah’s audacious finish for his 30th goal of the season quickly made it two. The Senegalese forward slotted in his second as Liverpool completely outclassed their opponents, with Roberto Firmino adding his name to the scoresheet with 20 minutes to play, before Mane’s searing strike completed his first European hat-trick.“It was important to play as a team and we did, we played great football from the beginning,” Mane told BT Sport.“We created so many chances and we scored five. It was well deserved.”Playing in the last 16 of the competition for the first time in nine years, Liverpool are now all but certain to reach the quarter-finals ahead of the second leg at Anfield on March 6.Jurgen Klopp’s men had scored 23 goals in the group stage and continued that scintillating form in Portugal to become the top-scorers in this season’s competition, while the defensive frailties that have plagued them at times this season never resurfaced as Dejan Lovren and Virgil van Dijk put in accomplished displays at the back.“I saw a lot of fantastic performances tonight. The result is only possible if they are all spot on,” said Klopp.“Of course, Sadio is man of the match, three fantastic goals, but they all did well and that is the only way to be successful.”Sergio Conceicao’s deflated Porto will now turn their attentions back to domestic matters, where they hold a two-point lead in the league and are in the Cup semi-finals.Roared on by the home fans, Porto started brightly and Brazilian midfielder Otavio was denied an early goal by a last-ditch tackle from Lovren.But it didn’t take Liverpool long to grow into the game, as left-back Andrew Robertson fired over on his Champions League debut and Ivan Marcano’s brave block prevented Firmino from heading in.But the five-time European champions were gifted the lead in the 25th minute as Porto goalkeeper Jose Sa, who has replaced former Real Madrid great Iker Casillas this season, allowed Mane’s tame strike to squirm underneath his body and into the net.Mane has been overshadowed so far this term by the blistering performances of Firmino and Salah, but the Senegalese forward’s first goal in six games was his fourth in the Champions League.– Salah’s delightful skill –Liverpool forward Salah slots in his side’s second goal at Porto © AFP / MIGUEL RIOPALiverpool took total control of the tie just four minutes later as Salah scored in style.James Milner’s strike crashed into the post, but the Egyptian star was on hand to flick the ball over the onrushing Sa with a magnificent piece of skill and slot into the net.The visitors were utterly dominant, but Tiquinho Soares, playing in place of the injured Vincent Aboubakar, fired narrowly wide for Porto on the stroke of half-time.Porto had plenty of the ball but were always vulnerable to Liverpool’s waves of rapid counter-attacks, and Mane made it three shortly after the restart.The away side cut the Portuguese league leaders to shreds with a series of first-time flicks and passes, and after Firmino was denied by Sa, Mane was on hand to tap in the rebound.The visitors’ relentless pressure meant another goal was almost inevitable, and it arrived when Milner picked out Firmino from a posse of unmarked Liverpool shirts in the centre to slot home his seventh Champions League goal of the campaign.The English outfit still weren’t finished, though, as Mane’s long-range effort flew past Sa with five minutes remaining to round off the procession in fine fashion.0Shares0000(Visited 1 times, 1 visits today)last_img read more