Darrell Lewis and Tyrone Morrison, former Morse High stars who quit the Ohio State football team last week, have enrolled at San Diego State and will play for the Aztecs next year, SDSU Coach Al Luginbill said Tuesday.
Lewis and Morrison, all-state selections while at Morse (Morrison was also a Parade All-American), will begin practicing Thursday. Neither has been released from his scholarship by Ohio State, so each will have to pay his way to SDSU this year. According to NCAA rules, each will have three years of eligibility remaining after sitting out this season.
Lewis spoke generally Tuesday of frustrations with the Buckeye coaching staff, saying both he and Morrison found its rigid policies difficult to deal with. Morrison, a Parade All-American while at Morse, could not be reached for comment.
“We just didn’t like it,” Lewis said. “I really don’t want to get into any details. It was the way they treat their players, on and off the field. I didn’t enjoy it.”
Lewis specifically mentioned his frustrations with a groin injury, suffered last November, that caused him to miss spring practice. He said that he was operated upon Feb. 1 for a hernia, but afterward, doctors discovered that wasn’t the problem.
“They really didn’t take care of it like I think they should have,” he said.
He said the injury has since healed.
Lewis said Ohio State Coach John Cooper refused to release him and Morrison from their scholarships, and he accused Ohio State coaches of lying. Lewis said that coaches told the players they would have to sit out two years, rather than the one stipulated by NCAA rules, if they transferred.
“Five or six coaches called and emphasized (that),” Lewis said. “Coach Cooper told us we were too valuable to the team, and he had too much money invested in us. He said he doesn’t want us helping San Diego State win, he wants us helping Ohio State win. He said if we left without him releasing us (from the scholarships), we would be ruining our lives.”
Cooper could not be reached for comment. A source in the Ohio State athletic department said that, to his knowledge, neither Morrison nor Lewis gave a reason for leaving. Both players started fall camp with the Buckeyes.
“I’ve heard that they were homesick,” said the source, who asked not to be identified. “That’s as good a theory as I’ve heard.”
Luginbill said he was surprised when the players contacted him recently.
“It came out of the wild blue,” Luginbill said. “It didn’t surprise me it happened. Nothing against Ohio State, but Columbus, Ohio, is not San Diego, California.
“We’re excited about having them in the program, but the focus is on Oregon and the 1990 season.”
Lewis said he picked SDSU so he could come home and not have to worry about making an adjustment somewhere else.
Lewis, a 6-foot-2, 180-pound defensive back, played in 10 games last season, mostly on special teams. He had 16 tackles, six solo. Morrison, a 6-3, 220-pound linebacker, sat out last season after failing to meet NCAA Proposition 48 standards.
SDSU Coach Al Luginbill said linebacker Haywood Mathis apparently has quit the team and will re-enroll at Grossmont College. Although Luginbill said he has not spoken to Mathis, he did say that the Grossmont College medical staff has contacted SDSU’s medical staff and asked for his medical records. Luginbill said Mathis has been a disappointment this fall and may have become discouraged when the Aztecs made some position moves in practice Monday. Andy Coviello and Terrill Steen were both ahead of Mathis at what the Aztecs call “willie-backer"--weak-side linebacker. Mathis, a sophomore from Mt. Miguel High School, played at Grossmont College last fall before finishing spring practice at SDSU as the No. 2 outside linebacker. . . . Redshirt freshman offensive lineman Chris Rodahoffer fractured his left foot in practice Tuesday and will be out at least four to six weeks. . . . The Aztecs will hold their final intrasquad scrimmage of fall camp today at 3 p.m. “It will be a full-blown scrimmage,” Luginbill said. “There will be movement on defense, and the offense will have the ability to run any play they want that is in our offense.” SDSU will then begin final preparations for next Saturday’s opener at Oregon on Thursday. . . . The injury report for today’s scrimmage: linebacker Lou Foster (right hamstring pull), defensive end Jason Swaney (bone chips in left ankle) and wide receiver Toby Weymiller (anterior cruciate tear in right knee) and Rodahoffer are out; running back Curtis Butts (left hip pointer) is doubtful; defensive back Clark Moses (cervical strain/sprain) is questionable.