Alex Anzalone of Wyomissing, Pa, one of the nation’s top linebacker recruits and the number 1 recruit in the state of Pennsylvania according to rivals.com, committed to Ohio State last month in what was turning out to be an all-star class for new head coach Urban Meyer.
But Anzalone, decided to reopen the recruiting process, after Buckeye fan Charles Eric Waugh, 31, of Ashland, Ky (second from the left in above picture) approached him and other recruits at the OSU Spring Game for a picture that he later tweeted.
Waugh pleaded guilty to five counts of possession of underage sexual content in 2008. This year, via Twitter, he has contacted several Ohio State coaches athletes, and recruits, including Anzalone. He also posed for photos with some of them.
Sal Anzalone, Alex’s Father, clarified that he doesn’t hold Buckeyes football coach Urban Meyer, his staff or the university responsible for what happened during Alex’s recruiting visit to Columbus, Ohio, April 21.
“I want people to understand, I have no beef with Ohio State, at all,” Sal Anzalone said. “My issue is not with Ohio State: It’s a great institution, they have a phenomenal president, Urban Meyer is nothing but a class act to me.
“There’s nothing wrong with Ohio State; it’s a great institution. 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.”
Sal Anzalone said that Meyer called Friday evening, but did not wish to provide any details about that conversation.
“We can’t implicate Ohio State for what happened (during that visit),” Sal Anzalone said. “That’s wrong. That had nothing to do with the university itself. I don’t hold them accountable; they’re not responsible for what fans do; it’s not their fault.”
After saying Friday that Alex would no longer consider attending Ohio State, Sal Anzalone said the Buckeyes are back in the picture, but that his son – an All-State linebacker and one of the top recruits in the nation – needs time to reassess the situation.
“With all the craziness, we want to slow down the process, calm it down a little bit,” Sal Anzalone said. “There’s no reason we wouldn’t consider the Buckeyes. We love Ohio State. The academic opportunities there are tremendous.”
Ohio State’s athletic department issued a statement Friday, distancing itself from Charles Eric Waugh, the 31-year-old Kentucky native who had been contacting Buckeyes players and recruits, including Anzalone, via social media and in person.
“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 statement read. “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.”