Bemoll Backs Out of Commitment

Mission Viejo (Calif.) offensive lineman Kevin Bemoll verbally committed to Ohio State months ago. But due to the off-the-field allegations at OSU, he is now considering other schools. We caught up with Bemoll for the latest on his situation.

Well, the ESPN casualty count is up to one.

Mission Viejo (Calif.) offensive lineman Kevin Bemoll gave a verbal commitment to Ohio State months ago, but due to the off-the-field allegations at OSU, he is now rethinking his decision.

"As of now, I am keeping my options very open," Bemoll told "I had a really firm commitment to Ohio State, but with all the stuff that is going on in Ohio, I'm going to see what else is out there."

Bemoll watched the Alamo Bowl last week and was surprised how thick ESPN was laying it on in terms of the criticism of Jim Tressel and the football program. He believes ESPN is sensationalizing some of it, but not all of it.

"Well, sure, you can't believe all of it," Bemoll said. "I'm sure they are playing it up. Like you said, a kid from California, what we see (on ESPN) is all we get out here. It just makes it difficult to know what is going to happen.

"I know Ryan (Williams) and I – especially me – I'm feeling very uncomfortable with it. It's a long way from home to hear all this stuff is going on, where you're supposed to be going. It makes me a little uneasy."

Williams – Bemoll's high school teammate – is also a verbal commitment to OSU.

The 6-5, 300-pound Bemoll is most concerned that Ohio State could be put on probation at some point.

"Yeah, I'd say probably the probation thing," he said. "And just you hear about coaches getting in trouble and then you lose the coaches. And I don't think without Coach Tressel, Ohio State wouldn't be nearly as high on my list, just because I have so much respect for him. It just makes me a little nervous seeing that."

So, Bemoll is worried that Tressel could be fired over the off the field allegations? That is why he probably will not sign with OSU?

"I mean, there's lots of things, but that's the main reason," Bemoll said. "Because I can't say that without Coach Tressel and his staff that I would even have committed to Ohio State in the first place. The coaches there are so great and I think that's what makes Ohio State what it is for me."

Chances are good that Tressel won't be going anywhere for a very long time. But it is easy to understand Bemoll's predicament. At first, he tried to ignore the ESPN reports on OSU. But they were shoved in his face so often that he finally began to pay attention, and he did not like what he heard.

But Bemoll wants to be clear: he does not believe Tressel is dirty and would love to play for him. He is just covering his rear end in case something does happen to OSU.

"As of now, I've thought of Coach Tressel as my coach," Bemoll said. "He's an awesome guy. Like I said, he's the main reason I just fell in love with Ohio State. Just the coaching staff and Coach Tressel obviously being the head coach. It would be a disappointment to play for a coach not up to par with Coach Tressel."

Ohio State's coaches have called Bemoll and have attempted to assure him that the program will not be placed on probation. However, that only means so much.

"Sure, they are calling me and they're going to say what they need to say," Bemoll said. "I mean, they don't really know what is going on, but they are trying to comfort me and be like, ‘Everything is going to be fine. We're going to get through it.' But, until it's all over, you never really know how it's going to turn out.

"I don't want to do it, believe me. I love Ohio State and it's nothing that they've done wrong in the recruiting process that has turned me off on it at all. They've been awesome completely all the way through. It's just some outside stuff."

Bemoll has now targeted two schools – each of which have offered a scholarship.

"As of now, I'm going to look at (Cal) Berkeley and Oregon," he said. "I'll be taking a trip up to Cal this weekend, and Oregon the following weekend. We'll see how we like those schools and then we'll go from there."

It sounds like it's pretty much a done deal that Bemoll will not sign with Ohio State, but anything is still possible. If he doesn't like his visits to Cal and Oregon, and OSU's coaches can convince him that nothing will happen to the program, then he could still possibly be a Buckeye. But OSU fans should not hold their breath.

"I mean, nothing is out of the question," Bemoll said. "Nothing is out of the question. It just all really depends on if I have a good time at Cal and Oregon. I still love Ohio State. This is really hard on me."

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