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Jaamal Berry, OSU likely parting ways

2/9/2012

Almost exactly three years after signing with Ohio State as the team's top recruit in the 2009 class, running back Jaamal Berry likely will part ways with the program.

Berry's attorney told The Columbus Dispatch that Berry is no longer part of the Ohio State football team. A Columbus prosecutor assigned to Berry's assault case told The Lantern that Berry likely will transfer from the school. Berry remains on scholarship and is still listed on the team roster, but he hasn't participated in team activities since his suspension in October.

Berry's high school coach told The Dispatch, "From the conversation he had with the coaches, it didn't appear that they were excited about him being [there]."

It's an unfortunate end to a promising career blighted by injury and off-field troubles. Before arriving on campus, Berry was arrested for felony marijuana possession (the charge later was reduced to a misdemeanor). He redshirted as a freshman in 2009 after being slowed by a hamstring injury but played in 2010 and showed some promise as a kick returner. Berry entered 2011 with an opportunity to secure more playing time, but his hamstring flared up in the preseason and he never got on track.

In September, he was taken to OSU Medical Center for tests after an on-campus altercation with a student. He then was charged with assault and disorderly conduct after an Oct. 21 incident when a man accused Berry of hitting him with a closed fist.

Larry Coffey, who coached Berry in high school in Florida, told The Dispatch that the expectations might have gotten the best of Berry in Columbus.

"It was a wasted opportunity for him and for Ohio State," Coffey said. "He had the opportunity to go anywhere in the country. He chose Ohio State, and it didn't work out. Hopefully, he'll go somewhere else and have success on and off the field."

Buckeyes coach Urban Meyer said last week that additional roster spots would be opening up in the near future. Berry's seems to be one.

Meyer said the Buckeyes ultimately will get down to 81 scholarships, one below their limit for the next three seasons. Ohio State remains in the running for recruit Stefon Diggs, who will announce his college choice Friday.