Coach Urban Meyer responded to criticism yesterday that Ohio State mistreated freshman defensive back Jamel Dean, who enrolled early in January to join the Buckeyes but was disqualified from playing football by team medical personnel because of previous knee injuries.

Coach Urban Meyer responded to criticism yesterday that Ohio State mistreated freshman defensive back Jamel Dean, who enrolled early in January to join the Buckeyes but was disqualified from playing football by team medical personnel because of previous knee injuries.

"I grade us an A-plus," Meyer said of the handling of Dean's situation.

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Sources told The Dispatch last week that medical personnel found a serious knee condition, the result of two injuries suffered during Dean's high-school career in Cocoa, Fla. The sources said Dean, his family and others were told in January that he would not be allowed to play football at Ohio State and the school would offer him a full medical hardship scholarship instead.

After the news broke last week, John Wilkinson, Dean's coach at Cocoa High School, told Cleveland.com, "It's ridiculous. It's totally wrong to do this to an 18-year-old kid who should be in high school, who you talked into coming up there early. You can't treat people this way."

Meyer said Wilkinson's reaction disappointed him, although he was restricted in what he could say publicly because federal regulations prevent the release of information about a person's health by a university official.

"There was constant communication with both schools," Meyer said. "I think since, it has been cleared up. Ohio State was absolutely forthright in everything that they did.

"We were crushed when we found out he was DQ'd, but we're not really allowed to come out publicly and say (why). We're trying to help the young guy out. We're giving him a … scholarship to stay on at Ohio State for four years and graduate."

A scholarship for an out-of-state student is estimated at about $40,000 a year, and Dean would no longer count toward the maximum of 85 scholarship players on the roster.

Dean can transfer and attempt to play, but Meyer said the decision has been made at Ohio State that he will not play for the Buckeyes.

"Every head coach, it's made perfectly clear that the minute you question a doctor, you're probably unemployed," Meyer said. "This isn't the old days where the coach kind of nudges the trainer and says, 'Get him in there.'

"If the doctor comes in and says (the player) is DQ'd, we move on and do the best we can to make sure he can get a free education. We're supporting him, and that's what our guys did. (Assistant coach) Tim Hinton and (director of player personnel) Mark Pantoni did a fabulous job looking out for that young man."

More than expected

Quarterback J.T. Barrett, who started all 12 regular-season games last season as a redshirt freshman before suffering a broken ankle in the finale against Michigan, has been limited in spring practice as he continues to recover, but he has taken part in a few snaps recently. For that, Meyer gave some of the credit to defensive line coach Larry Johnson.

"We practice better this year than we have in the past," Meyer said. "Larry Johnson does a good job (keeping pass rushers aware) to pull up before something stupid happens (and they mistakenly hit the quarterback). We monitor that real close, and we actually got J.T. Barrett in a couple of two-minute (drive) situations, because our guys know how to practice a little better."

Most of the snaps this spring have gone to postseason starter Cardale Jones and redshirt freshman Stephen Collier.

tmay@dispatch.com

@TIM_MAYsports