When a college football program becomes known for producing NFL players at one particular position more than any other school, people take notice.
For instance, if a program sends more quality running backs to the NFL than any other school, they become known as RBU.
For the last couple of years, there has been an argument about who the rightful DBU is, with some claiming LSU and others claiming Ohio State. Nobody can match the six first-round cornerbacks the Buckeyes have had over the last five years. In fact, OSU has been setting records like this for years, leaving very little doubt about who the true DBU is at the moment.
But Ohio State head coach Ryan Day isn’t satisfied with just the secondary getting this label. In fact, he has his sights set where they’ve never been before — he wants the Buckeyes to be QBU.
“I think that that’s huge,” Day said this weekend during a conference call. “I think when I first got here, it wasn’t something that had really been done before and I really took it upon myself as a challenge to try to [make it happen].”
Ohio State produced a first-round quarterback in 2019 when Dwayne Haskins went No. 15 overall to the Washington Redskins. Current Buckeye starter Justin Fields is already being seen as a top 10 pick — if not the possible top pick overall by some in next year’s draft.
Down the road behind Fields are a pair of blue-chip recruits in Jack Miller and CJ Stroud, as well as 5-star 2021 quarterback commit Kyle McCord.
Placing quarterbacks high in the NFL has never been something that Ohio State has done on a consistent basis, but Day isn’t interested in living in the past.
“I say it to the staff all the time, if you’re a position coach at Ohio State that you should be, you know, if we’re DBU and you’re the DBs coach, you’ve done your job,” he said. “I mean, if you’re the quarterback coach at Ohio State, we should be Quarterback U. If you’re the running back coach, it should be Running Back U. If you’re really doing your job, doing a great job at your position and recruiting and developing.”
Ohio State has certainly done well in the secondary. They have also been impressive at defensive end — producing top three picks in 2016 with Joey Bosa, 2019 with Nick Bosa, and now 2020 with Chase Young.
“I mean, this is Defensive End U right now because Larry Johnson recruited at a high level and developed,” Day said. “I think at each position that that should be the goal. And that was the standard that I was charged with when I got here and I think we’re building it up.”
It takes recruiting and development, and Ohio State doesn’t seem to be slowing down in that aspect any time soon. They currently have the No. 1 class in the 2021 cycle and are already getting ahead on the 2022 class.
The passing game is still behind where Day wants it. Haskins is the first first-round Buckeye quarterback since Art Schlichter in 1982. There wasn’t even another Ohio State quarterback selected in the top two rounds in that span.
And even though the Buckeyes used to produce first-round receivers pretty regularly, and they have one of the best wide receivers in the NFL right now in Michael Thomas, Ohio State hasn’t produced a first-round wide receiver since 2007.
With the recruiting that has been happening under OSU receivers coach Brian Hartline, the future NFL quarterbacks that Day wants are going to have a number of future NFL receivers to throw to.
But the work is still ongoing.
“We’re not there yet, obviously,” Day said. “We’re making progress in the right direction, but a lot still to be worked on and we’ve got to keep developing the guys we have in our program now and keep recruiting at a high level. But I think between receivers and quarterbacks we’ve done a good job here in the last couple years, we’ve just got to keep building on it.”