The Heart of It All
The high school football in Ohio is what turned Ohio State into a football power.
Ohio is a talent-rich state that cranks out college football players by the dozens every year. The 2018 class featured over 40 Power 5 signees, as does the 2019 class with still another signing day to go.
Over the last handful of years, the number of Ohioans signed by Urban Meyer has come into question, and it’s a question that remains with the 2019 class.
Of the 15 signees to this point, only five have come from Ohio, which is the same number they signed in 2018 and one fewer than in 2017.
How does Ryan Day view the importance of recruiting in the state of Ohio?
“It’s always a priority, so we want to make sure that in the next class that’s a huge emphasis, as well,” he said. “But we’re recruiting the kids from Ohio harder than anybody in the country, and it’s going to continue to be a priority.”
Everything is a Competition
In the days leading up to signing day, some pundits declared the competition for 5-star Ohio defensive end Zach Harrison the first real competition between Jim Harbaugh and Ryan Day.
In the end, it wasn’t quite 62-39, but it will have to do.
During the process, Harrison admitted to being torn between his options. Michigan, Penn State, and Ohio State were all worthy suitors.
Ultimately, however, only one school could end up on top.
For Ryan Day, he views signing Zach Harrison as a big victory.
“Huge, huge,” Day said. “Like any time you’re competing, you’re competing for recruits, you’re competing on the field, and this was one of those ones we had to win. He’s down the street, and so that was a big get for us.”
Keeping the Class Intact
Any time there is a head coaching change at a school, there is going to be an upheaval in the recruiting class.
When Urban Meyer announced his retirement, it was imperative for Ryan Day to get into as many homes and see as many faces as he could.
Meyer even joked that if Day wasn’t in four states the next day, he’d be upset.
With Day on the trail, the Buckeyes managed to only lose two 2019 commitments in Florida defensive back Jordan Battle and Michigan quarterback Dwan Mathis. West Virginia offensive lineman Doug Nester is still committed, but he is looking around to make sure he ends up where he belongs.
The bulk of the class, however, remained committed, and because of that, Day didn’t have to go out and add a bunch of players to the class.
“Well, a couple things. One, we only have so many spots,” Day explained. “It was 14 today, and really don’t have many more, so that was the first thing.”
But it wasn’t just about the quantity. It was also about the quality.
“The second thing was that the kids that we have, we love,” he said. “We love these kids. We think the quality of the guys that we’ve signed here is excellent. So we wanted to keep them all. And so that was really important for us.
“But when you look at who these kids are in the last seven months, and their loyalty, it’s amazing. You know, what happened in August and then there’s a coaching change here down the stretch and these kids stuck with us, that means a lot to us, and we’re not going to forget that moving forward.”