The first college football signing day has come and gone. Ohio State signed 15 players, but the process is far from over.
While Urban Meyer and Ryan Day are preparing for Washington and the Rose Bowl, there is still the final signing period that starts the first Wednesday in February.
Those 15 players the Buckeyes signed last week will be the bulk of the 2019 recruiting class, but there are still some holes to fill, with not much room to get it done.
Last year, Ohio State signed 21 players during the early signing period and then five more during the second signing period.
How many will they be looking to sign in February?
“Yeah, hard to tell because it is kind of one of those things,” Day said. “We had three guys right now declare, so there’s some moving pieces there. There may be another couple few guys that we’re obviously going to recruit going into the February signing period, but we’re going to keep working through January, and then as that number moves around, we’ll adjust from there.”
Right now, the Buckeyes are about three players over the 85 scholarship limit, but that is still counting expected departures like Dwayne Haskins and KJ Hill on the roster. They will likely not be the only players to declare. There will also be the usual departures from transfers as well.
Still, the numbers will be tight, which is why Day doesn’t expect to be signing as many in the late stage as they did the year before.
“I don’t think it’ll be that high,” he said. “Yeah, I don’t think it’ll be that high. We have to stay under 85, and like I said, we’re only graduating a small class of seniors, and three guys have declared. So there isn’t going to be that much room. And we want to make sure that we sign the right guys moving forward.
“Don’t just want to take a guy down the stretch just to say that we took a guy. This is Ohio State and we want to recruit the best players in the country. But that being said, we’re going to do a really good job of identifying who’s out there in January and evaluate them. That will be really important here because I think that’s a huge part of that.”
The plan right now is for quality over quantity and not just because there is no room for quantity. Any player brought in at this point is going to have the same expectations to produce as the players who signed early.
That is why the evaluations from now until February will be so key.
“You go back and you look at last year, guys like Chris Olave maybe weren’t the highest recruited guys in the world but come in and was a starter and had a major impact this season,” Day said. “So we’ve got to do a great job of evaluating in January.”
Of course, filling out an 85-man roster isn’t always about signing true freshmen or junior college transfers. Now more than ever, the graduate and immediate-waiver transfer market has brought free agency to college football, and the Buckeyes will also be looking there.
“We’ll always look at all the options,” Day said. “Whatever we think can help our roster. The guys who are in our program, obviously they develop and work through our program, and so those guys obviously have priority. But if there is a need and there is someone that we need to plug in there, we’ll look at all those options.”