Ohio State offensive coordinator Ryan Day spoke with the media on Wednesday to review the Buckeyes’ recruiting haul on the first day of the early signing period. He talked about building relationships with players, what he has learned from Urban Meyer, and told some stories from the recruiting trail. And much, much more. Here are the highlights.
+ Very excited about all of the players we signed. Would rank top five if the class was larger. The quality of player is as good as it’s ever been.
+ Nine different positions. Four offensive, five defensive.
+ The things that come to mind with this class is loyalty, great families, and quality student-athletes.
+ How did he make Zach Harrison? “It’s been a long process.” Larry Johnson has been recruiting Zach for a long time, and Urban Meyer was involved as well. They all sat down with Harrison last week and talked to him about the changes, and the communication stayed active until last night. “Special young man who’s going to do great things.” Day felt good following that meeting. He believed there was a connection made and the trust was there in Day and the staff.
+ Since he has been named head coach, it has been exhausting for Day. It’s been non-stop recruiting and getting to know the defensive recruits and their families. “Ton of phone calls.”
+ Ohio recruiting is always a priority and they are recruiting Ohio kids harder than anybody else in the country.
+ The quarterback position always needs four guys on the roster. After Dwayne Haskins makes his decision, they’ll go from there.
+ Day chose not to comment on potential quarterbacks transferring into Ohio State. Matthew Baldwin and Tate Martell have gotten quality reps while Dwayne Haskins was on the award circuit. They are growing every day.
+ Targets and expectations for the late signing period is hard to tell. There are moving pieces with possible NFL departures. They will keep working through January and adjust as needed.
+ Will they look at grad transfers? They will always look for ways to help the program.
+ Credit to the families for having faith in what Ryan Day is doing at Ohio State and what he will do in the future. “I think that they felt comfortable with that.” When you talk and look people in the eyes in their homes, you connect with them.
+ Parents would scroll through their phones with their lists of questions for Day while he was visiting during recruiting.
+ The first time Day saw Garrett Wilson was when he went down to watch quarterback Matthew Baldwin. He saw Wilson drive a defensive back into a tree with a block and had an eye on him ever since. He could be a D-1 basketball player if he wanted to be.
+ Day mentioned taking a picture with Cade Stover’s pet pig Ronnie the day after being in Times Square for the Heisman ceremony. Ohio State takes you to many different places.
+ Coach Holtmann and Day text back and forth and their wives have gotten to meet and talk about what to expect.
+ Day is already looking ahead to the 2020 class. “That’s going to be a big one for us.” That will be a bigger class than this one.
+ Zach Harrison runs a 10.8 100m dash at his size. The potential is up there with any of the defensive ends in America. Being coached by Larry Johnson is a big part as well. It won’t happen all at once, however.
+ It was huge to beat Michigan and Penn State for Zach Harrison.
+ There weren’t a lot of spots available this year. They don’t have many more spots left for February.
+ Day doesn’t expect to sign six or seven more as a reporter suggested. “There isn’t going to be that much room.” They want to make sure they take the right guys as well.
+ It will be important to go and identify OL recruits in the 2020 class as well as the 2019 guys who will still be available.
+ Marcus Crowley was the Gatorade Player of the Year in Florida and his senior year caught their eye. He is from a program at Trinity Christian that they are familiar with. He is a big back with a lot of potential.
+ There is no update on Brian Snead’s eligibility.
+ It’s a huge advantage to have Larry Johnson. He’s a legend. What he has done is testimony and defensive linemen want to come and be developed by him.
+ They will be losing three really good wideouts, but Day thinks they are being replaced by some really talented guys. Jameson Williams is a deep threat with track speed legitimately.
+ “We’re very excited about Brian (Hartline). That’s a big hire for us.”
+ Day isn’t focused on his 2019 staff right now, but the number one thing they will need to do is recruit. By far. The second thing is getting your guys to play hard and making sure your unit is accountable. Then the third is putting the players on the field and having them produce.
+ “Out staff is going to be one of the best recruiters in the country.” “Ohio State attracts everybody.” “The culture that we’re going to have here is one of love.” “The total package, and this isn’t going to change, the most comprehensive program from A-Z, we’re going to keep it that way.”
+ The number one thing you look for in a quarterback is some sort of extraordinary trait. Then you go from there. JT Barrett and Dwayne Haskins both had that. OSU then must adjust the offense to the quarterback and build around that talent.
+ The number one lesson on recruiting that he learned from Meyer is that it is relationships and it is constant. It is every day. It’s to the players, coaches, parents, uncles, and building those relationships.
+ Day is well aware of the fact that OSU is missing on Ohio offensive linemen the last two years.
+ Day is forever indebted to what Urban Meyer has done for him.
+ Keeping Mark Pantoni was key. The last two years they have spent a lot of time together and even more in the last two weeks. “I think he’s as good as there is in the business.” He’s a great talent evaluator and does a great job of pushing his staff. He has a good feel for the coaches and players and he drives the entire recruiting engine.
+ Quarterback recruiting is “pretty wild right now.” It’s tough because only one can play and they all want to play. Recruits need to understand that the best way to reach their goals is to be at the best place to develop them, not the quickest way to the field. It’s important for quarterbacks to get developed and not go from place to place, but at the same time, only one can play.
+ They want to have four quarterbacks on the roster. Right now they have four, but they’ll see where they stand after Dwayne Haskins’ decision.
+ Playing great defense is the number one thing in the Plan to Win. That’s the expectation at OSU and that’s not going to change.
+ The biggest difference between recruiting as an assistant and a head coach? It’s been more of explaining who he is and his vision of the program and getting recruits to know him and his family. “That was really the focus in getting in a lot of these homes.”