COLUMBUS — Ohio State head coach Ryan Day spoke with reporters on Wednesday to recap the Buckeyes’ signing day. OSU has signed 16 players in the 2019 class with possibly one more to come later in the day. Day also provided some updates on his football team and talked about staff additions. Here are the highlights.
+ OSU was at 83 coming into today. Enokk Vimahi puts them at 84. They are waiting on one more later today to make it 85.
+ The construction of the coaching staff went as well as could have been expected. There were times he felt like he was recruiting coaches as much as players. The time spent was significant. It wasn’t easy to put together.
+ The biggest challenge was getting to know the staff and still be able to close out the 2019 class. The families were great and loyal.
+ Since August, only two players have left the program through transfer, which tells you about the culture.
+ The transfer market and OSU’s presence in it is ever-evolving. The recruiting department has to stay on top of it and they may have to create a new position to monitor it. It has to be a need and it has to be a fit if they are going to be bringing in a transfer. Justin Fields is a great fit.
+ They don’t want to rely on the transfer portal, but they have to adapt and see who is available.
+ It was hard on the program when Dwayne Haskins made his announcement. That took a little time to pick themselves up off of the canvas. They thought they were going to get three years and got one, so depth is an issue. When Justin Fields became available, they investigated it and he was a good fit. He will compete in the spring for the job.
+ Quarterbacks right now in college football is very sensitive so you have to grow with it and move and adapt.
+ “We don’t apologize for developing guys” and being able to sell the NFL. “That’s just one part of it though.” The response to Haskins’ performance has been well received by recruits around the country.
+ Garrett Wilson comes from a great family and is a great person. He’s magnetic. He’s never spent time on only football because he has played in other sports. He has a lot of potential. He has a long way to go physically, but his ball skills and route running are as good as Day has been around.
+ Urban Meyer has built this culture, so of course he is going to be around it. “His footprint is on this and will be for a long time.” He has an office. He will be very involved with Real Life Wednesdays and academics.
+ Mike Yurcich was a good fit because he and his wife are from Ohio and wanted to come back home. The second-most attractive thing was that he is a very good coordinator. He has called plays. He’s run one of the best offenses in college football over the last six years. It was a home run on both ends.
+ Day is teaching Yurcich the offense. He picks it up really quick. It’s not going to take long. He’s willing to teach it how we teach it.
+ There is nothing they can do about the Justin Fields waiver. It doesn’t change anything for the players.
+ Offensive line was an area of concern, so they had to turn over all of the stones. Part of that was flying out to Hawaii for Enokk Vimahi and staying for three hours and then getting on a red eye back home. That recruitment started at the All-American Bowl where Vimahi met other OSU commits. In terms of Vimahi’s plans to go on a mission, his family will talk about that after this year and see how that goes.
+ The 2021 class in Ohio is very talented, which is why they have offered quite a few, but also because they want to lock up the state. “We’re out there being aggressive.”
+ When you start a new quarterback, you give them what they can handle and then you add more as you can. They’ll do that with Justin Fields and Matthew Baldwin.
+ The offense was the same under JT Barrett as it was with Dwayne Haskins, but the plays that were called and emphasized were different. As they move forward with a new quarterback, they will emphasize his strengths.
+ There is concern that the starting quarterback won’t be ready. That’s always a worry. Last year was an anomaly. That doesn’t just happen. It takes a lot of hard work.
+ Hiring Jeff Hafley was a no-brainer. Six or seven teams in the NFL wanted him to be a coordinator, but he wanted to come back to Ohio. So then Day had to go and find a counterpart and bring in somebody he knew. He has stayed in touch with Greg Mattison. Hafley and Mattison had to get together and make sure they got along before Mattison was hired.
+ The staff is meshing well. “It’s still early.” The players and recruits are giving “unbelievable” feedback.
+ The energy was great at this morning’s 6 a.m. mat drills.
+ If the players love the coaches, they’ll do anything for them.
+ It wasn’t like he was trying to cherry pick off of Jim Harbaugh’s staff. He knew Greg Mattison and Al Washington previously.
+ The Justin Fields waiver process does make Day a bit anxious. He has had daily communication with the people at OSU handling the process. “It’s not a process that you feel great about and sleep well at night.”
+ Jeff Hafley, he is a coach who connects really well with the secondary. “He’s really knowledgeable. I think he’s a special coach.” Al Washington brings great energy in recruiting and at practice. He is an excellent addition to the staff. “I believe in Al.” Matt Barnes stepped into a tough spot last year at Maryland with the firing of DJ Durkin. He was handling the special teams and the defense, which Day had never heard of before for somebody at his age.
+ Receiving good news on Fields provides the depth that they need. You’d like to have four, but today’s day and age, that’s not easy.
+ Tate Martell leaving was disappointing but they wish him well and he will have a great career at Miami.
+ Mike Yurcich did a great job with RPOs at Oklahoma State. “They know how to score points.”
+ Overall, the quality of the recruiting class is high. The quantity is lacking because there aren’t a lot of guys leaving. Running back has improved with the two additions. Marcus Crowley is already doing well. Defensive end, “that was really well done.” Noah Potter will challenge this spring. Zach Harrison has blossomed since his arrival. The linebackers are really good athletes. Craig Young could play a number of positions. “He can do a lot for us.” The offensive line finished well. Ronnie Hickman is doing a good job in rehab right now coming off of an injury. They also added “two big-time wideouts.” Jameson Williams may take a year to develop, but who knows, he may play right away.
+ The last time he talked with Jim Harbaugh was probably in December. When you hire somebody, you call their boss directly and have a conversation before moving forward.
+ What he has learned about being the head coach at OSU that he couldn’t have known before hand was just how broad the impact is that Ohio State makes around the country, wherever he goes.
+ The transfer portal is a delicate situation. Ohio State is trying to adjust with it. Day is in favor of players transferring and sitting out a year, but then getting that year back. He is also in favor of a team capping transfers brought in at two.
+ It’s good to have balance of experience and youth on the coaching staff. You can’t just throw coaches together. You have to find harmony and that only comes with a good formula and the proper personalities.
+ Life off the field as OSU’s head coach is different. It’s different for his wife and kids, but this was the direction he had been headed. They aren’t changing anything about their family or how they act around people. When he sees his picture on the wall with the other Ohio State head coaches, “it takes you to your knees a little bit.”
+ Zach Harrison is walking around campus with the biggest smile on his face because in the recruiting process he built great relationships with Greg Mattison, Al Washington, and Larry Johnson.
+ When he was looking at building a defensive staff, he wasn’t thinking about fixing the 2018 defense in time for 2019, he was thinking about the defensive staff he wants for the next three or four years. His vision was two older veterans with two younger guys.
+ It is very important that Larry Johnson came back. The line of scrimmage is the heart and soul of the team. He’s a father figure to everybody on the team.
+ Day sent a congratulatory text to Greg Schiano on being named the defensive coordinator at New England.