Morning Conversational: Is Jeff Hafley Enjoying the Recruiting Process?
Some college coaches just aren’t big fans of recruiting, and so when they get an opportunity to go to the NFL, the decision is a no-brainer.
When Jeff Hafley — who is now Ohio State’s co-defensive coordinator — had that same opportunity, he left for the NFL as well, but it had nothing to do with recruiting.
Hafley was an assistant coach at Pitt from 2006-2010 and worked under Dave Wannstedt. When Wannstedt was fired after the 2010 season, Hafley was hired at Rutgers.
As a member of Greg Schiano’s Rutgers staff in 2011, Hafley then left with Schiano when the NFL’s Tampa Bay Buccaneers hired him to be their head coach. Schiano’s tenure lasted just two years, leaving Hafley to find another job. He ended up with the Cleveland Browns for a couple of years, and then went to the San Francisco 49ers.
When the opportunity to get back to college — and specifically Ohio State — was presented to him, he found himself with another no-brainer decision.
Now he is back in the college game, which means he is back on the recruiting trail.
How has it gone?
“It has been fun. It has been fun getting to know the players,” Hafley said recently. “What has really been cool is just seeing our brand out there and how powerful it is. I have walked into schools and just the reception that they give to me and to us has just been awesome. Though again, that has been a credit to what coach Meyer, Mick, Coach Day and everyone who has been here has done, but you walk into a school and our logo carries a strong, strong feel for kids all across the country.
“And then it is just relationships, it is just getting to know a guy, getting to see if he is the right fit for us schematically and is he the right fit for our culture. There are some pretty good people out there and there are some really good parents that I have gotten to know. It has been fun.”
Over these last two weekends, the Buckeyes have hosted a number of the nation’s best prospects on visits. Hafley knows that the recruits will come, but it is then up to the coaches to seal the deal, which is something that he is looking forward to doing.
“I think that any time you get to get a bunch of guys up on campus together, I think that is big,” he said. “I think you have got to try and swing away and get as many as you can, that you want. We certainly have the opportunity. The coaches have done an awesome job of getting them here and now it is our job, we have got to make sure that we try and finish them off.”