Today’s Topic: How Will OSU Approach Recruiting in the Portal Era?
You better start swimming or you’ll sink like a stone, for the times they are a-changin’.
Little did Bob Dylan know way back then that he would be singing about college football and the transfer portal and how coaches better adapt or die.
Recruiting is the lifeblood of programs like Ohio State, but that recruiting has now been put to the test with the advent of the transfer portal.
It used to be that once a player signed, you could expect to have them around for as long as you like. Now, transferring is becoming commonplace, and as Dylan also wrote, “There’s a battle outside and it is ragin’. It’ll soon shake your windows and rattle your walls, for the times they are a-changin’.”
The portal battle begins immediately for the coaches, and it has for Ohio State head coach Ryan Day. He doesn’t ignore it. It is impossible to ignore. All he can do is try to prepare every recruit for the difficulties that will soon follow.
“Well, I think the first thing is you have to be very clear when someone gets on campus what’s going on,” he said. “I think that it’s forcing coaches to be very clear in their communication of what the expectations are once they get here, then doing a great job of communication once they’re here.”
There is a reason why the fine print is in fine print, however. Coaches now have to enlarge the font in their recruiting materials or risk bringing in players who feel they were duped and now have a more convenient way of dealing with it.
“When you’re recruiting somebody, you try to show them the all the positives about your school,” Day said. “We also need to talk to you about maybe you know every place, its pluses and minuses, so that they understand those things when they get here. So at the minute something doesn’t go well, they’re not on the first train out of here.”
Admittedly, not having much in the way of rail travel in Columbus helps, but it still takes more.
Recruiting nationally as Ohio State has done means that players are coming from very far away to play football, but they are also doing more than that. They are taking advantage of the networking, the history, the schooling. They are drawn to all of it, which is also one way Day and his staff plan to combat the possible transient future of college football players.
“I’m very, very proud of what we’ve done here when you look at our numbers,” he said. “As good if not better than everybody else in the country in terms of this this situation you’re talking about. I think our culture is really, really good. I think the communication is good. I think our families and their parents and the type of kids that we’re recruiting all matter to that.”
Ohio State has been unknowingly preparing for this day since the implementation of Real Life Wednesdays and Urban Meyer’s more holistic approach to recruiting. There is more being provided to players than just playing time. This could make some players more patient than they would be at other schools.
Ohio State is as prepared as it can be to deal with the transfer portal in recruiting, but Day also knows there is only so much control any coach has in these situations, because, as Dylan wrote, “Come mothers and fathers throughout the land, and don’t criticize what you can’t understand. Your sons and your daughters are beyond your command. Your old road is rapidly agin’. Please get out of the new one if you can’t lend your hand, for the times they are a-changin’.”