Ryan Day Building Recruiting Class On Foundation Of Ohio Players

Ohio State recruiting Paris Johnson Orlando Pace

Ohio State has been arguably the most consistent program in the nation over the course of the past 50 years.

Outside of a few notable hiccups, the Buckeyes have consistently churned out strong seasons in a way that no one in the country can match.

Only 11 times in 50 years have they finished outside the top-20, with five of those quarantined to the 1987 to 1991 “darkest days” and three more spanning the rather bleak transition from John Cooper to Jim Tressel from 1999 to 2001.

One big reason for that consistent strength is exclusive access to a level of in-state talent that no one else in the country can match.

Ohio has been ranked one of the top-5 states for high school football talent for that entire 50-year stretch. And unlike the other states near the top of that list right now (Texas, Florida, California, Georgia), OSU is the only Power-5 conference team in its state.

While Texas, Texas A&M, Baylor, Texas Tech, and TCU fight over the top players in the Lonestar State, the Buckeyes have the pick of the in-state litter to themselves.

Urban Meyer built the Ohio State recruiting machine up to a level it had never reached before. His classes ranked Nos. 5, 2, 3, 7, 4, 2, and 2 in the nation from 2012 to 2018, and pumped out on-field results to match.

But Meyer’s recruiting classes also had more of a national scope to them than Jim Tressel’s had previously.

While Tressel often brought in classes that were mostly made up of in-state talent (14 of 25 players in 2009, for example), Meyer’s 2017 class featured just six players from Ohio high schools. Josh Myers, Thayer Munford, and Brendon White have all made a big impact on the program, but so have out-of-state players like Chase Young (Maryland), Jeff Okudah, Baron Browning, and J.K. Dobbins (Texas), Shaun Wade (Florida), and Wyatt Davis (California).

The 2018 class featured even fewer Ohioans. Only five of its 26 members came from inside the state’s borders. In 2016, only nine of 24 players were from Ohio.

Part of that was based on the idea that in-state talent was a little “down” overall in those years. But the Buckeyes also missed out on some top Ohio players as well. OL Jackson Carman, a 5-star prospect, left for Clemson in 2018. A pair of top-100 offensive linemen, Tommy Kraemer and Liam Eichenberg, opted for Notre Dame instead of OSU in 2016.

However, the focus on recruiting seems to have shifted somewhat since Ryan Day took over.

The 2020 class, which Meyer started building before he retired, has just seven Ohio players among its 23 names right now. Among them is 5-star offensive tackle Paris Johnson, pictured above with another former 5-star in-state offensive line recruit, Orlando Pace.

But four of the Buckeyes’ first five commits in the 2021 class are from Ohio, including 5-star defensive end prospect Jack Sawyer and top-50 offensive lineman Ben Christman.

Day said that’s no coincidence.

“In recruiting for us our foundation is Ohio, for sure. And the Midwest, and then we supplement it with national guys,” he said. “But when you have so many talented guys in the state of Ohio that are right down the street, it’s huge for us.”

Recruiting in-state players has a number of benefits. For one, many of them have dreamed of playing for the Buckeyes for years.

“If somebody is from the state of Ohio, then they’re going to have a leg up on anybody else in the country in recruiting because this is their home state and they grew up being Buckeyes so that matters,” Day said.

But it only matters to a certain point. Day said that the number of in-state recruits is certainly going to change depending on the year.

“You just have to look at who you think fits your roster at that time, who is good enough to play,” he said. “Ideally, you’d have as many Ohio guys as you can have. But sometimes it kind of fluctuates based on the talent in that recruiting class, and you do the best you can to go recruit the best at each position that fit here.”

10 Responses

  1. There is but One Rock to build on… “the stone the builders rejected…”.

    All else is ‘naturally’ ‘the sands of time’… and our rapacious pride of prejudice about Who’s on top.

    Yet it is written “to everything there is a season, and a time for every purpose under heaven.” So, in the “exercise of the “freedom” we have all been given… there is a place for Buckeye football!

    Ergo… “seek first…” and “all SHALL BE added unto you….”

    …after all, everything is all about Who IS #1…. ;-{)}

  2. Recruiting has been a national and global. fact for many years as Notre Dame, Alabama, TTUN and many others can attest to. Tressel recruited some great players from Florida and Texas. Although, I fondly remember the days when Ohioans dominated the roster, I also remember that my hometown Heisman winner played at Georgia. Let’s get the best players…….period……

  3. Thank you Coach Day! Ohio High School Football is very talent rich…and should always be the foundation of Ohio State Football Recruiting (then go National)

  4. Well $1.68, today you put the *punch* in *punctuation!*

  5. You are in rare form, 68. Well done.

    1. Horvath22. Rather…

      how can one ‘so cooked’ be ‘so rare’? ;-{)}

      You hit the ‘nail’ on the ‘head’ … “form”.

      Sometimes a form holds the substance; but the form is not the substance.

  6. “Except” for 11 years of “notable hiccups”? And… if we’re rated by the raters we so often deplored due to their ‘under-ratings’ and favoritism;, as ‘Top 20’… then, all is well? IMO, he who puts ratings before values builds his house on the San Andreas fault.

    “More or less a national scope?” An earthquake quivers more or less too. Perhaps how and what we ‘scope’ is more significant, since we all already know that all kinds of earthquakes… happen. They seem to happen regardless of where and how we’re looking. Scientific observation: there are an average of 3500 earthquakes per… Day… in california. How many did i ‘feel’ and so ‘count’?

    “Exclusive” we are, or should be? An ‘accident of birth’ is our most important value?

    Indeed… it does seem the loud and angry insist on imposing ‘Diversity’… exclusively… on ‘the lesser’ …by the ‘Fairness’ of ‘all means necessary’… like the ones we’re using here.

    Rationally, this article describes two ways of life in inherent, mortal conflict. Agree the former is presented first and on top of. The latter [last 2 para] suggests “only” ,,,

    “that matters to a certain point.” [Name/define that certain Point?!]

    And, “change depending on the year”? Don’t you mean apply your unchanging values to overcome the diversity of challenges?

    Shouldn’t we “[You & me & Buckeyes] “just have to look at who you [we] think fits”… by applying INclusive, not EXclusive, values?

    In “time and change will surely show, how firm thy friendship…” these phrases are an enduring challenge to re-affirm and live out our ‘moral’ values… regardless of how deeply and often we…’falter’?

    Honest? Well, i am NOT ‘honest’. But, empirically, i can see where ‘honesty’ “fits” between any two individuals… and within any team.

    Where does ‘honesty’ ‘fit’ in our many ‘matterings’? Is there “any hope” for me, a sometime stumbler, an obtuse rambler, a ‘wannabe’ of characteristics i can claim but never ‘have’?

    IMO, a most necessary and excellent article that compares two ways of ‘being a Buckeye’. It’s only natural that the popular ‘choice’ comes first…crowned by the ‘accident of birth’ “exclusivity”. Except, of course, for ‘the ones’ i personally want us to ‘get’.

      1. exactly, Jim Shorts!

        Is His life the light of men? Does each person choose to turn his switch on or off…?

        Can we can make all the rules and words we want but…?

        But, do His words and His rules… mark each spot, each play, each situation, each ‘count’ toward …what counts His way.? Or is My Way…sovereign?

        Hmmm. Izzit “miles to go before i sleep” [Robert Frost] …or, the miles of sleep in any watchman supposedly ‘on duty’, where who gets the iniquity is the issue?

        IF He warns that He comes “unexpectedly”… what am I risking whenever i choose to sleep?

        Many a ‘simple old saying’ has eternal implications, e.g. “asleep at the switch”… “bye week”. “Rest assured” my motives for ‘mentioning’ here is… ‘less than pure’. ;-{)} Do NOT ‘trust me’.

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