Eight of Ohio State’s 24 signees in the 2020 recruiting class are from Ohio.
Ohio is always going to be the foundation for the Buckeyes and Ryan Day wants it to be even more of a focus than it was under Urban Meyer.
Despite that desire, Day also knows it would be foolish to limit where the Buckeyes do their recruiting.
One year ago, Day signed offensive lineman Enokk Vimahi, who was the No. 2 player in Hawaii. He also signed the No. 1 player in Missouri, the No. 3 player in Texas, the No. 6 player in Georgia, and the No. 3 player in New Jersey.
Interestingly, the Buckeyes went out west once again in the 2020 class, signing Arizona prospects Lathan Ransom and Jack Miller, California prospects CJ Stroud and Kourt Williams, and Washington receiver Gee Scott.
The plan wasn’t to head west, but as long as there are players out there who are interested, the Buckeyes are going to take a look.
“You know, I think it’s more of just there were really good players out there, and when we went out there and you make those calls and you go out there and visit those guys in the spring or last winter, there’s interest there,” Ryan Day said. “We played in that Rose Bowl, I don’t know if that had something to do with it, just being out that way, but there was just an interest there, and we followed up with it, and we fell in love with these guys.
“I mean, Lathan Ransom is going to be as good a safety as we’ve had here in a long time. He and his family are unbelievable people. They believed in this place, they believed in what we’re doing, and I’m so excited he’s part of this thing. Again, whether he’s from Arizona or Kentucky or wherever, it doesn’t matter. This is a guy who wants to be at Ohio State. He’s a great student, great person, has a chance to be a really good player. He’s only 17 years old.”
Ryan Day isn’t doing anything that Urban Meyer didn’t do before him in looking well outside Ohio’s borders. Ohio State has been broadening its recruiting scope since John Cooper took over the program more than 30 years ago.
It was an Arizona native at quarterback throwing to a freshman from Texas that won the 1997 Rose Bowl for the Buckeyes, after all.
The 2020 edition of the Buckeyes will have Californians Chris Olave and Wyatt Davis, an Idahoan in nose tackle Tommy Togiai, a Nevada native in Haskell Garrett, and a half-dozen Texans — and that’s even with losing JK Dobbins and Jeff Okudah early to the NFL Draft.
With such a wide geographical swath, each subsequent class just adds to the next in terms of expanding Ohio State’s recruiting scope.
The expansion west hasn’t necessarily been an intended plan, but Ryan Day isn’t going to be upset about the results.
“Yeah, I don’t know what it is nowadays. Again, I think that maybe the world has gotten a little smaller and guys are less inclined to stay closer to home,” he said. “They’re okay with going a little bit further away to play, and so because of that, I feel strong, and I think when you look at our locker room, it’s not — there’s a lot of Ohio guys here, a lot of Midwest guys, but there’s some guys like Chris [Olave] and Wyatt [Davis] and different people from throughout the country where there is that support system in place when they get here.”
And yet no matter how far Day and his coaching staff go looking for players, it still comes back to the foundation of Ohio players in helping to instill what it actually means to be a Buckeye.
“Again, Enokk is from Hawai’i, there’s different people throughout the country, guys from Texas, JK, Jeff, Baron [Browning], those guys, they kind of take them in and say, ‘listen, you’re going to be homesick a little bit but it’s okay.’ The Ohio guys are the foundation of this program. But they’re the ones that kind of set the whole pace of this program, and they’re willing to bring guys in. They don’t get territorial.
“Again, I don’t know if it’s like that in every program, but it’s a really good culture here.“