The ability to recruit the nation’s best players obviously leads to a more productive program in any sport and is the lifeblood of every collegiate sport.
The math is simple — the more talent you have, the better your team will be.
For the players, however, there are also positives.
While some players might see a roster full of blue chip players and wonder when they’d ever see the field, others look at a roster and see how good they can become by competing with and against those players.
Iron sharpens iron, after all, and Ohio State and head coach Ryan Day make no secret of that fact in recruiting
“I think that’s a huge part of what we say in recruiting,” Day said. “When you look at what Jonah Jackson did this past year. I think Jonah would tell you one of the things that helped him in becoming one of the top guards this year day in, day out, he was practicing against DaVon Hamilton and Chase Young and BB Landers and Jashon Cornell, or what made Jeff Okudah great, I think Terry McLaurin did and Parris Campbell also.”
Practicing against the best gives a player a gauge of where they need to get. And in any situation, the more you do something, the better you get at it. Competing against the best allows a person to make a more significant jump than they would otherwise make.
That fact isn’t lost on the NFL. When they come in to watch film or see the players for a pro day, they have very specific things they are looking for. They want to see how the current Buckeyes performed against the known quantities of the past.
They want to know just how sharp that iron is.
“There’s head coaches and scouts, when they come in for pro day, they’ll sit down and watch our one-on-ones,” Day said. “They won’t watch a bunch of games; they want to see how our guys look against Denzel Ward. What did that look like, what did it look like when Thayer [Munford] was blocking Chase Young, because we know what Chase Young is.”
Day shares these stories with recruits so that they can see it as a reason for coming to Ohio State. The coaches will always be some of the nation’s best, but they are just one factor. The players a recruit could potentially practice against are a key ingredient as well.
“When you’re playing against really good players day in, day out, your development happens faster,” Day said. “And that’s one of the things we talk about a lot.”
One of the members of Ohio State’s 2020 recruiting class who took that pitch to heart was defensive back Lejond Cavazos.
He joined a class with four Top 100 wide receivers, including two 5-star prospects in Julian Fleming and Jaxon Smith-Njigba. There are also a pair of Top 100 receivers from the 2019 class in Garrett Wilson and Jameson Williams.
In other words, there is plenty of iron to go around.
“And Lejond is right — if you go against Julian or Chris Olave or Garrett Wilson or Jameson Williams, just like these guys have done in the past, then you’re only going to get better,” Day said.
“There’s a great template for that in our past and we continue to use that in recruiting.”