COLUMBUS -The Buckeyes were expected to ink 21 players to letters of intent today and did so without a hitch.
It went so well that OSU was able to reschedule their signing day media opportunity with Ryan Day and Mark Pantoni several hours earlier.
There was no drama, no hiccups, not a single hitch.
That’s not by accident.
Day, Pantoni and the rest of the Buckeye staff were very careful about who they recruited and who got offers and who didn’t. Sure, it was about talent, but there had to be more than that. There also had to be cultural fit. They wanted guys who had bought in and really wanted to be Buckeyes, and that’s who they signed.
While other programs were dealing with last-minute decommitments and other problems Day and company just sat back and the expected signatures rolled in. That’s because every player in the class was absolutely sure he wanted to be a part of it, and the Buckeyes coaching staff knew it. It was about football, but it wasn’t just about football. It was about the cultural fit as well.
While the general perception is that this is very much a national class Day and Pantoni both stressed that it is Ohio players who are the backbone of the class and set the cultural tone.
“Ohio guys are special, (DE) Jack Sawyer is a special talent,” said Day.
He’s definitely a special talent, but beyond that he is a guy who wants to be a Buckeye. Early on he embraced the role of setting a cultural tone for this class.
“He’s fired up to be a Buckeye,” said Day.
Sawyer and other fellow Ohioans defensive tackle Mike Hall and offensive lineman Ben Christman made sure that the other players on the OSU recruiting board fit the culture at OSU and were not just talent looking for a convenient home. It’s a cornerstone concept in Ryan Day’s recruiting strategy.
“Our class is the best possible class for Ohio State,” said Day. “It might not be the best class at some other place, but for the way we want our program to be, this class is exactly what we are looking for.”
Day really believes that fit is a critical component in evaluating a class. It’s also why he doesn’t put a whole lot of emphasis on being named the number one class by the recruiting services. Players that fit well in one environment might not fit well in a different environment, so evaluating and rating players as simple plug and play components is a bit iffy until you know how the fit is.
“I’m not interested in that (class rankings),” said Day. “It’s just somebody’s opinion. I just want to make sure we have the right guys that fit our culture. The rest takes care of itself then. I know how good a class is in four years.”
Signing Day Notes
Ryan Day on quarterback Kyle McCord: “We recognized Kyle was a talent right from the jump and could be a very good player. He also did a great job of getting involved with recruiting other players in this class.”
Ryan Day on running back Treveyon Henderson: “As a person he is one of the more special people I have met. He hasn’t even been on campus yet he knew what we were about and wanted to be a part of that. He’s a 4.0 student. He and (fellow running back recruit) Evan Pryor have built a relationship. He helped recruit this class and has never been on campus. I can’t wait to be around these guys.”
Ryan Day on wide receiver Emeka Egbuka: “Emeka is a very special young man. Coach Hartline built a great relationship with him and his family. He has not been on campus but he wanted to be here. He’s a 4.0 student.”
Ryan Day on his offensive line recruits: “All three could play tackle if we needed them to. They are three really talented and special young men. I would give that group an A.”
Ryan Day on his running back recruits: “They are different styles of players. Evan (Pryor) is more of a hybrid and can so some things in space and on jet sweeps. Treyveyon is more of an every-down back.”