National Signing Day: Questions include quarterbacks, DBs for Buckeyes

The early signing period for college football is Wednesday.

Ohio State coach Ryan Day and his staff are putting the finishing touches on what should be a top 10 class, but the loss of a key assistant could complicate things.

RELATED: 5 takeaways from Ohio State’s Fiesta Bowl media day in Columbus

Meanwhile, Cincinnati’s Luke Fickell and Miami’s Chuck Martin are also looking to reel in well-regarded classes after strong seasons.

1. Ohio State’s class was ranked No. 4 in the country as of Tuesday morning.

The 25-member group trailed only Clemson, Alabama and LSU as the hours until signing day dwindled.

The headliners are Julian Fleming, a five-star receiver from Pennsylvania, and Paris Johnson Jr., a five-star offensive tackle from Cincinnati Princeton. They are both No. 1 in the country at their position and ranked second and seventh, respectively, overall in 247Sports Composite rankings.

2. Receivers headline the group — unless it’s defensive backs. Or offensive linemen.

In his first full year as head coach of the Buckeyes, Day has put together an impressive group of receivers that includes five-star Fleming and four-star prospects Jaxon Smith-Njigba, Gee Scott Jr. and Mookie Cooper. They are all among the nation’s top 100 prospects overall.

The defensive back group is even bigger with four-stars Clark Phillips III (La Habra, Calif.), Lathan Ransom (Tucson, Ariz.), Ryan Watts (Little Elm, Texas) and Lejond Cavazos (Bradenton, Fla.) and three-star athlete Cameron Martinez (Muskegon, Mich.).

Johnson is one of six offensive linemen in the class, joining four-star prospect Luke Wypler (Montvale, N.J.) and three-stars Josh Fryar (Beech Grove, Ind.), Grant Toutant (Warren, Mich.), Jakob James (Cincinnati Elder) and Trey Leroux (Norwalk, Ohio).

3. Day has had to lock down the DBs with the departure of co-defensive coordinator Jeff Hafley.

Boston College introduced Hafley as its new head coach Monday amid questions about how many of his recruits might jump ship at the last minute, but Day said he did not expect to lose anyone.

“Talked to those guys every day for the most part,” Day said. “Response has been good. It’s been great. Certainly they’re disappointed that they’re not going to get coached by Jeff, but they’re excited to sign.”

Cavazos and Robinson tweeted they will be signing as planned while Martinez and Watts told they still intend to be Buckeyes, too.

However, there is some uncertainty with Phillips. After taking an official visit to Utah over the weekend, his father told 247Sports he is still considering the Utes.

“They understand this is an unbelievable program that’s on the rise. We have a great defensive system. There’s great opportunity in the back end next year. Guys are going to be coming in with an opportunity to play. They’re excited to be here. They’ll find out who is going to coach them. They will in time. I promised them I’m going to give them the best situation possible to make sure they can reach their dreams and goals.

“That’s the whole idea, they committed to me as the head coach, to Ohio State. They understand that. That’s been the response.”

4. Cincinnati and Ohio are big parts of the class.

Day’s class includes eight in-state players, the most Ohioans in an Ohio State class since Urban Meyer signed 10 in 2016.

That includes six players from Cincinnati — Johnson and teammate Darrion Henry (a defensive tackle), James and teammate Joe Royer (a tight end), La Salle kicker Jake Seibert and Winton Woods running back Miyan Williams.

5. The Buckeyes could sign two quarterbacks.

Four-star prospect Jack Miller of Scottsdale, Ariz., is a long-time commit who has stuck with Ohio State through a coaching change and multiple moves within the quarterback room via transfers in and out of the program.

He could arrive in Columbus next year with another signal-caller as Ohio State is a finalist for four-star California QB CJ Stroud, who reportedly is still considering Georgia and Michigan.

RELATED: Quarterback carousel nothing new in Columbus

Miller is the No. 14 pro-style quarterback in the country while Stroud is No. 2.

Stroud will announce his choice at 12:30 p.m. Wednesday on ESPNU.

“Here is the deal: Right now we want to make sure that we have four quarterbacks in that room, at least three,” Day said. “That’s something that’s not easy to do. So we’re trying to figure that out. Like we said before, with the quarterback situation, it’s tough to make sure we have that. We have to make sure that that quarterback room is solidified moving forward.”

6. Cincinnati has the No. 1 class in the AAC.

Fickell’s class of Bearcats is No. 51 in the country and is headlined by four-star local standouts Evan Prater, a quarterback from Wyoming High School, and Jaheim Thomas, a linebacker from Princeton.

Trotwood-Madison defensive back Sammy Anderson, Xenia offensive lineman Gavin Gerhardt and Lakota West linebacker Daved Jones are also among 10 Ohioans set to sign with UC.

7. Miami has the No. 3 class in the MAC.

Fresh off a MAC championship, Martin is continuing to recruit well in Oxford.

HIs 2020 class is ranked 76th nationally and includes players from nine different states.

Lakota West running back David Afari is among the three Ohioans who have committed to be RedHawks.

About the Author