Before the week is over, Ohio State will be practicing football at the Woody Hayes Athletic Center.
Prior to that, we thought it would be worth taking a look at the fruits of first-year coach Ryan Day’s recruiting efforts (so far) and what to expect in this vital part of program-building in the years to come.
1. With July winding down, Ohio State has 22 verbal commitments for 2020.
The class ranks fourth nationally and No. 1 in the Big Ten according to 247Sports Composite rankings.
Penn State and Michigan got off to faster starts than Ohio State, but the Buckeyes surged by them in June and July.
The only classes ranked ahead of OSU nationally as of Monday afternoon were LSU, Alabama and Clemson.
2. So far so good for a first-time head coach replacing a future Hall of Famer.
“I think the plan is working,” said Day, who officially took over for Urban Meyer as head coach Jan. 2 but took the lead in recruiting in December. “It’s different in that you’re talking about one of the most legendary coaches in the history of the game and the minute somebody met Urban or he went into a house there’s instant credibility there.”
Aside from that, Day’s staff is following the same blue print as the previous seven years under Meyer.
“There here are a lot of similarities in the way we do things, the way we recruit and things like that, but any time there are new people involved it’s going to be very, very different,” Day said. “I have to give our staff credit. The guys are killing it out there, they’re doing a great job of busting their hump out there to make sure they’re outworking everybody.”
3. The class nearly tripled in size since the end of May.
Julian Fleming, a Pennsylvania native and the No. 1 receiver in the country, started the surge when he verbally committed May 31.
Thirteen more players committed in June and July, including four from Ohio: LaSalle kicker Jake Seibert, Pickerington Central defensive lineman Ty Hamilton, Cincinnati Princeton defensive lineman Darrion Henry and Cincinnati Elder tight end Joe Royer.
Most recently, Ohio State added a pair of four-star defensive prospects from the West: Tucson, Ariz., defensive back Lathan Ransom and Bellflower, Calif., linebacker Kourt Williams.
4. Day and his assistants are still selling the power of Ohio State and what the program has to offer overall.
“I think our staff had to spend a little more time saying this is our vision and selling our vision and it’s been successful that way,” he said. “We spend a lot of time talking about how it’s not just the coaches, it’s the GA’s, everybody in that building.
“When someone walks in the building it’s that environment because if we say we’re going to be a family we have to be a family. If you send your son to Ohio State, he’s going to be taken care of. He’s going to be taken care of on the field and developed at the highest level, he’s going to be taken care of in the classroom with all the support he needs and also off the field in all the things we provide.”
5. Ohio State has two recruits apiece from California and Arizona, but Day said not to look for that to become a trend.
“I think it’s just the way this cycle has worked,” said Day, a New Hampshire native whose coaching career includes a stop in San Francisco with the 49ers. “I don’t have a lot of ties out there. Things happen in cycles. I’d be surprised if it was the same way next year. I think we’ll maybe be in Texas or the Southeast next year. It’s just the way it worked this year.”
Ohio State’s class has one Texan (Rockwell receiver Jaxon Smith-Njigba) this year.
The Buckeyes have signed 11 players from the Longhorn State since 2013 after having nine in the 25 years before that.
6. Day has backed up his desire to get more players from Ohio.
Prior to the summer, Ohio State already had three in-state verbal commitments: Cincinnati Princeton offensive lineman Paris Johnson, Cincinnati Elder offensive lineman Jakob James and Norwalk offensive lineman Trey Leroux.
With seven in-state verbal commitments, the 2020 class already stands to include more Ohio natives than the previous two, which both had five, and the 2021 class already includes three Ohioans.
“The basis of our recruiting has to be in Ohio and that three to four-hour radius,” Day said. “It has to be. It has to be the foundation, but Ohio State has a brand that can go from coast to coast and so now let’s go get some of the elite ones around the country. That’s the philosophy, but we have to have that foundation in Ohio.”
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