CO-WRITTEN BY JAKOB ROSATI AND EVAN RASOR
College Football is right around the corner and it’s time that we give Ohio State’s football program some credit for its tremendous offseason. If you came here to read a fair, balanced assessment of the Ohio State football program, sorry.
Rookie head coach Ryan Day is wasting no time succeeding Hall of Famer Urban Meyer’s legacy. Day went 3-0 while serving as interim head coach for Meyer and has been on an absolute hot streak in terms of recruiting. At Big 10 Media Day, Day said, “Our No. 1 priority in the building is recruiting.” Day has accumulated an All-Star recruiting team in wide receiver’s coach Brian Hartline and co-defensive coordinator Jeff Hafley. According to 247Sports.com, Hartline is currently rated as the No. 1 recruiter in the country. The mindset Day has tried to instill involves taking all successes and celebrating them as a unit, even if it is individual success. Becoming a family seems to be a core value of his. Everything surrounding Day’s first 8 months as head coach has been peachy keen.
Four new defensive coaches have been added to Day’s staff. Greg Mattison was Michigan’s defensive line coach this time last year. This year he will be suiting up as a Buckeye and co-defensive coordinator with Hafley. Mattison wasn’t the only Michigan coach OSU was able to nab. Al Washington, the linebackers coach for the Wolverines will be holding the same position with the Bucks. Washington is a Columbus native, but played his college ball at Boston College. The Michigan double-crossing doesn’t stop there! Michigan’s defensive analyst was brought on to be Day’s new special teams coordinator and assistant secondary coach.
Hafley is a defensive backs specialist with NFL experience, including time with Richard Sherman. When Darion Henry and Cody Simon committed, Hafley had racked up three 4-star defensive players in only an 8-day span. Also, according to 247Sports.com, Hafley is rated as the No. 3 recruiter in the country right now, meaning OSU has two of the top 3 recruiters. Safety Jordan Fuller said that Hafley is “Nothing but positive vibes” and “knowledgable.”
Griffin Strom from The Lantern wrote how “Jayden Ballard, a 6-foot-2, four-star wide receiver, and the No. 5 prospect in Ohio per 247Sports, joined the Buckeyes’ 2021 class with a social media announcement.” and then ”Just 15 minutes later, the No. 4 cornerback in 2020, California-native Clark Phillips, also announced he would be donning scarlet and gray.” The following week, Henry and Ben Christman also committed, both the No. 2 ranked Ohio recruits in 2020 and 2021 at the DT position. Paris Johnson and Jack Sawyer also joined the DTs, meaning the Bucks have the No. 1 and 2 recruits in the state on opposite sides of the line. Something to be reckoned with for sure.
As of yesterday Hafley, scored another top defensive player in the country in Kourt Williams II. After one visit in the winter, there was apparently a general consensus that Williams would be with Ohio State come this summer. That was confirmed yesterday officially. Williams is pegged to be the first true “Bullet” commit, a position that OSU’s defensive staff is very excited about. This position blends the skill sets of a guy who has linebacker-like tendencies in the body of a more traditional safety, which the new look Buckeye defense plans to roll out in 2019. Williams may have chosen to commit to OSU because of the opportunity to play a hybrid position like the Bullet.
Now, let’s take a moment to truly appreciate what Brian Hartline has been able to accomplish in his short time as the Buckeyes’ receivers coach. Hartline has 4 commitments from receivers that rank in 247sports’ top 75 players in the country. Regardless of position. All in the class of 2020.
And what did he do last year?
Sign 2 WRs in the top 80.
We see a pattern yet?
Brian Hartline… pretty good at this recruiting thing.
I wonder what makes him so good.
Maybe it helps that he’s an Ohio guy? Maybe it helps that he’s a former Buckeye himself? Maybe it helps that he had legit success on Sundays?
Regardless of the reasons for the success, I think we all can agree Brian Hartline is, as Mike Jones would say, “hotter than fish grease.”
The Buckeyes have only a few more spots open for the 2020 class, and a pair of supremely talented running backs are trending more and more heavily to Columbus. Bijan Robinson, an Arizona 5-star that fits into any conceivable system in the country, is set to commit August 2nd, and the Bucks would be over the moon to land a verbal from him. Jaylan Knighton, another talented tailback out of Florida, has set his commitment date for July 30th. If Day and co. can land one, if not both, of these kids, the 2020 class will all but surely finish in the top 3-5 range.
Not too shabby for your first full recruiting class.
Day is the handpicked protege of Meyer and fared beyond expectations when Meyer was suspended. Clearly, with Meyer’s health issues his chapter in Ohio State’s book was closing soon. Day is taking advantage of this opportunity from the starting gates and as a result, glorious years appear to be in front of Buckeye Nation.
The Bucks have Michigan State, Wisconsin, and Penn State at home, which is huge this year. The only tough road games OSU has on paper are at Indiana, Nebraska, and Michigan. However, that Friday night trip to Evanston to take on a Northwestern team that went to the Big Ten Championship last year has real Iowa 2017/Purdue 2018 potential (a “trap” game, I believe the industry pros call it). Indiana and Nebraska shouldn’t be an issue and Michigan hasn’t won in 7 straight matchups. Until Michigan actually wins, why should we believe Jim Harbaugh and the Wolverines have a grasp on the Buckeyes? Especially after stealing multiple coaches from UM and Harbaugh’s immature comments about social issues and Ohio State.
Thanks for the support and go Buckeyes! We are all looking forward to the new season.