We’re not even to October yet, and for most college football programs, this season is still in the early stages. But a few programs have already started to look to next year.
The biggest, of course, was LSU, who made the somewhat surprising decision to move on from the Les Miles era. Florida International also fired Ron Turner Sunday, so there are officially two open FBS head coaching positions (besides Baylor). More will likely open up in the coming weeks.
Ohio State isn’t scheduled to face either team in the near future, but that doesn’t mean there aren’t potential ramifications for the Buckeyes.
What LSU’s coaching search means for Ohio State’s coaching personnel
As far as personnel is concerned, LSU’s search doesn’t look like it will directly impact Ohio State. Urban Meyer isn’t going to leave for the Tigers, and while the Buckeyes have plenty of assistants that could potentially be hired as head coaches this offseason (Luke Fickell, Ed Warinner, and of course, Greg Schiano), the odds that any of them would be considered LSU coaching candidates is exceptionally low.
But Ohio State fans will probably still be following the outcome, as one of LSU’s top candidates will almost assuredly be former Ohio State assistant and current Houston head coach Tom Herman. Whether Herman will be interested remains to be seen, but coaching prowess coupled with LSU’s talent and recruiting advantages could be formidable. Ohio State doesn’t really recruit against Tom Herman now, but if he took the LSU job (or a few other high profile gigs), Meyer and Herman might be butting heads more regularly on the recruiting trail.
How LSU’s coaching search impacts 2017 recruiting
Ohio State’s 2017 recruiting class is somewhat close to being full, but there are a few prospects whose recruitment may be altered by this decision. The most prominent is Dylan Moses, the top rated linebacker and a top five prospect in the entire country.
Moses plays at IMG Academy, but he started high school on LSU’s campus, and was assumed to be a heavy LSU lean. Ohio State is not favored in this recruitment by any means, but he is currently scheduled to take an Ohio State visit, and anything that weakens LSU makes this a more open recruitment, which could help the Buckeyes.
Ohio State and LSU are also battling for top defensive tackle Marvin Wilson, of Bellaire, TX. Wilson was on hand for Ohio State’s thrashing of Oklahoma, and came away very impressed with the Buckeyes, but Ohio State is still running uphill in this recruitment. Texas is currently the 247Sports Crystal Ball favorite, but Alabama, Florida State and others will be involved if LSU falters.
The other big mutual target is Clinton, MS running back Cam Akers. Once thought to be an Ohio State lean, the Buckeyes may have faded a bit, as Florida State has picked up some steam. LSU was also thought to be a contender here, along with Ole Miss.
It’s possible that a few players currently committed to LSU may decommit. Historically, Ohio State hasn’t had much success recruiting in Louisiana, and that probably won’t immediately change, even if the Tigers struggle more this season. If the Buckeyes stand to gain from a downturn in LSU’s recruiting fortunes, it will most likely be with prospects from other states.
How LSU’s coaching search impacts future Ohio State recruiting
We’re a long way from the 2018 National Signing Day, but instability with LSU could potentially be a bigger issue for Ohio State’s 2018 class, given how little room remains in 2017.
It’s still very early, but there are a few bigger targets where Ohio State may go head to head with LSU. Four-star TE Mustapha Muhammad of Missouri City, TX, five-star defensive back Anthony Cook of Houston, TX and five-star defensive back Patrick Surtain Jr. of Ft. Lauderdale all have Ohio State and LSU offers. There’s a long way to go here, but a shakeup might give Ohio State even a slight advantage in their recruitment.
What about the other new opening?
Ohio State obviously doesn’t recruit against FIU, but smaller Group of 5 programs could be potential landing spots for Ohio State assistants. At this point, it seems less likely a Buckeye ends up at FIU though.
Per the USA TODAY Coaches Salary database, FIU coach Ron Turner made just $604,000. Somebody like Luke Fickell would potentially have to take a pay cut to move there as a head coach.
The first list of prospective FIU head coaching candidates from Bruce Feldman did not include any Buckeyes, and was heavy on names with more South Florida connections, but it is also very early in that process. A Buckeye being considered for this position would be a little surprising, but not unheard of. Still, there are other mid-major positions likely to open this offseason that are probably more likely to turn towards Ohio State for a possible candidate.