Urban Meyer is retiring from Ohio State after the Buckeyes play Washington in the Rose Bowl. It wasn’t a dream, or to some, a nightmare; it’s real, and it’s going to happen, regardless of how you feel on it. If you want thoughts on the football impact of the move, we’ve certainly got plenty of those for you to read, but in today’s State Secrets, we’re just going to talk about the impact of Meyer’s retirement on recruiting.
The obvious first reaction when a legendary coach retires is to assume that recruiting could collapse, and numerous players could decommit. While Ohio State has had one recruit decommit already in Lejond Cavazos, and certainly could have more in the coming days, I don’t think that’s how this goes down.
Usually when recruiting falls apart, it’s due to a perceived lack of stability. Ohio State doesn’t have that. Ohio State has its current head coach handing the job off to his offensive coordinator. Because of that, those two, along with the rest of Ohio State’s staff, have a month to calm recruits down, and explain the situation. Perhaps most importantly, Urban Meyer and Ryan Day will be able to visit recruits, or talk to recruits on the phone and give them full transparency as to where the program is headed. That’s what recruits care about, and Ohio State has the extreme privilege of the former and future coach both being around at the same time to make a smooth transition. It’s like if relay racers had a full lap to hand their baton to a teammate.
Because of that, I seriously doubt we see a mass exodus in 2019 or 2020. Hell, I think we may even see a pretty sizable amount of commits in the next few weeks before the Early Signing Period now that there’s no questions about Urban Meyer’s future, or more broadly, Ohio State’s future. We know the answers now. We know Ryan Day.
While several commits, namely Jack Miller, Garrett Wilson, Dwan Mathis and Jameson Williams, among others have reaffirmed their commitment to Ohio State, I wanted to get an even closer look at what a high school recruit may be thinking right now. Because he’s probably the most well-spoken recruit I’ve ever talked to, I reached out to Pickerington North receiver and 2020 Buckeye target Chris Scott for comment on Meyer’s retirement.
“I would definitely say it was surprising to see the news and hear about it. It was shocking walking into school and seeing the headlines on my phone and seeing all the different reports and articles today but as much as I was shocked, I fully understood Coach Meyer’s decision and I looked at it from a different perspective than just football. I thought about all the other factors into his decision which made me realize and understand why he made the decision he made and I wish nothing but the best for Coach and his family moving forward. With everything Coach Meyer has accomplished in his years here and being such a huge figure in Columbus and in Ohio State football, it’ll definitely be a little different without him as the coach but Coach Day is going to do a great job of taking over.”
I also asked Chris how he views Ohio State moving forward under Day, and I think his answer will please quite a few Buckeye fans:
“As far as my recruitment with OSU? It doesn’t change at all. Ohio State, since my recruitment started, has always been a school I’ve considered myself going to and it still is to this day. I have total confidence in Coach Day and I’m sure he will do a great job of carrying the legacy of OSU moving forward and to be honest with you, getting a little three game glimpse of Coach Day as Head Coach in the beginning of the year makes things so much better. Obviously it was only three games but that gave me as well as the rest of us a idea of what things could and will be like with Coach Day as the new Head Coach.”
Now, obviously Chris can’t speak for all Ohio State recruits, but in talking to several recruits and recruiting writers in the past 24 hours or so, the overwhelming consensus is very similar. There’s certainly some trepidation about Day, as there is about any new coach anywhere, but recruits that liked Meyer and like Ohio State like Day. They trust Meyer’s judgement, and above everything, they like the program Ohio State has built.
Ryan Day doesn’t plan on changing that program too much. Obviously he’ll make it his own, but the structure is there for Ohio State to keep on rolling in recruiting, and in my opinion, that’s exactly what we’ll see in recruiting. Next man up applies to coaches too, and I don’t think Day misses a beat when he takes over on Jan. 2.