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ESPN lists Ohio State wide receivers coach Brian Hartline as No. 1 recruiter in the country

Jeff Hafley follows at No. 5

COLLEGE FOOTBALL: SEP 21 Miami OH at Ohio State Photo by Adam Lacy/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

“Assistant coaches have been working tirelessly to fill these classes, and with 237 of the ESPN 300 recruits already committed, some assistants have made a big impact on the top prospects choosing their respective schools. Here are the best recruiters so far for the 2020 class and the players they have helped bring in... Hartline was the primary recruiter with the five-star receiver Fleming, who committed to Ohio State in May.”

-Tom VanHaaren, ESPN

ESPN staff writer Tom VanHaaren listed Ohio State wide receiver coach Brian Hartline and co-defensive coordinator Jeff Hafley as the No. 1 and No. 5 best college football recruiters for the class of 2020, respectively.

Hartline’s top recruit, according to VanHaaren, is five-star wide receiver Julian Fleming, who committed in May. Fleming is the No. 4 prospect in the nation and the highest-ranked receiver in the 2020 class.

Hartline also helped land ESPN 300 receivers Jaxon-Smith Njigba and Gee Scott Jr.

The wide receiver unit—aka “Zone 6”— took a loss at the end of 2018 when Terry McLaurin, Parris Campbell, and Johnnie Dixon moved on to the NFL. However, Hartline has done an incredible— some might say the absolute best, apparently— job of keeping Zone 6 loaded with replacements. With K.J. Hill’s return, as well as Austin Mack, Binjimen Victor, Chris Olave, and freshmen Garrett Wilson and Jameson Williams on the field, a pool of talent remains.

I like to picture Hartline’s receiver unit as a vending machine. At the end of this season, when Hill, Mack, and Victor fall off the shelf, three more 4 and 5 star recruits appear in their place.

The No. 5 recruiter in the country, Jeff Hafley, is arguably one of Ryan Day’s best hires. It’s the man’s first year at Ohio State and he has already transformed the defense and landed a ton of top recruits.

Hafley’s top recruit, according to VanHaaren, is the fourth ranked CB in the 2020 recruiting class, Clark Phillips III, who committed in June. He also landed ESPN 300 safety Lejond Cavazos, and helped recruit four-star safety Lathan Ransom, outside linebackers Cody Simon and Kourt Williams II, and three-star athlete Cameron Martinez.

Ohio State is the only program with two coaches in the top ten of VanHaaren’s rankings.


Since the beginning of the 2012 college football season, Ohio State has a record of 91-9, which is the best 100-game run in program history and ties Alabama for the best in the country.

It’s also the second best 100-game record in college football history, behind Miami’s 92-8 stretch from 1985-93. So close. I blame the 2015 Michigan State game.

Head coach Urban Meyer started the record breaking 100-game streak and Ryan Day capped it off with a nice 48-7 win against Nebraska. Here are some other notable moments in between (via ohiostatebuckeyes.com):

  • An undefeated 12-0 campaign in 2012;
  • A school-record 24-game winning streak between 2012-13;
  • A 23-game winning streak covering 2014 and 2015;
  • A national championship in 2014;
  • Big Ten Conference titles in 2014, 2017 and 2018;
  • A 57-4 record in Big Ten Conference games;
  • An NCAA record 30-game conference winning streak from 2012 to 2015
  • A never worse than first finish in the Big Ten Leaders Division or East Division.

As we approach Saturday’s game against Michigan State, the one’s responsible for two of those nine losses, it’s important to note that zero of those losses were at the hands of TTUN.


“As a defense, we know that our offense can do it. This past week, they had our backs, and we’ve had their backs in the past. (Monday) we all came in together and said, ‘That wasn’t our best performance. We gotta step up.’ So this week, we’re coming with an edge, you can say.”

- Michigan State defensive tackle Mike Panasiuk on their 40-31 win against Indiana, via Chris Solari of Detroit Free Press

Considering Ohio State beat Indiana 51-10, I can see why the Spartan’s aren’t enthused about their 40-31 win against the Hoosiers.

Indiana’s redshirt freshman quarterback Michael Penix Jr. threw for 286 yards and three touchdowns against the Michigan State’s No. 7 ranked defense. He completed 33 of 42 passes, and put the Hoosiers in the lead early in the third quarter. The Spartans barely pulled through, thanks to a game-winning field goal with 5 seconds left.

Letting a team the Buckeyes blew out walk all over you, one weekend before you face said Buckeyes, isn’t ideal if you’re a Spartan. However, Michigan senior safety David Dowell has found the silver lining.

“I think it was good for us,” Dowell said. “I think it’s gonna allow us to take a step back and look at things and really hone in and focus on what we need to get better at this week in practice and get ready for this weekend.”

Well, Dowell, I think that’s a good plan. Ohio State is certainly no Indiana. Quarterback Justin Fields has thrown for 1092 yards, rushed for 222, and has 16 touchdowns under his belt this season. The Indiana quarterback that almost beat the Spartans has 809 passing yards, 75 rushing, and is responsible for six touchdowns— three of which were against MSU.

“If we think we’re gonna be one of the best defenses in the country,” Michigan State linebacker Joe Bachie said, “this is a game where we gotta show up.”

But, again, we aren’t Indiana. We always get the Spartans’ best shot. Last year, MSU kept the score at 7-6 well into the third quarter. While Ohio State ended up winning 26-6, it was a game the Buckeyes should have had in the bag.

We’ll find out on Saturday if Michigan State and their top-ranked defense got it together in practice this week. My guess is they’ll have to do more than just “show up.”


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