“I think the biggest challenge early on is getting to know everybody. Then when the staff got put into place, we still wanted those guys to make sure they built relationships with 2019s. The loyalty there was off the charts, the families we made connections with, recruiting, has been awesome”
National Signing Day is just another step in what has been an eventful offseason for first-year head coach Ryan Day. After completely revamping his coaching staff, Day has some incredibly large shoes to fill when it comes to recruiting, as former Ohio State head coach Urban Meyer finished with top-10 classes in all seven of his seasons in Columbus. All told, Day’s 2019 class is currently ranked 15th in the country, but with the third-highest average player rating behind just Alabama and Georgia.
The 16-player class is highlighted by five-star defensive end Zach Harrison (ranked 12th nationally and the No. 1 player out of Ohio), five-star wide receiver Garrett Wilson (20th nationally) and five-star offensive lineman Harry Miller (30th nationally). Not included in the class ranking is the addition of transfer quarterback Justin Fields, the No. 2 overall player in the 2018 class.
While National Signing Day was seemingly pretty quiet for the Buckeyes, as 15 of their 2019 recruits signed their letters of intent in December, they were able to make a splash in signing four-star offensive lineman Enokk Vimahi out of Hawaii. Vimahi joining the Buckeyes was very welcomed news after missing out on former OL verbal commit Doug Nester. And the offensive line haul didn’t end there, as three-star Dawand Jones announced on Wednesday evening that he’ll be headed to Ohio State, too.
Overall, Day has done quite well in an offseason filled with big expectations. He was able to put together a very good class that should add a ton of young talent to the roster in 2019, including a handful of guys that could find themselves in starting roles right away among the likes of Fields, Harrison and Wilson. Day hasn’t stopped there, however, and is already putting in work on future classes, getting a verbal commitment from 2021’s top defensive end Jack Sawyer on Sunday. Retaining the majority of the roster that originally came to play for Meyer, losing only two guys to transfers in Keandre Jones and Tate Martell, it seems as though Ohio State under Ryan Day will continue on without skipping a beat.
“Leaving Michigan was a very tough decision. I spent 13 years there. But I’ve also spent 19 of the last 24 years coordinating, and to have the opportunity to be a co-coordinator at a great university like Ohio State was something, an opportunity I really wanted to pursue. That’s the biggest thing.”
Part of Day’s busy offseason included the plundering of Michigan’s coaching staff, including now co-defensive coordinator at Ohio State Greg Mattison.
Mattison was employed in two different stints for the Wolverines spanning a total of 13 years. His career on Michigan’s staff began in 1992, where he spent his first two seasons as the defensive line coach. He became a defensive coordinator in 1995, before leaving for Notre Dame in 1997. He would return to Michigan in 2011, where he function as the defensive coordinator and linebackers coach before moving to the defensive line coach position, where he stayed until recently joining the Buckeyes.
Mattison described his move from Maize and Blue to Scarlet and Gray as a difficult one, but ultimately he preferred to once again become a coordinator. Michigan head coach Jim Harbaugh was not offering Mattison a coordinator position, so when Ryan Day came calling with an opportunity, it was one he felt he had to pounce on. Jeff Hafley will serve as the other co-defensive coordinator alongside Mattison at Ohio State.
Al Washington, the other coach Day lured away from Michigan, had a slightly easier time making the move, spending only one season with the Wolverines. An Ohio native, Washington said he still has a ton of respect for the players and coaches at Michigan. Washington will function as the Buckeyes’ linebackers coach.
No. 2 Ohio State will host the No. 1 Nittany Lions at St. John Arena on Friday night. A couple notable matchups will include Buckeyes No. 1 Myles Martin against Penn State’s No. 6 Shakur Rasheed at 184 pounds as well as OSU No. 2 Kollin Moore against PSU No. 1 Bo Nickal at 197 pounds. The highly anticipated match will begin at 8:30 p.m. ET and will be broadcast on Big Ten Network.
The Buckeyes swept the Jessica Beck Memorial Meet that functioned as their second home meet of the season on Saturday. Laila Huric got first in solo, Nikki Dzurko and Huric got first in duet, while Ohio State swimmers placed first and second in trio with Scarlet and Gray coming in first and second respectively in teams. The team will be traveling to Virginia this weekend to take on Richmond and William & Mary.