The main talk around the Buckeyes though hasn’t been so much about the actual game but more so on the “opt-outs” from key players such as Chris Olave, Garrett Wilson, Nicholas Petit-Frier, and Haskell Garrett that were announced on Monday. Knowing more could still be announced, the rumblings around Ohio State may feel like there’s a little bit of a negative vibe. Whether it’s the opt-outs themselves or hearing that Buckeye fans will be well out-numbered due to Ohio State returning a large number of their allotted tickets, everything feels just a bit off heading into the Granddaddy of them All.
Fortunately, a lot of that negative talk surrounding the program seems to be the polar opposite of the way that the staff and players are actually feeling. There may be some doubts in the minds of some fans, but Ryan Day and many of the interviewed players have stated that they are plenty motivated for this game and want to end the season on a high note.
Whether you wish every player on the roster was suiting up, it’s time to see what the new era of Ohio State football will bring to the table, and that should be exciting in itself.
Location has it’s perks
On the recruiting side of things, this game certainly matters for the Buckeyes and you have to look no further than some of the young guys who will be playing in the game. Day and his crew have done a great job at bringing in elite West Coast talent as of late and the chance for many of these guys — C.J. Stroud, Emeka Egbuka, Denzel Burke, etc. — to go out and perform at a high level means a great deal to them considering that they don’t often get the chance to play close to home.
Besides just the current players, being able to showcase the Ohio State brand again on the West Coast is another major opportunity to continue the momentum on the recruiting trail. Yes, televised games keep the Buckeyes always in the national mix, but playing in the region is just that much better when high profile targets are able to come to the game or feel what Ohio State brings to the table right in front of them.
Maybe the biggest perk to this week though was seen on Monday when Ohio State was able to host multiple targets from the area for their first practice. Holding practices in the backyard of some of the nation’s best prep programs, the Buckeyes have an opportunity to get some work done on the trail and as you’d expect Ohio State to do in any recruiting aspect, they’re making the most of their chances.
A couple names on the guest list
Off the bat, the most notable program that Ohio State is able to have in their sights this week is St. John Bosco. A perennial power not only in California, but nationally, Bosco is a prep football factory when it comes to churning out Power 5 prospects and are just down the road to where the Buckeyes are headquartered for the week; in fact, OSU will be practicing at the high school at least once during the week.
Thanks to the success of Bosco product Wyatt Davis and the potential of Kourt Williams, the relationship between Ohio State and the high school program is strong and the Buckeyes hope to continue to bring in more of talented players from this dominant prep power.
As mentioned in today’s edition of State Secrets, on Monday, the Buckeyes were happy to welcome a pair of St. John Bosco 2024 defensive back targets. The first, Marcelles Williams, a 5-foot-11, 175 pound cornerback, is already considered to be the 8th best corner in the 2024 cycle and the 70th best player nationally per the 247Sports grades.
After receiving an Ohio State offer this past June while visiting on campus, the coaching staff is loving the opportunity to see Williams and many of his teammates in person again. Using a bowl game as another method of recruiting just goes to show that Day and his staff never quits when it comes to recruiting.
Here at the Home Depot Center watching Ohio St practice #gobuckeyes— Marcelles Williams (@cellesthegreat1) December 27, 2021
The Buckeyes also had Peyton Woodyard on site to take in practice and having the 6-foot-2, 190-pound safety is yet another benefit to this week’s trip. The second best safety in the class, Peyton is also considered to be the 20th best player nationally per 247Sports.
Another Bosco player to receive an offer while on campus during a June visit, fans know how vital it’s been to land elite-level safeties, and getting back in touch with Woodyard yesterday hopefully keeps Ohio State in his mind for the long haul.
Hoping for lasting impacts
All in all, the goal of this week is to end up with another Rose Bowl crown. Still though, if while prepping for the Utes, the coaching staff can do some recruiting, that certainly makes the trip a success no matter the outcome of the game.
Ryan Day and his crew have proven that they’ll go anywhere at anytime to recruit their top targets. This week has so much going on — between the game, player decisions, COVID protocols, etc. — but if there’s one major benefit to OSU being in California before the game kicks off, it’s that Ohio State is able to make their presence known firsthand to some of the nation’s top targets.
In the coming years and regardless of location, if Ohio State continues to use bowl preparation to have some of the top guys on the recruiting board get up close and personal with the program, this is just yet another major recruiting tactic that the coaching staff and Mark Pantoni will use to keep the program atop of college football when it comes to building elite recruiting classes year in and year out.