When it comes to Ohio State and their ability to recruit, the constant theme you see is success. It’s pretty simple really, recruit the best players in the country and odds are that it will transition into wins and losses on the field. Ryan Day and the rest of his coaching staff have done an incredible job thus far when you look at how important recruiting is to the entirety of the program. Fortunately, these current trends show no sign of let up as once again the 2022 class is in just as good of shape as anyone could want — despite some recent defections and reclassifications.
It’s not a mystery that Ohio State recruits well, but taking a more in depth approach as to how they are recruiting so well often makes you wonder. Time and time again we see top national players selecting Ohio State and giving their fair share of reasons why they did so, but in this piece we’re going to take a stab at just five tactics and pitches the staff is using to see the success they are having in each cycle.
These may not be perfect guesses, but with this list, it’s probably a fair assumption that these are used at least to some extent when trying to land the caliber of player the Buckeyes are accustomed to bringing in, regardless of position. Obviously there will also be individual pitches made based on the player’s goals, position, etc., but these are likely the ones used across the board.
In this case, these pitches are ranked from the most important starting at the top.
Number 1: The ultimate result. Winning.
It doesn’t take a rocket scientist to figure this one out, but winning is easily in the top five recruiting pitches the football staff uses. Whether they have to say it themselves, or the fact that their on-field results speak loud and clear, winning is what Ohio State football does. We’ve heard Ryan Day say their goals are to beat their rival and to compete for championships come late November. Well, they’ve done that and more. Back-to-back college football playoff berths, four straight Big Ten titles, and they haven’t lost to their rival since 2011. The list actually goes on, but you get the picture.
The Buckeyes win because in the grand scheme of things, they have the most talented roster in the conference, one of the best in all of college football, and it shows on the field. What this staff has done is recruit top tier talent, develop it, and then repeat the cycle over and over until it’s a trend.
Recruits want to win and have the best chance to compete for championships. The Buckeyes clearly are one of the premier programs in the country who every year have about as good of a shot as anyone to be in the College Football Playoff and have an opportunity to win it all. That alone in many cases is why Ohio State can land a top national recruit regardless of where they are from.
Recruits want to be part of a winner and the Buckeyes are doing that at an incredible rate. Again, this coaching staff may not have to say it out loud, because the record speaks for itself, but guaranteed, one of the top recruiting pitches for Ohio State is winning.
Number 2: NFL Development
Maybe not all, but the majority of the top recruits in the nation have the ultimate goal of playing in the NFL. You’d be hard-pressed to find a second option when you can play a game and make millions of dollars to do so. In college football, the top programs are not just the ones making the CFP, but are also pumping out the most players to the NFL Draft. The Buckeyes have proven themselves to be one of the most consistent programs for developing NFL caliber players and that speaks in a major way on the recruiting trail.
Regardless of position, the Buckeyes are producing NFL talent at a rate unseen in program history, and that’s due to both the caliber of player they have on the roster, but also the coaching staff as well. Larry Johnson has proven himself to be arguably the best defensive line coach in the country after his long list of draft picks and their professional success.
In addition, what Kerry Coombs has done with the cornerback position has to be mentioned, and one would imagine that following his own trip to the NFL, he will be even better at getting guys to the next level.
Now though, it’s not just the two positions on defense that are getting all of the attention. Thanks to Day, the Buckeyes now have two first-round drafted quarterbacks, and of course there’s Brian Hartline who is doing wonders with the receiver room. Also worth mentioning of course is the running back development under Tony Alford. Every position group is seeing NFL Draft success and for that reason, Ohio State can and does use their development and track record as a major pitch to their top recruiting targets.
Number 3: The Ohio State brand
Let’s be honest, “Buckeye Nation” is real. The Ohio State brand is a big deal and is absolutely one of the selling points for this coaching staff when sitting down with recruits. Especially with the NIL rights now in effect, but even before, the Buckeyes are more than just nationally known.
This brand speaks for itself and when you play for Ohio State, it’s not some small accomplishment. In many cases it can change a player’s life after football. Whether it’s the fans or just what Ohio State means in the college football landscape, the Buckeyes are well respected and high school recruits notice that.
And as NIL options expand, knowing how large this fan base is, the staff is certainly already using this to show how successful players can be when choosing Ohio State. Just look at the current roster and see already what guys are inking NIL deals; that will only expand. It’s a safe bet that Ohio State players will see how much the brand itself helps them financially and beyond.
Number 4: Life after football
There may not be a more impressive component of Ohio State’s football program than their dedication to helping prepare their players for life after football. Mainly speaking of “Real Life Wednesdays”, this area of the program is truly incredible and we’ve seen countless recruits and families talk about how much it sets the Buckeyes apart from other top programs during the recruiting process.
The mission to prepare and teach the players the best practices for a life and career after football is unparalleled. Whether it be mock interviews, guest speakers, or even major internship placements, Ohio State’s staff has excelled in the area of making sure that their players have a steady career and life if football ends after their Buckeye careers.
Not every player will be an NFL veteran, but Ohio State actively does everything in their power to help their players find a successful life off of the field shows and has had a huge impact in the recruiting process.
Number 5: The “haves” and the “have nots”
As if the previous four pitches weren’t enough, here’s a look at what else Ohio State can boast about when recruiting. Take Ohio Stadium and the rest of the facilities for a second. Kids want to play in front of passionate fans and in stadiums that are historic in nature. The Shoe more than meets every need; 100,000-plus fans at every home game, one of the most iconic stadiums in all of sports, and the traditions like “Script Ohio” and the singing of “Carmen Ohio” are special, even if a player isn’t from Ohio. You can’t ask for much more as a recruit than playing in Ohio Stadium, but the rest of the facilities really seal the deal.
Having the Woody Hayes Athletic Center, renovated locker rooms and player lounges, a full indoor facility, and a state of the art weight room also check everything off the list of desires.
In addition to everything else, think of the other aspects such as their huge Nike deal and even other areas like their social media prowess, expertise in building player brands, the surprising size and diversity of the city of Columbus, and more.
While Ohio State might not be the eventual choice of every recruit, the Buckeyes have the opportunity to meet every need a prospect could have, which is why more often than not, the rich really do get richer. They have it all and certainly use it to their advantage when it comes to recruiting.
What makes Ohio State though overall isn’t one of these pitches alone, but the culmination of each of these aspects put together. Behind closed doors, only the staff itself knows what is working on the recruiting trail, but odds are that these pitches help to prove why so many of the top players from around the country continue to come to Ohio State.
Whatever the case, this staff is rolling on the recruiting trail with no signs of slowing down. Ohio State is in great shape.