Ohio state Players

Ohio State Notebook: ‘You have to want to be great’

Uncommon Commonalities

Ohio State signed 20 players on the first day of the early signing period this past Wednesday. There were eleven players on offense and nine players on defense, with more to come possibly later on down the line.

The Buckeyes signed five 5-star prospects in receivers Jeremiah Smith and Mylan Graham, defensive end Eddrick Houston, cornerback Aaron Scott, and quarterback Air Noland. No other team in the nation matched that number.

Of Ohio State’s 20 signees, seven were from Ohio, two each from Texas, Florida, Georgia, and Indiana, and one prospect from each of Arizona, Michigan, New Jersey, Tennessee, and Virginia.

Overall, it was a wide-ranging, balanced class. And yet according to Ohio State head coach Ryan Day, they all had something in common.

“They all want to be great, they all want the big stage,” he said. “I think when you come to Ohio State, you have to think big. You have to think big because there’s nothing you can’t get done at Ohio State. You have to want the big stage, you have to want all of it. When you walk into the ‘Shoe, you’re gonna play on the biggest stage in in the country, with the most-watched team across America. I think it was 70 million viewers last year that watched us play. You have to want to be great. You have to want to be elite. You have to want to walk in a room — we have a bunch of great players that are going to compete every day — you’ve got to be competitive. That’s probably the thing you notice the most.”

Always Be Closing

Former Ohio State head coach Urban Meyer used to say that college football was an evaluation-friendly business because everybody could see the results. For better or worse, it’s difficult to hide the results when the scoreboard puts it all up there in lights.

Before those on-field results spark a single bulb, however, the off-field results have to be on point. Every year after the season, a head coach must sit down and evaluate his coaching staff and weigh changes. Ohio State head coach Ryan Day will do the same thing after this season. How will he evaluate his coaching staff?

“Well, the first thing is recruiting,” Day explained. “That’s the number one thing. You’ve got to recruit your position. It’s your job. You’re the head coach at your position, you’ve got to make sure that that room is strong. Year in and year out, we have a certain amount of depth that we have at each position.

“And then it’s your job to make sure that you have the best room in the country. I think that’s the other thing that we talk about a lot, when you’re at Ohio State and you’re coaching the wide receivers, it should be ‘Wide Receiver U.’ If you’re coaching the linebackers, it should be ‘Linebacker U,’ because this is the best place in the country. And so I think that’s the first thing.”

Recruiting, of course, is only the first half of the battle. The job is called “coaching,” after all.

“I think the second thing is how they perform on the field,” Day said. “You know, what type of production are you getting out of your unit? And a big part of that is the development. And if you’re recruiting really well and then you’re developing your players, then usually you’re gonna get production. So then the last thing is just what are you bringing schematically to the table? You know, are you putting your guys in a situation to be successful? And that’s our job as coaches.”

Once the season wraps up after next Friday’s Cotton Bowl, Day will begin the process of sizing up his coaching staff and deciding if any changes need to be made.

He did, however, reveal on Wednesday that he expects defensive line coach Larry Johnson to return for the 2024 season.

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Opting In Or Opting Out?

To this point, nobody that is currently healthy and still on the Ohio State football team has opted out of next week’s Cotton Bowl game yet.

That is expected to change in the coming days when All-American wide receiver Marvin Harrison, Jr. reveals his plans, however.

The Buckeyes have already had a number of juniors announce that they are playing in the game, including cornerbacks Denzel Burke and Jordan Hancock, receiver Emeka Egbuka, and offensive lineman Donovan Jackson, but Ohio State fans are also waiting to hear from running back TreVeyon Henderson and defensive end JT Tuimoloau.

Ryan Day was asked about the status of Henderson, Tuimoloau, and Harrison and said that all three have “been at practice.”

“Yeah, you know, I think I’ve allowed those guys to kind of do their own thing,” he said. “I don’t want to kind of put their stuff out there, but we’ve got a good group playing in the game. Yeah, we do. And we’re going down there to win the game.

“And we’ve had a good few weeks of practice. And, again, the Cotton Bowl is a great bowl, we have a really good opponent. So yeah, I mean, this is a great opportunity, like I said before for [quarterback] Devin [Brown] to go in and be the starter, and we want to finish the season the right way.”

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