Mark Pantoni Discusses How Ohio State Approaches Recruiting, Committable Offers, How The Team Finds Prospects

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Zone's picture

Very good article and in-depth look on how this process unfolds. Pantoni is a massive assest to this team and staff, and likely underrated or own known to some fans.

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BuckeyeBen7.7's picture

I’d say that outside of the portion of fans that regularly read 11W or another OSU sports based news outlet, Pantoni is completely unknown. And a big reason why Meyer was able to recruit as well as he did. He’s also one of the main reasons that recruiting really hasn’t fallen off since Day took over.

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cdub4's picture

This article is awesome!!. Can't wait to hear the podcast. Great insights.

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brutus360's picture

In my best Arte Johnson voice....Very interesting....

"Age wrinkles the body, quitting wrinkles the soul" Woody Hayes

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denniscolumbus's picture

Plus 1 for that reference!!! 

Class of 2001 - classless since then.

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Hovenaut's picture

Great read, excellent insight to just how important Mark Pantoni is to the program - very happy he's remained with Ohio State and Coach Day.

I had to run away high, so I wouldn't come home low...

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Weave77's picture

Very informative... worth the read.

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EZE4TD's picture

Imagine if he got out of the college game, and then had his own podcast like Zach Smith. Can you imagine the stories he would have on how/why things went down with different recruits. Fans' minds blown...

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BuckeyeGoneNuts's picture

Now that would be fun to watch/read/hear.  Not just from Pantoni, but any of the big time recruiters that would have great stories on top recruits that we'd recognize. 

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RunEddieRun1983's picture

Awesome read. 

Pantoni plays things close to the vest, and in his position, who could blame him?

Good insight. 

Urban Meyer left an incredible legacy. 12/4/18 Ryan Day begins his.

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BuckeyeGoneNuts's picture

Always interesting to get a little peek behind the curtain to see how the processes really work.  I know it's going to be very different for each school, but either way interesting to see.
 

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IBLEEDSCARLETANDGRAY's picture

To the OSU fans who tweet at recruits, stop it you fucking morons.

"You're the patron saint of the totally effed" - Hot Tub Time Machine

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allinosu's picture

I really wish they would listen but one must realize it's fulfilling a short coming in their character and they think they are making a difference and if others knew just how important to recruiting they are we would fall to our knees and worship them.

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SilverState's picture

Never knew he did the initial film review - good stuff.

"There's still some green showing before you see the chalk."

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MaineStrength's picture

Interesting conversation about something that is so important to fans, but that we have so little inside knowledge of where the coaches really prioritize players and make offers.  I'd be curious to see how much stock he takes into rankings and where he starts the tape evaluation process.  For example does he start looking at tape of the top ranked guys at each position?  There must be some way to whittle down names and the rankings are probably a good base line to start at.

Strength equipment is expensive & guarantees you nothing. A strong will is free & will give you everything you need.

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EZE4TD's picture

He kind of answers this, saying they keep up with all the coaches and are always asking who's coming next. Expecting him to have a clue about every decent prospect coming down the path in the nation is much to ask, but it's why he's (at least) one of the very best in the business. The recruiting sites have gotten much better with all the competition, and now they have to employee at least a few actual knowledgable experts, and these new showcases that put apples and apples together all make them more accurate, but for Pantoni, I guarantee they are just a way of triple checking he got everyone. Lesser schools, undoubtedly, rely on them more. Also helps to have a very small range of kid you will accept (size + talent + grades + family + coachability + attitude) and even more important that the school name allows you to hold out for the kids that check every box.

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chirobuck's picture

Very interesting peek behind the curtain, also interesting take on the transfer portal being "out of control" 

 

^ best post ever ^

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awlinBrutus's picture

Just like the signing periods, December&Febuary, the transfer portal should be 2 times a year for 30 days each period. I’m thinking December and May. All year round like it is now really puts the coaching staffs behind in planning on replacing the portal players.

MICHIGAN STILL SUCKS

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AZ Buckeye13's picture

I like the idea of December but not a fan of May. If players transfer in December then the staff has the ability to replace them with other recruits on its recruiting board. If players decide to leave in May, those players could only be replaced with other players in the transfer portal. A school may not find anyone and could be down a few scholarship players the entire year. If there were a second period for players to transfer, I would go with April. At least that way the team could pick up someone and that player would have more time to study the playbook and get acclimated before reporting in June for classes. 

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awlinBrutus's picture

You have to have a transfer period after spring practice I think. Imo there are 2 times a year the players see the writing on the wall. After spring and fall practices are when players usually transfer. I don’t think it’s fair for the players to be able to transfer in season as the coaches have less time to plan for replacements. I think most of us agree that having the portal open all year is a disaster and will only get worse imo.

MICHIGAN STILL SUCKS

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Rocket Man's picture

That was very informative.

And nope, I'll never tweet at a recruit.  I don't tweet at anyone.

Varys: I've always hated the bells. They ring for horror, a dead king, a city under siege. 
Tyrion: A wedding. 
Varys: Exactly.

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ShaunWadeDad's picture

Special thanks to the Ohio State media for giving me the idea to put together a podcast. Bringing more insight of players and families point of view. And showing the fans and media outlets the inside track of the process...
FOR Daddy's Ball Podcast
CLICK LINK BELOW: https://www.podbean.com/media/player/multi?playlist=http%3A%2F%2Fplaylis...

Randy Wade

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MN Buckeye's picture

Mr. Wade, I particularly appreciate your comments at the end, encouraging parents (and others) to stop entitling the kids and letting them earn it, building personal responsibility.

It is clear that you have been a positive influence not only in your family but now are bringing awareness to the families of so many other prospects.

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navybucknut's picture

This is great stuff! I really enjoy learning about the other side of the coin, recruiting and how the families see it. Thank you!

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buckeyetodd92's picture

This information will be of great use for parents of kids who are being recruited by any school. My nephew was a D1 recruit, but not a 5-star kid (and not recruited by OSU), so his folks were in the dark about a lot of the process and what they should be doing to help, how the process works, etc. 

Well done!

True story: I served ribs to John Cooper.

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shawn kemps kids's picture

Any chance you guys will start streaming the podcast on Spotify as well? 

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ShaunWadeDad's picture

I can.... I am new to the reason why people stream podcast on so many different apps.... When apps have media players...

Randy Wade

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ShaunWadeDad's picture

And finally gotta thank, Mark Pantoni for even doing the interview.... Ohio State staff doesn't just talk the talk, they walk it...

Randy Wade

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stxbuck's picture

Pantoni dropping truth. This article should be pinned to the top of every recruiting thread.

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HeartbreakRidge's picture

and/or have a PS for every recruting post - DON'T TWEET AT RECRUITS!

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Knarcisi's picture

Thanks to you and Shaun for being Buckeyes. We’re proud to have you. 

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DroneBuck's picture

I love all the Buckeyes, but Wade #24 is my favorite player on the team. I’ve been beating the drum long & loud that he’s our best DB and should be CB #1... however, hopefully his experience as our defensive “utility knife” in the secondary will benefit short & long term.

Everyone is talking about Okudah having a decision to make after this season as a true junior, but Wade will have the same draft eligibility as a redshirt Soph. Selfishly, I hope he comes back for 1 more yr as a lockdown (and I think there’s a lot of benefit to being the unquestioned veteran leader of the secondary for a whole calendar yr) but ultimately I hope the best decision is made for him, you & your family. The kid is a smooth player and a natural out there. He’s going down as one of my all-time faves for sure! God Bless the Wade family, and big thanks to you all for your decision to join BuckeyeNation. tOSU & the Buckeye Family are big time Wade fans!!

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LouBuck35's picture

Once again, the world's best lesson: Never. Tweet.

I want a fall Saturday in Ohio Stadium..

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awlinBrutus's picture

Didn’t know it at the time but Kendal Sheffield and I followed each other before he came to TOSU. And we engaged in several conversations. I did not know he was a college football player until he told me. Once he got to osu didn’t hear from him at all. I don’t keep tabs on followers and sometimes I don’t even notice who I’m responding to, I do that here sometimes.

MICHIGAN STILL SUCKS

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TURD_BUCKET's picture

That is an inside look at recruiting we do not get to see very often.  You can bet the players are evaluated after they arrive at TOSU, on a regular basis, and that includes a year end evaluation.  Very informative post.

“Being average means you are as close to the bottom as you are to the top.” John Wooden

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Ohbucksclan20's picture

Love the inside look at how Ohio State evaluates recruits.

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BornAndBredABuckeye's picture

Great topic. I'll give the podcast a listen after work. This gives a good behind the scenes look at recruiting. I'm glad the staff at OSU don't sugar coat the process just to get a highly ranked player. Let's them know what to expect.

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NOLABuckeye's picture

Well done Mr. Wade.  Thanks for your insight.

Nothing cleanses the soul like a no call pass interference.

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irishfury's picture

I really believe Pantoni and Marotti the two best hold overs and assets from Urbans team.

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stxbuck's picture

Would you say that to Coach Johnson's face!!!!!

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216ToThe614's picture

Yes.

Pick up your feet, turn your corners square! And DRIVE DRIVE DRIVE!!!
WB

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teddyballgame's picture

Definitely gonna check out that podcast later.  Pantoni is part of the secret sauce!!

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OH-IO's picture

The Athleticesque. 

Great read.

OH-IO living in SEC! SEC! Ville

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osu78's picture

The part aboy the noncommitable offers shows how out of hand recruiting has gotten. It's one area I'd like to see the NCAA take some action, but how is tough. Perhaps have each school, put it in writing for the kid and inform the NCAA of every offer and have it be committable for 30 days? If the kid accepts it and the school doesn't have a slot avaiable when he gets ready to sign they lose one scholarship next year? If the kid doiesn't commit or goes on another visit it automatically becomes non-commitable and the school has no obligation to honor it? If the kod commits and does not sign he loses a year of eligibility?

Or is it just a non-issue and how the game is played? Kids just want to have long offer lists and schools realize they'll only accept a handful of the offers?

Strive at all times to bend, fold, spindle and mutilate.

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Bucks19's picture

The non committable Offer thing is the stupidest thing in the history of sports. Either it’s an offer or it isn’t. You offer, be ready for a handshake 

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NorthPoleBuckeye's picture

Should have asked him to clarify the scholarship limits and if you can backfill or not. 

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BennyOhio's picture

I wonder how the Ohio State recruiting staff feels when they drop the ball on elite Columbus talent. They failed to offer Le'Veon Bell in 2010, I would have loved to see him ball for the Buckeyes.

BennyFootball

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AZ Buckeye13's picture

Bell was a 2* recruit in high school. He wasn't on anybody's radar but Bowling Green. The only reason MSU took him was several players got in trouble and were kicked off the team and they had a need at RB and some open scholarships. Bell's high school principal is the one who told Dantonio about Bell originally. With that being said...Ohio State did not "drop the ball on elite Columbus talent". 

Edit: Ohio State took two 4* RBs in 2010. Rod Smith and Carlos Hyde.

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BennyOhio's picture

I'm very aware of the Le'Veon Bell story. I also understand and appreciate what you're saying. I get he was very under recruited, but isn't a college recruiters job to find and independently evaluate talent regardless of what other school/ranking systems think about said talent? I'm not buying the argument that just because he wasn't on anyone else's radar he shouldn't have been on Ohio State's. At the end of the day he played high school football 15 mins away from the horseshoe, and today he is arguably the best running back in the world. If that's not dropping the ball I'm not sure what is?

BennyFootball

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Buck298's picture

All players develop differently. Bell may have been a legitimate two star in high school, but with the right coaching and the light turning on, his true capabilities were revealed. This happens with a lot of people in all walks of life. I know of a guy that barely passed his sophomore year of design school, and everyone knew he was just so-so. But a year later, everything just clicked for him. He’s now one of the best designers I have ever seen. 

Send the Earth Reverberating

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AZ Buckeye13's picture

It's not like Hyde and Smith were chopped liver. Much better running backs in high school than Bell. You can't take 10 RBs in one year hoping that you don't miss anybody who is a 2* and might develop. 

Trayanum could be a better example of a "miss" if he does well at ASU but would you take him over Robinson, a 5*? 

Bell had 3 offers from MAC level schools so, basically, EVERYBODY missed on him. 

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BennyOhio's picture

Agreed, everyone did miss on him. I mean MSU still took a chance and it paid big. All I’m saying as per my original post is, the person in charge of recruiting central Ohio for OSU back in 2010 probably regrets not taking a closer look at Bell. His high school film was really good. It’s not that he was a legit 2*, it’s just the few people who took the time to scout him did a terrible job. Le’Veon was better than Hyde and Smith in high school in my opinion. Just poor recruiting job on him.

BennyFootball

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AZ Buckeye13's picture

MSU was desperate since players were kicked off the team. Who knows where Bell would be today if not for his principal contacting Dantonio. He probably would have ended up at Bowling Green and never heard from again (or perhaps an UFA in the NFL destined for stardom). Tressell usually gave guys like Bell a shot (Ohio guy) but maybe he had too much on his plate (tat-gate) to even concentrate fully on recruiting. I am sure that the person recruiting Central Ohio can look back and regret missing on Bell. I guess there will always be recruiting misses (both good and bad). All we can hope for is that the coaching staff limits the misses in the future. 

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Bucks19's picture

Benny - how do you know they didn’t???

And, tell me why we should have taken 3 RB’s  You just don’t do that unless they can play another position. 

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BennyOhio's picture

Are you asking me how I know they didn't recruit Bell? I know they didn't take a very serious look at him or really watch his film because I went to high school with him, and he plus the football coaches told me. I'm not saying they should have taken 3 RB's, I'm saying they should have brought Bell in and bounced Smith. 

BennyFootball

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stxbuck's picture

Players develop at different paces in college. Carlos Hyde didn't do much for his first 2 years on campus-I think he actually signed in 09' and then went to military school or something and resigned in 10', then had an outstanding junior and senior year. At that specific moment in time, Bell wasn't as a developed of a prospect as Hyde or Rod Smith-both of whom are cashing NFL paychecks. Bell is an outstanding back, but it is b/c of his power and versatility-something that he developed and grew into-it's not like he was flashing mega-skills in HS-he was a good prospect, not a ridiculously obvious star.

Some 20' OL from Ohio might develop into a better NFL player than Paris Johnson-that doesn't mean that Johnson isn't the more advanced  prospect at this time. Can fans always play woulda, coulda, shoulda with offers-absolutely. Do some players stay healthy and focused and develop beyond what anyone-their own coaching staff or tOSU expect-absolutely. Qunetin Rollins, from Wilmington, heart of Buckeye country, was a 2nd round pick as a DB out of Miami(OH) for the Packers a couple of years ago. He didn't get a sniff from tOSU-why-he played hoops at Miami for 4 years............

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TSUNBUCKEYE67's picture

@MarkPantoni, with all due respect, some recruits are deposited on your door step “Like a fire house baby”. 

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SouthPacificBuck's picture

I has no idea a highlight video could be so important. This interview is just full of gems Fascinating stuff. Thank you!

Keep football fun

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Buck298's picture

The interesting part is how they are able to make a determination in less than one or two minutes. I saw this at play in graduate school. I was a GTA and part of my responsibilities was to assist the graduate school selection committee with reviewing the portfolios of the new candidates. A properly done portfolio is a massive effort to showcase your capabilities and breadth of accomplishments. They takes weeks to prepare. The selection committee would take (the same) one or two minutes to review each portfolio - and sometimes less, to make the initial decision of Yes, No and Maybe. 

Send the Earth Reverberating

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stxbuck's picture

If you watch a lot of HS football, D-1/Power 5 players are actually pretty easy to spot-they stand out in their size/athleticism/speed. You can see a player pretty quick and understand why he is getting big time interest. The thing to remember is that tOSU is recruiting 10 other guys across the country just as big/fast/athletic for the position-and have a list of back up candidates in their pocket. I will say for instance, that a HS RB or LB who has offers from Illinois,Purdue,Minnesota, and MSU, but not tOSU or Georgia is still likely a REALLY good HS player, and will rightfully appear impressive on the field.

Like Pantoni alluded to, the recruitment isn't just "get the 5 guys ranked highest by the starhanderouters", but rather get the 5-or 3 or 1 (QB) best players whose family and overall outlook clicks with the staff.

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AllAboutBuckeyes's picture

Great insight into how the process works and how much detail and time goes into the process.

buckeyestrong

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analyticalguy's picture

What's the career path for someone like Pantoni? At 37 or so, he's already at the top in his particular niche (and makes more money than most "successful" people a generation ahead of him). Where does he go from here - or can Ohio State retain him merely by continuing to pay him top dollar for what he does? As critical as his job is, he makes far less than even position coaches at big time programs (and he doesn't appear to me to have the background to move into such a position). Does he move into the administrative end if things at an athletic department (which seems boring by comparison)?

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Port Richey Buckeye's picture

Does Dabo promise PEDs to all commitments or only the lazy ones?

Fuck eSECpn and fuck Mythigan.

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ScarletGray43157's picture

Podcast was a very interesting listen.  

About 33 minutes long.

11W summary definitely does it justice.

In old Ohio there's a team that's known throughout the land...

HS