Chris Holtmann Getting Positive Vibe on Recruiting Trail With Early Program Success

By James Grega on January 29, 2018 at 10:10 am
Chris Holtmann

The job Chris Holtmann has done for Ohio State this season is nothing short of impressive. 

Picked to finish outside the top-10 in the conference, Holtmann has the Buckeyes in position to compete for a Big Ten championship with just eight league games left to play. 

It took more than an upset win over the No. 1 team in the country to get Ohio State back into the Associated Press Top 25 for the first time since 2015, but after winning their first nine conference games, the Buckeyes soared to No. 13 in the country before dropping their first game in over a month to Penn State on Thursday night. 

The polls have found Holtmann's team, and many project the first-year OSU coach as a leading candidate for multiple coach of the year awards.

The earlier-than-expected success has also made an impact on the recruiting trail.

Holtmann said prior to Ohio State's game against Penn State that he has felt a more positive vibe from recruits and high school programs in recent weeks, as the wins have piled up.

"I think we have noticed some positive energy and good feeling, whether that has been a text from high school coaches or communication with high school coaches of young men we're recruiting," Holtmann said Wednesday. "Anytime you are new to a program or new to an area, there is always a wait-and-see approach."

It hasn't taken long for Ohio State's coaching staff to build for immediate success in the future. While the Buckeyes are set to lose Jae'Sean Tate, Kam Williams, Andrew Dakich and in all likelihood Keita Bates-Diop for next season, Holtmann and his staff have set themselves up well for 2018-19. 

The Buckeyes currently hold the No. 22 overall recruiting class in the country according to 247Sports, with four players signed, including two top-100 players in Luther Muhammad and Jaedon LeDee. Holtmann has said Ohio State could still add a fifth in the 2018 class, whether it be a high school prospect or a graduate transfer. 

With the 2018 class just about sewn up, Holtmann has been hard at work recruiting the 2019 class. The Buckeye head coach spent his Sunday night in Cleveland, watching Garfield Heights drop a 50-44 contest to Kennedy Catholic (Pa.). More importantly, Holtmann was there to watch Garfield Heights product and Ohio's top prospect, Alonzo Gaffney, who is the No. 18 overall player in the 2019 class according to 247Sports.

As he said in his introductory press conference, recruiting the state of Ohio will be critical for Holtmann as he continues rebuilding a program that has missed out on a number of in-state targets who have had success elsewhere. 

While he doesn't believe that simply winning games is enough to pull in recruits, Holtmann acknowledged that Ohio State's early success has made a positive impact on the recruiting trail. 

"Certainly it's been good to have a good start, and that can certainly help recruiting," Holtmann said. "It doesn't get you a recruit, but if we were 0-9 (in conference), it would hurt recruiting. We feel good about that."

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