The Hurry Up: Analyzing the Impact of Greg Schiano's Potential Departure

By Andrew Lind on November 26, 2017 at 6:50 pm
Josh Proctor, Jaiden Woodbey and Greg Schiano
Josh Proctor, Jaiden Woodbey and Greg Schiano

The Hurry Up is your nightly dose of updates from the Ohio State football recruiting trail, keeping tabs on the latest from commits and targets from around the country.


A little less than one year ago, then-Ohio State defensive coordinator and linebackers coach Luke Fickell took the job as head coach at Cincinnati.

If reports this afternoon indicating current defensive coordinator Greg Schiano will be named to the same position at Tennessee are true, the Buckeyes will find themselves in a familiar situation just a few weeks before college football's first Early Signing Period.

Last year, Fickell and then-offensive coordinator and quarterbacks coach Tim Beck — who eventually made a lateral move to Texas — were leading Ohio State's pursuit of five-star linebacker Baron Browning when the former's name was first floated as a potential replacement for Tommy Tuberville down in the Queen City.

“[Fickell] was honest with me,” Browning said this spring, recalling an in-home visit last December, just days before his college decision. “We talked about it, so it wasn't that big of a deal at the time. It wasn't like he kept me out of the loop.”

With the uncertainty surrounding Fickell and the transition that would follow at Ohio State, most believed Browning would end up at Alabama. But a past experience with a similar situation helped him understand the situation a little more clearly.

“It just kind of reminded me about my high school situation, because freshman year of high school, I had one defensive coordinator, and after my freshman year, he left. I had another guy come in,” Browning said. “I couldn't be mad about it. I just had to adjust. It was the same here.”

Through it all, the constant was head coach Urban Meyer. He will always play a massive role in any player's decision to come to Columbus, and recruits trust that he'll put them and the program in the best position possible. That includes hiring the best coaches.

“The university is still going to be the university,” Browning said. “It's not going to change.”

So here we are, on the verge of Ohio State losing another coach — not because he was let go, but because a opportunity to better his career presented itself. That's important to remember, because recruits want to be immersed in a culture in which success breeds success.

However, it's equally as important to understand recruiting is about relationships, too. If a prospect chooses a program based upon his relationship with a position coach or coordinator, it might be hard to hold onto their pledge once they move on.

Jayson Oweh, Greg Schiano and Urban Meyer
Jayson Oweh, Greg Schiano and Urban Meyer at a one-day camp on Ohio State's campus this summer.

Schiano, for one, played an instrumental role in Ohio State landing a commitment from Oklahoma four-star safety Josh Proctor. If he were to leave, there's no doubt the home-state Sooners — long believed to be the favorite in his recruitment in the first place — would push even harder for a flip.

Same goes for safety commit Jaiden Woodbey or defensive end target Jayson Oweh, who formed a strong bond relationship with Schiano as the coach scoured New Jersey looking for talent.

Would they be successful? It all depends upon how much stock Proctor put into his relationship with Schiano, or how transparent the latter has been throughout the process when it comes to him possibly taking a job elsewhere.

After all, Meyer only requires his assistants to stay in Columbus for two years. So whether it's Fickell going to Cincinnati, Beck to Texas, Chris Ash to Rutgers or Schiano to Tennessee, you'd imagine — and hope — there have been plenty of conversations among the parties involved about the situation.

“The great thing that Tim did and Luke did,” director of player personnel Mark Pantonio said this spring. “They were always very up front and honest with these kids and their families. There was no deception, no hiding. When they knew they were going to be leaving, they were very up front with the families.”

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