There aren't a whole lot of negative things to say about Ryan Day thus far. The transition into his new role has gone rather swimmingly and early returns are extremely positive.
The Buckeyes landed five-star defensive end Zach Harrison during the early signing period, added a big-time 2020 wideout on Christmas Day, and the Justin Fields transfer gives Day the most heralded quarterback we've ever seen in Columbus. Pretty solid start to a new coaching regime, right?
Jordan Battle's flip to Alabama was unfortunate and while that has left the Buckeyes with a need in the secondary, the most pressing issue continues to be along the offensive line.
With Urban Meyer at the helm, Ohio State was known for its tireless efforts on the recruiting trail. Larry Johnson, Greg Schiano, Brian Hartline, and Ryan Day all have been a major part of plenty recruiting victories. And while the offensive line has mostly performed well as a unit, some of the misses on the trail have really come back to hurt the Buckeyes.
From in-state prospects signing elsewhere to waiting too long to extend offers, this is without question an area of improvement for Day and Greg Studrawa. Right now Ohio State has signed just two linemen for the 2019 class; a class that we initially projected to number as high as five or six at the position. Harry Miller and Ryan Jacoby are terrific prospects, but it's simply not enough for a position with such glaring needs.
Back in August of 2017, Huntington, West Virginia's Doug Nester became the first commitment for Ohio State's 2019 recruiting class. At the time, the 6-foot-6, 314-pounder was rated as one of the country's top offensive tackles. The No. 92 overall prospect in America, Nester is currently projected by most to play guard, but he's a guy who could probably man one of the tackle spots if need be.
The coaching shakeup in Columbus has put some doubts into Nester's recruitment as he's changed his plans and will now wait until February to sign. That's not the best piece of news for Day and Co., but this still feels like one that the Buckeyes can win. And considering the issues along the offensive line, it may be a recruitment that the staff has to win.
Penn State, Georgia, and Virginia Tech are all in the picture here as Nester looks to make his choice official on Feb. 6th. It had looked like Ohio State perhaps had the chance to seal this one up when he made his official visit to Columbus before the early signing period, but that trip wasn't enough to convince the coveted lineman to put an end to his recruitment.
Since that time, Nester has made another trip to Penn State and is scheduled to be in Athens next weekend for an official. He's then expected to get back to Happy Valley once again for an official and then hit up Blacksburg as well. Most of the chatter has revolved around the Nittany Lions and Bulldogs, but Virginia Tech was was actually his No. 2 choice back when he committed to the Buckeyes.
Things can be a bit scary anytime Georgia is involved in a recruitment. Lately it's seemed as though Kirby Smart has been getting just about everyone that he wants. Dwan Mathis flipped to the Bulldogs during the early signing period despite having limited contact with the staff leading up to the flip. I'd say the Buckeyes came out on top with the recent quarterback trade, however.
Despite Studrawa's shortcomings on the trail, it's looking like Ohio State's offensive line coach will be sticking around. This week's coaching convention is expected to bring plenty of news, but Ryan Day's focus should primarily be on the defensive side of the ball. Nester has cited his relationship with Studrawa – and the rest of the 2019 Buckeye signees – as a big part of his decision-making process.
This past week he had the opportunity to get together with the five Ohio State signees who were in San Antonio for the All-American Bowl. One has to imagine that Garrett Wilson, Harry Miller, and the others were in his ear about his upcoming college choice, though the Buckeye pledge was roommates with four-star Georgia signee Xavier Truss.
Doug Nester has been an Ohio State commit for 17 months now. For Ryan Day and Greg Studrawa, these next few weeks will be crucial as they look to keep things on track for him to end up in Columbus and help to reload an offensive line that needs some depth for 2019 and beyond.