Comparing Urban Meyer and Ryan Day's First Month on the Recruiting Trail As Head Coach at Ohio State

By David Regimbal on February 4, 2019 at 2:45 pm
Ryan Day
Eleven Warriors

Ohio State hired Ryan Day to be its 25th head football coach despite a number of remarkable unknowns.

The 39-year-old filled in admirably during Urban Meyer's three-game suspension to start the 2018 season, but there's a big difference between running a program and providing a bridge gap for the person who's really in charge.

There are questions Day needs to answer as he moves forward. Can he run a successful offseason, from winter conditioning to fall camp? Can he manage a room full of coaches and get them to share his vision? Can he motivate a group of teenagers and 20-somethings the way his predecessor did with ease?

And most importantly, can he recruit?

That's the big one. Recruiting is the lifeblood of a football program, and if you look back at the last 15 national title winners, they all paved their way to a championship by securing elite talent.

Meyer built a championship contender in Columbus by elevating Ohio State's recruiting to a level it had never seen before. He hit the ground running as well, securing a number of high-profile commits in his first month on the job. 

With Day's first month at Ohio State officially in the books, let's take a look at how he stacks up with Meyer on the recruiting trail.

Urban Meyer's First Month

The news of Meyer's hire at Ohio State had an enormous impact on Ohio State's 2012 recruiting class. For most of that year, interim head coach Luke Fickell and the rest of the staff had a hard time locking down big-time prospects because of the uncertainty surrounding the program. 

Meyer changed that quickly. During his first month in Columbus, he prioritized beefing up Ohio State's defensive line with blue-chippers. First, he secured a commitment from 5-star defensive end Adolphus Washington. Less than three weeks later, he got pledges from 4-star linemen Tommy Schutt and Se'Von Pittman (who ranked 83rd and 89th nationally) on the same day.

But Meyer claimed the crown jewel of Ohio State's 2012 class a week later when 5-star Noah Spence, the nation's top-rated defensive end and No. 5 prospect nationally, committed to play for the Buckeyes.

That haul gave Meyer the momentum he needed to sign the country's No. 5-ranked recruiting class in the country.

Ryan Day's First Month

Day took over the Buckeyes football program under similar circumstances as his predecessor. Throughout most of the 2018 recruiting cycle, Ohio State was unable to build its usual recruiting momentum because of the uncertainty of the coaching situation.

Day had to work hard to keep the commits Ohio State already had on board, and despite a few deflections, he was able to reaffirm the pledges of a pair of 5-stars in wide receiver Garrett Wilson and offensive lineman Harry Miller. 

The fireworks didn't stop there as Day worked the transfer portal to bring in former 5-star quarterback Justin Fields from Georgia. Fields was the No. 2 overall prospect in the '18 class and the top-rated dual-threat quarterback.

To complement Fields, Day won the recruiting battle of his early career by securing the pledge of 5-star defensive end Zach Harrison, who was considering offers from Ohio State's top rivals in Michigan and Penn State. 

Day kept his foot on the gas with additional commitments for future class. The 2020 class got a boost from 3-star offensive tackle Jakob James (who boasts an offer list that suggests he's woefully underrated), and the 2021 group got its leader with the addition of 5-star defensive end Jack Sawyer, who ranks No. 3 nationally among high school sophomores. 

Both Meyer and Day got off to tremendously fast starts on the recruiting trail for Ohio State, and if the past is any indication, the Buckeyes look to be in good hands moving forward.

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