Paving the Way: Ryan Day Looking to Take Control of the State of Pennsylvania Early on in His Tenure

By Andrew Ellis on May 5, 2019 at 8:30 am
Five-star wideout Julian Fleming is a priority for Brian Hartline and Ryan Day.

Five-star WR Julian Fleming

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Things could get interesting between Ryan Day and James Franklin.

Despite Urban Meyer's departure, Ohio State's 2020 recruiting class is already shaping up to have a very national feel to it. Eight commitments are currently on board with three of them coming from within the Buckeye State. The other five pledges hail from Washington, Arizona, New Jersey, and a pair from Texas (with one playing in Florida at Bradenton's IMG Academy).

The Class of 2021 has two early commitments in the fold as well with five-star Pickerington North defensive end Jack Sawyer and four-star Philadelphia quarterback Kyle McCord. The Philly signal-caller jumped on board this week and his decision could be the start of something special between the Ohio State staff and the state of Pennsylvania. 

The Buckeyes' recruiting foes are spread throughout the country with the usual suspects being local programs like Penn State, Michigan, and Notre Dame. More recently it's been Alabama, Georgia, Clemson, and Texas that have regularly butted heads with the Ohio State staff. Those battles were clearly evident with Meyer at the helm and look to be continuing under Ryan Day. 

It's not a big surprise to see the staff targeting a handful of prospects in the state of Pennsylvania as it's happened plenty of times in the past. Names like Terrelle Pryor (2008), Noah Spence (2012), and Malik Hooker (2014) all come to mind, but James Franklin has done a nice job securing the state since his arrival in Jan. of 2014. 

Between the 2020 and 2021 classes, Ohio State has four top targets in the state of Pennsylvania. One of them is now in the commitment column and the Buckeyes may be out in front for the other three as well.

Pennsylvania Pipeline in the Works?
PROSPECT CLASS HOMETOWN POS. POS. RANK NAT. RANK RATING
Julian Fleming 2020 Catawissa WR No. 1 No. 6 ★★★★★
Michael Carmody 2020 Mars OT No. 12 No. 124 ★★★★
Marvin Harrison Jr. 2021 Philadephia WR No. 6 No. 51 ★★★★
Kyle McCord 2021 Philadelphia QB No. 8 No. 113 ★★★★

If the McCord commitment does in fact turn out to be the first domino, it would be a major win to the Ohio State staff and some pretty big blows to the Nittany Lions. Quarterback recruiting tends to open the floodgates at times as wideouts and other position groups can flock toward the most important position in sports. McCord certainly may have that impact on his teammate and passing game partner. 

Marvin Harrison Jr. has gone on record saying the Buckeyes have a sizable lead in his recruitment. He's noted that he'd like to check out Clemson before making a decision, but it's clear that Ohio State is in a tremendous spot for the nation's No. 6 wideout and Pennsylvania's fourth-ranked prospect for the Class of 2021. The opportunity to continue playing with his current quarterback at St. Joseph's Prep may also be appealing.

As for some more immediate needs, there's no doubt that Julian Fleming and Michael Carmody are two of the top priority targets for the 2020 class. Ryan Day and Brian Hartline are doing everything in their power to secure the two standouts, and their efforts appear to be paying off. 

The offensive line reload is one key to the 2020 class, and Day and Greg Studrawa are off to a fantastic start with Paris Johnson, Luke Wypler, Jakob James, and Trey Leroux. All in all, the Buckeyes have the country's top tackle and center prospects in the fold along with a pair of talented in-state linemen.

Now the staff is battling Penn State and Virginia Tech for Michael Carmody; a 6-foot-6, 285-pounder who checks in as the No. 2 prospect in Pennsylvania. He's made two big trips to Columbus in the last six weeks. His crystal ball is split between the Buckeyes and Nittany Lions, but Ohio State looks like the team to beat.

Stanford recently offered and Notre Dame – where his brother plays basketball – could soon do the same. Right now it's looking like Carmody will make his intentions known this summer and could be one of the final pieces to the 2020 offensive line puzzle.

Even with a pair of wide receivers in the fold, five-star Julian Fleming could perhaps be the staff's top overall remaining target. Brian Hartline has put in all kinds of work on America's top receiver, and the constant communication and frequent FaceTiming are paying off in a big way. Ohio State is battling Clemson and Penn State right now while Georgia and Alabama also remain in the mix. 

Catawissa, Pennsylvania is about 90 minutes from State College and Fleming has made countless trips to Penn State where his girlfriend is a member of the track and field team. Still, the Nittany Lions don't look like the stiffest competition in this battle; at least not at the moment. He'll head to Georgia on May 31st for an official visit and the other trips are still in the works. 

Fleming has spoken glowingly about his relationship with Hartline. Now the Buckeyes will have to fend off Dabo Swinney and Clemson – who are recruiting better than anyone in the country – until a decision is made. Right now it's looking like that will happen sometime before the start of his senior season.

It's been a mixed bag when recruiting the state of Pennsylvania. Dating back to the Tressel era, there have been plenty of misses from the area. Two of the more noteworthy ones were of the five-star variety back in 2009. That's when Monroeville teammates Dorian Bell and Corey "Pitt" Brown signed with the Buckeyes. Guys like Terrelle Pryor, Noah Spence, Malik Hooker, and Corey "Philly" Brown obviously had much stronger showings.

We'll see how the next Pennsylvania wave turns out, but first Ryan Day and the staff have to get them to head west for the next phase of their careers. Things are certainly looking promising for the time being.

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