The Hurry Up: Ryan Day Discusses Evaluation on Recruiting Trail, CJ Stroud Continues to Soar

By Taylor Lehman on August 14, 2019 at 6:30 pm
Ryan Day
Ryan Day

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.

Ryan Day on Evaluation During Recruiting

The media was allowed into Ohio State’s practice Wednesday morning, and following practice, Ryan Day and Greg Mattison spoke at the podium. Day was asked about how he tells his staff to approach the recruiting trail in terms of being present with top prospects in the country but also finding talent that hasn’t been found by recruiting sites or other coaching staffs yet.

“You ask a lot of questions," Day said. "You talk to high school coaches, ‘Who are the best kids in the area?’ You talk to people, especially the people you trust. In recruiting, there are a lot of different skills. There’s communication, there’s the connection that you make. But there’s also evaluation, and I think evaluating is very critical nowadays.”

Most college recruiters will say the same thing Day expressed about evaluation Wednesday. They will tell their coaches to trust what they see, ask questions of coaches in the area and make relationships with well-respected sources.

Evaluation has already been key to the Ryan Day Era of recruiting. Just looking at the commitments this summer, 2021 wideout Jayden Ballard is a Buckeye now because Brian Hartline knew who to respect and had good relationships with people around the Massillon-Canton area. Ballard, who is known for being reserved, was only a name known locally when Hartline began recruiting him. Jeff Hafley did the same with Cody Simon when he first got the job in January. At that point, Simon wasn’t inside the top-300 yet.

Hafley has also made his way to California, where he has more connections and has already offered four California defensive backs before any ratings were released on the 2021 class. Coaching staffs like Ohio State’s rarely run on websites to guide them in recruiting.

This conversation Wednesday brings to the forefront the conversation many fans have been engaged in, about bringing in three-star prospects in the 2020 class. I laid out three-star prospects currently on the Ohio State roster that could make a difference in 2019, and it’s clear to see that even under Urban Meyer, he was telling his staff to use its best judgement and do its own evaluation. All the top programs do.

So when looking at prospects like Cam Martinez, Grant Toutant, Mitchell Melton and Ty Hamilton, there is deep evaluation that is done on each prospect, and so far, Day’s staff feels confident in the majority of the commits it has on the list already.

CJ Stroud Continues to Rise

California quarterback CJ Stroud has seen his recruitment skyrocket since the beginning of the summer. At the beginning of June, he jumped 435 spots in the overall composite ratings, and then after The Elite 11 Finals, he cleared 292 more spots. He’s now rated No. 251 overall and is the No. 12 pro-style quarterback in the country.

In Frisco, former NFL quarterback Trent Dilfer took particular interest in Stroud, and as word got around, Ryan Day reached out to him. He is expected to make a visit to Ohio State.

While he is a good quarterback prospect and Ohio State will likely add a second quarterback in the 2020 class, it’s tough to believe that Stroud-to-Ohio State will happen. 

Stroud has made it known that his dream school is Oregon, and he announced on Twitter this week that, in addition to an offer from San Diego State, he received an offer from Oregon. But Oregon also already has the No. 2 dual-threat quarterback in the country committed, and that’s the problem that Stroud is running into since his recruitment has blown up. 

If Ohio State were to bring in Stroud, it wouldn’t be for very long. He won’t spend his career as a backup, like he would if he played behind Jack Miller.

So laying out where he could go in an effort to not transfer after a year or two could be difficult. Out of the schools that lead for him, Baylor has three four-star quarterbacks in their freshman years of scholarships and Washington State is loaded with young quarterbacks as well. California and Utah, particularly Utah, could be landing spots for Stroud if he wants early playing time.

But the odds of Stroud landing across the country in Ohio State to most likely transfer to another program after a year or two doesn’t seem like an option he would want to take at this point. And for Ohio State, landing a commitment from a quarterback that could be a mainstay behind Miller and maybe Kyle McCord would be ideal. But as we’ve seen, quarterback is a position with plenty of turnover at the college level now.

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