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.
Negative recruiting effects if SEC, ACC, Big 12 play fall seasons
There is some momentum that the three main non-Big Ten conferences Ohio State competes with for recruits (the SEC with Alabama, Georgia and LSU; the ACC with Clemson; the Big 12 with Oklahoma) might move forward with a 2020 fall season. It’s hard to dive too far into that idea because, as Yahoo Sports’ Pete Thamel pointed out, “There’s an exponentially better chance of the remaining three major conferences joining the Big Ten on the sideline than there is in those leagues finishing the season.”
But it still needs to at least be discussed. If those leagues do hold a season – even a partial one – then Ohio State will be put at a disadvantage with those programs being able to use it as a major recruiting tool. And if a very much unforeseen lifting of the dead period occurs (at this point, it would be nonsensical to assume anything but the dead period continuing through the rest of the fall and no visits being allowed) then Ohio State’s disadvantage only continues.
If the ACC, SEC and Big 12 go forward with games, it won’t be a devastating setback that is going to tear up Ohio State’s recruiting classes and leave the program crumbling. That’s hyperbole. But it would be a setback nonetheless – probably a short-term setback but one that is absolutely going to be used as a negative recruiting tool against the Buckeyes. I’ve spoken with a couple Ohio State commits who have been contacted by programs in those conferences to gauge interest in a flip. So far, those schools’ interest has not been reciprocated by the Buckeye commits.
Ohio State will still be on the same level as all other Big Ten programs, but as we have hammered home so often, the program’s biggest recruiting rivals are Clemson and Alabama. Those are the two main schools Ohio State compares itself to in the national landscape. If those two programs are playing this fall and Ohio State isn’t, then Day, Mark Pantoni and the rest of the operation would have to pull off a great sell job to ensure it doesn’t affect how prospects compare the three schools.
We already saw Day make his first huge recruiting pitch in that area in a press conference on Wednesday, saying that he is going to fight to get early enrollees immediate eligibility to play in the spring for Ohio State. He is also looking to get those early enrollees the right to play in the fall of 2021 while exhausting only one year of eligibility.
Whether all of that is actually feasible remains to be seen. It’s unlikely, but at this point that’s the best pitch Day can make so he used his platform wisely.
Dead period extended
Completely expected but just to hit on briefly – the NCAA’s recruiting dead period was extended through Sept. 30 this week, so there will be no visits to any programs nationwide.
As alluded to above, it certainly feels that any optimism of seeing the dead period lifted any time soon is no longer there.
On Tuesday, I wrote about the impact a canceled season has with game day visits in Ohio Stadium being officially wiped out.
As you can see from just that small set of anecdotes from our story on Tuesday, game days are a crucial part of their recruiting strategy, right up there with building genuine relationships and putting players into the NFL. Those latter two factors are easily the biggest for Ohio State recruits – they want to get developed into multimillionaire pros, and they want a coach they trust to get them there – but game days don’t lag too far behind.
But still … even if there were visits allowed in some capacity, it would help Ohio State’s recruiting pitch. Of course, the opposite argument could be made that if the dead period is lifted and those recruiting rivals mentioned above are playing in the fall, that it would hurt Ohio State in recruiting.
Probably a moot point, anyway, as I still don’t see the dead period being lifted this fall.
Decision coming on Tuesday for Ohio football
It will be an incredibly frustrating and odd juxtaposition if Ohio State isn’t playing football this fall but high school football is still played in the state.
Looks like we will find out Tuesday what the plan is in Ohio, as Gov. Mike DeWine said in a press conference on Thursday that he and Lt. Gov. Jon Husted will be taking the weekend to finalize plans for fall sports.
“I can tell you this much, the decision will be made by parents and by schools and will restrict the number of fans,” DeWine said in the press conference. “We want the athletes to compete, but as safely as possible. We’ll be working with the Ohio High School (Athletic Association) and coaches over the weekend and we’ll get more into that Tuesday.”