The Hurry-Up: Ryan Day and Mark Pantoni Navigating “Confusing” Process of NCAA’s Extra Year of Eligibility Rule, Ohio State Makes It Clear Benji Gosnell is No. 1 Tight End Target

By Zack Carpenter on October 7, 2020 at 6:30 pm
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.

Day navigating “confusing” process of NCAA’s extra year of eligibility

Every year, the mentality and approach for Ohio State when it comes to staying at the 85-man scholarship limit is pretty relaxed. Whether it’s players declaring early for the NFL draft, players transferring, injuries forcing retirement or other factors, getting to that 85-man number never seems to wind up being much of a problem for the Buckeyes.

In February, Ryan Day said, “These things always tend to work themselves out,” but he admitted that it’s still “a tricky thing.”

This past Friday, Day reiterated that stance once again, this time using the word “confusing” as he was talking about an entirely new situation when it comes to staying at that 85-man number. 

In August, the NCAA Division I Council announced a blanket waiver that grants all fall athletes an extra year of eligibility, regardless of whether or not they play during the 2020 season, and seniors on this year’s team will not count towards next year’s scholarship limit if they decide to return for another year in 2021.

“There’s a process. It’s a long process,” Day said. “It’s very confusing metrics that, boy, it took me about three hours to sit down with Mark Pantoni and figure it all out. It’s kind of a plus-one based on seniors and years of eligibility. It’s confusing. It’s not easy. But I don’t see us being over 85, even next fall as I project it all out. With guys leaving to go to the NFL, guys graduating; different things. I still project it at 85 for us. But we’ll see. It’s gonna have to be something we continually talk about and work through.”

In the end, Ohio State is going to be fine, numbers-wise. As always, these things really do work themselves out. It just remains to be seen how exactly it will work out and if the Buckeyes really will stay at 85 next year like Day believes. It’s also going to be interesting to see how it affects Ohio State’s 2022 recruiting class and beyond.

Combined with the extended dead period with players not being able to make visits to see the facilities, I don’t think we’ll see the Buckeyes’ 2022 class take off in terms of seeing a lot of commitments until at least January or February. Not saying we won’t see more commitments in the 2022 cycle; I just don’t think there will be a lot of them. Of course, Ohio State only had seven commits by the end of December last year, so it’s not like it would be a negative or a surprise if they have around that same number of commits by the end of this coming December.

Gosnell the No. 1 TE target

Speaking of potential 2022 commitments, at least one player who I won’t be surprised to see make a decision before the end of the year is East Surry (North Carolina) four-star tight end Benji Gosnell. It’s been my feeling since August that Gosnell will wind up being the second tight end Ohio State lands in 2022, and that stance hasn’t changed.

In an interview Gosnell did with Nathan Atkins of Sports Illustrated’s Irish Breakdown, he talked about the Buckeyes and about his recruitment.

“I talked to Coach (Kevin) Wilson today, and I think I’ll be talking to (Ryan Day) later today,” Gosnell told Atkins this week. “They told me I’m the No. 1 tight end target for the program and one of the class’s top targets.”

Gosnell has a top three of Ohio State, North Carolina and Florida – two cold-weather states and one warm-weather state. For a person like Gosnell, playing in the cold that Ohio and North Carolina experience each year won’t be an issue.

“I love the cold, though,” Gosnell said. “One of the things I'm looking forward to about our football season starting February 6th is that we'll get to play in the cold and maybe a little snow.”

If you’d like to get to know a player who the Buckeyes have a great shot at bringing into their program a little bit more, here are a couple snippets from Gosnell's interview with Irish Breakdown:

IB: Obviously, North Carolina has Mack Brown, a coach with a championship pedigree, and they're right in your backyard. Do you feel any extra pressure if you decided to go to UNC over another school? 

Gosnell: “No. My last name is pretty common around North Carolina; in my family, I'm one of 13. My oldest brother is 34, and I'm the second youngest at 17. So I wouldn't expect to go there and have people recognize me by my last name. 

“I think there's more pressure in leaving the state than staying in-state. Typically, when guys go out of the state, it's to better themselves or take on a better opportunity, so I think that's tougher.”

IB: 13 kids! What's Thanksgiving like around the house? Given how big you are, are you able to sit at the adult table, or are still at the kid's table? 

Gosnell: “I tend to sit with my older brothers. They're both brilliant, so my IQ goes up by sitting around them. They were good at football too, but there wasn't Hudl or anything like that when they played, so they went into the Marine Corps.”

IB: When you're not running track or playing baseball, what do you do for fun? 

Gosnell: “Can I say training for other sports? I've gotten into long-distance running: nothing too crazy, but about three-six miles. I'm also big into visualization and understanding how our brains work.”

IB: How did you get into visualization? What type of stuff do you do, and do you use it before the game? 

Gosnell: “I got into it through [former Navy Seal] David Goggins. He was a speaker on the Joe Rogan Experience podcast and talked about it. I take time to visualize and remind myself of the work I put in to get here, think about my future and where I want to go in my life, and I talk to myself and do self-affirmations.”

IB: Who's a guy in the NFL or college that you model your game after? 

Gosnell: “I wouldn't say I model my game after anyone, but my favorite player to watch is George Kittle. He can do it all. He's a physical blocker, fast, has excellent route running technique, and he's smart.”

Burton breaks down top 12

Five-star receiver Caleb Burton is the No. 10 overall player in the 2022 class and is the Buckeyes’ top receiver target on their board.

On Tuesday night, Burton released a top 12 that includes Ohio State and its three biggest recruiting rivals in Clemson, Alabama and Oklahoma. Burton broke down his top 12 with 247Sports’ Steve Wiltfong:

“Texas, Stanford, Ohio State, Clemson and Oklahoma are who I’m most familiar with,” Burton said. “I’d say they’ve been recruiting me the hardest. A lot of FaceTime calls and they’ll walk around the campus and drive around campus on a golf cart and show me where different halls are at and where the students stay. It’s really talking every week and building a strong relationship.”

Burton says he had planned to visit Ohio State before the dead period was extended, but even though he hasn’t visited yet he says his relationships have been growing stronger with the Buckeye staff:

Ohio State: “Obviously the relationship me and Coach Hartline and Coach Day have and their wide receiver room is always ridiculous,and it’s nice to have a ex-NFL wide receiver coaching you and looking at what he’s done he’s sent a lot of players to the league.”

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