Justin Frye Considers It “Important” for Ohio State to Recruit Locally When Possible While Evaluating Prospects Daily

By Garrick Hodge on May 9, 2022 at 10:10 am
Justin Frye

What do college football recruiting and oral hygiene have in common?

If you thought about it on a surface level, probably not much. Nevertheless, new Ohio State offensive line coach Justin Frye somehow likened the two when meeting with reporters on Friday.

“Recruiting is like brushing your teeth, you have to get up and do it every day,” Frye said.  

Since his hiring at Ohio State in January, Frye has been heavily involved in the Buckeyes’ recruiting efforts, and has landed two offensive line commitments in his first few months on the job: four-star Ohio offensive tackle Luke Montgomery and four-star Ohio interior lineman Austin Siereveld. Pair those two with four-star interior lineman Joshua Padilla, who committed last fall when Frye’s predecessor Greg Studrawa was coaching OSU’s offensive linemen, and the Buckeyes have landed the top three offensive linemen in the state based on 247Sports’ rankings.

Frye has left a favorable impression on all three OSU commitments, most notably Siereveld, who just committed to the Buckeyes on Wednesday. 

“He was the only coach that told me he wanted to coach me,” Siereveld told reporters Wednesday. “It means to me that he really wants to coach me up and teach me everything about the game.” 

Recruiting high-caliber in-state players has always been a priority for Ohio State since Ryan Day took over the Buckeyes. Since the spring evaluation period began in early April, Frye has primarily focused on visiting in-state schools and building relationships with prep schools, even if there isn’t necessarily an athlete in the current cycle capable of playing at Ohio State. 

“You have to continually look at these guys,” Frye said. “You know, covering Ohio, I'm going to hit every school in my area in Ohio these last couple of weeks (before the spring evaluation period concludes at the end of May). That's important for us and coach Day to do that. I mean, you got to recruit your area and then you got to work from the inside out. It's kind of how we've done it here.

“We're getting all the schools and we're making sure we get to a place. I went to a handful of schools in my area where the coach was like, ‘Coach, this is great. Thanks for coming out. We don't have anybody at your caliber but we appreciate you coming by.’ I think you have to continue to do that no matter where you're at in your home state. So if there are years that pop up where you have multiple Ohio State-caliber players there, then that's not the first time in three years you've seen those guys.”

While recruiting locally is a priority, OSU is still searching for the highest-caliber offensive linemen in the country, and won’t hesitate to pursue premier talent out of state, too. 

“If it's fortunate enough where we don’t have to get on planes, trains and automobiles to get those guys, that's great,” Frye said. “If it’s a year where we can’t (stay local), we’re going to get the best players to play here.” 

But so far, so good in terms of recruiting high-caliber local talent for Frye. With a couple recruiting victories under his belt, Frye joked that perhaps just once, he and OSU could take a day off or two on the recruiting trail. 

“That’s why I’m here, my sweat suit and feet up on the table,” Frye said tongue-in-cheek Friday to reporters after being asked about the three in-state commitments, though NCAA rules forbid him from commenting on specific players until they have signed their National Letters of Intent.

But in reality, despite how much momentum the program may or may not have, Frye said there are no off days in recruiting. If the Buckeyes aren’t working on offensive linemen in the current cycle, they’re evaluating prospects for the 2024 or 2025 classes. 

“It never stops,” Frye said. “You're looking at guys that are in this class with 2023 to finish that, you’re looking at guys in 2024, you’re evaluating 2025, you’re trying to get kids to camp, you’re trying to go out and see kids again. The biggest thing about linemen is you can see a kid in the fall that maybe he was 240 and now you go back and see him in the spring and he's 280. That's natural maturation. So all of a sudden, that guy becomes a guy, he gets on the radar, so you can never stop recruiting.”

After spending a few days in Columbus, Frye said he will be back on the road recruiting this week. And while Padilla, Montgomery and Siereveld could eventually be impact players at the collegiate level, OSU’s offensive line recruiting for the current cycle is far from over. The Buckeyes are in need of either one or two more true offensive tackle prospects, which will be priority No. 1 for Frye over the next two months. 

Olaus Alinen has scheduled an official visit to Ohio State for late June and Ian Reed recently visited Columbus for the spring game, but other high-priority targets Chase Bisontis and Samson Okunlola did not visit this spring and have not scheduled official visits. Four-star Monroe Freeling recently put Ohio State on his top seven schools list, but the South Carolina prospect has also not visited Columbus nor scheduled an official visit as of yet.

Frye couldn’t tell the media which prospects he will visit over the next few weeks. But he already knows what his message will be to any player on the recruiting trail. 

“I mean, you just got to tell these guys how you're going to develop them,” Frye said. “Tell them about this place. I mean, you really don't sell kids in recruiting. You give them this information, if you're a high-caliber kid that wants to play at the top level compete for national championships and conference championships, that's what this place is. 

“And then, how can we get you there based off how we feed them, how we train and how we coach them. So, you just kind of try to pepper him with all the different information they can have so that they feel good about it. Then along the way, you build a really good relationship with them and find out their likes, their dislikes, what buttons to push with the kid, what drives them, those types of things.”

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