Brian Hartline Is Becoming the Super Assistant That Ryan Day Needs Entering This Season

By David Wertheim on June 1, 2019 at 8:45 am
Brian Hartline

Well, no matter what they may say, the head coach cannot do it all.

In the entire history of college football, the best head coaches have always needed great assistants by their side throughout championship runs. Just look no further than Urban Meyer. During his time at Florida, his championship teams were anchored by Dan Mullen and Charlie Strong. When Meyer arrived at Ohio State, Luke Fickell and Tom Herman helped the Buckeyes win the 2014 championship.

Looking ahead to Ryan Day's tenure at Ohio State, he needs elite assistants as well. He poached Greg Mattison from Michigan. Mattison has a great track record that included serving under Meyer at Florida for the 2006 championship team. Day also nabbed Jeff Hafley, who is regarded in the industry as an up-and-comer that may not be in Columbus for too long. Larry Johnson is one of the best at his craft, as well.

Losing Zach Smith a year ago due to the circumstances which have been discussed at length over and over and don't need to be said again led to the promotion of Brian Hartline from a quality control role to an on-the-field full-time wide receivers coach and it was a move that has led to spectacular things already.

Let's start in the recruiting room. Hartline has landed elite prospects already. The Buckeyes were able to sign five-star Garrett Wilson in the 2019 class, and landed five-star Julian Fleming yesterday, to go along with a smattering of four-stars and other elite prospects. 

In Taylor's piece yesterday, he discussed the impact Hartline had on Fleming coming to Ohio State.

Fleming’s commitment was a Brian Hartline achievement. The Pennsylvania wideout developed a relationship with Hartline since November, and after that visit, the relationship crescendoed through March, when he was in Columbus for the Student Appreciation Day visit, and into an early ending to his recruitment Friday. Hartline made it happen.

Even after landing a five-star, Hartline hasn't stopped. He was in St. Louis yesterday to see four-star Mookie Cooper, a slot guy who Ohio State has ramped up its pursuit of recently. After landing St. Louis wide receivers in back-to-back classes (Kamryn Babb in 2018 and Jameson Williams in 2019), you have to figure there is a good shot to land Cooper, as well.

Victories on the recruiting trail are great and all, but they have to be backed up with on the field success, and that is what Hartline had last year, as well. 

Entering their senior seasons, it was relatively unknown what Parris Campbell, Johnnie Dixon, and especially Terry McLaurin would do for their final act as Buckeyes. The trio responded with career years, led by Campbell, who ended with 1,063 yards and 12 touchdowns en route to being drafted in the second round by the Indianapolis Colts. McLaurin was chosen in the third round after a 701-yard, 11 touchdown campaign, and Dixon signed a UDFA deal with the Houston Texans.

Realizing the on-the-field impact that Hartline has had in just a short amount of time is pretty easy to do. While Smith did an excellent job on the recruiting trail, his efforts did not always lead to success once the players reached the field. With Hartline, however, it is clear that they are. Look no further than Chris Olave. The San Diego star came in with relatively little hype after being just a three-star for most of his high school career. He then works hard during the season, gets put on the field, and catches two touchdowns in the Michigan game. 

It is huge for a head coach to be able to delegate units to his assistants and have 100% complete faith that everything that needs to be done is getting done at an elite level. That is exactly what Brian Hartline is doing, and it is absolutely crucial that he maintains it in order to help Ryan Day in his first season as the head man.

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