When Ryan Day was introduced as Ohio State’s next head coach in December 2018, there were several questions he couldn’t answer simply with words. Whether or not he’d be able to sustain the Buckeyes’ success on the recruiting trail that Urban Meyer built was a concern that Day could only address with his actions.

So far, he’s done a pretty good job showing he can live up to those high expectations.

Day has only been on the job six months, but already he’s working on a recruiting class that would rank as Ohio State’s fourth-highest rated since 2011. The Buckeyes have already secured commitments from 13 players in the 2020 cycle, with an averaged rating of .9238, according to 247Sports. That mark ranks seventh-best nationally and sits second in the B1G right now.

(Side note: recruiting rankings are constantly changing, so there’s a good chance the Buckeyes fluctuate quite a bit over the next several weeks).

Credit: Tim Heitman-USA TODAY Sports

It’s not as if Day is cherry-picking off a slew of players the committed to Meyer’s team, either. Nine of the 13 players that have verbally pledged to the Buckeyes have done so since Day was introduced as the new head coach.

Sure, a good chunk of the recruiting process on these players may have happened with Meyer in charge, but Day and his staff have done and excellent job closing the deal on some of the top priority targets of the 2020 class.

Here’s a look at the nine players who committed to Ohio State since Day took over head coaching responsibilities:

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Position Player    Stars      Rating
WR Julian Fleming     *****        .9978
CB Clark Phillips     ****        .9750
WR Gee Scott Jr.     ****        .9641
S Lejond Cavazos     ****        .9133
OT Grant Toutant     ***        .8874
SDE Ty Hamilton     ***        .8601
OT Jakob James     ***        .8594
OT Trey Leroux     ***        .8494
K Jake Selbert     ***        .8199

 

Ohio State has done some of its best work on the recruiting front over the last month. In late May, the Buckeyes were able to land a commitment from five-star wide receiver Julian Fleming, a Pennsylvania native and the No. 5 player of the 2020 class. Less than two weeks later, Day flipped three-star offensive tackle Grant Toutant from Penn State.

California cornerback Clark Phillips and Ohio kicker Jake Selbert have also pledged within the last 30 days. Oh, and if that’s not enough, top-ranked cornerback Kelee Ringo, a five-star product out of Arizona, has the Buckeyes listed in his top five.

Not a bad start for a first-time head coach following the footsteps of a legend.

That’s not all Day has done on the recruiting trail in the first half-year as head coach in Columbus. He’s also made the 2021 class a priority, and some of the best prospects are responding.

Already, Ohio State has secured commitments from high school stars entering their junior season. All four of those players rank in the top 110 overall in the 2021 class, according to 247Sports Composite rankings.

Position Player Stars   Rank
SDE Jack Sawyer   *****     No. 2
OT Ben Christman   ****     No. 44
QB Kyle McCord   ****     No. 51
WR Jayden Ballard   ****     No. 110

 

With those four players committed, Ohio State’s average rating is at a .9724. To put that in perspective, Meyer’s best class with the Buckeyes was a .9429 (2018). That class was the second-best nationally.

Obviously, that only includes four players. That average will likely decrease as more players commit over the next 18 months, but it proves that Day has been able to recruit elite-level athletes successfully.

Day didn’t step into the easiest of circumstances at Ohio State. Replacing a head coach like Meyer — a guy who was so effective as a recruiter — and taking over at a premier program isn’t an easy task. Other well-established coaches at other signature programs could have picked apart Day’s credentials, and perhaps they have. But it hasn’t swayed some of the best recruits in the country from committing to the program.

Credit: Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

That says a lot about the credibility he and his staff has already built in Columbus. Players, and families, from across the country are showing the same level of trust in Day as they did in Meyer. That’s a really good thing for the future of the program.

It’s impossible to know whether or not Day will be able to sustain the recruiting success Meyer built during his seven seasons with the Buckeyes. There are still plenty of challenges ahead with the 2020 and 2021 classes — mostly ensuring that players stay committed and don’t flip to potential poaching programs. We’ve already learned quite a bit about Day as a recruiter in the first six months, but we’ll learn even more over the next six months.

The recruiting question was one that Day couldn’t answer at his introductory press conference in December. So far, the first-year head coach is letting the actions speak for him.