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For Ohio State, it’s business as usual in defensive back recruiting

Matt Barnes-Ohio State-Buckeyes-Ohio State football
Matt Barnes has been more involved with a few recruits that Jeff Hafley was recruiting for Ohio State. (Birm/Lettermen Row)

Recruiting Question of the Day

For Ohio State, it’s business as usual in defensive back recruiting

Have a question about Ohio State recruiting? This is the place for you, five days a week. Submit your questions on Twitter or on the Lettermen Row forums. Check-in daily to see what’s on the mind of Buckeyes fans all over the country. Thursday, we’re taking a look at how Ohio State is handling its defensive back recruiting while Jeff Hafley’s replacement remains unnamed.

Ohio State Recruiting Question of the Day

It’s not easy to replace a dynamic and successful recruiter. But Ohio State has been tasked with doing just that following the departure of Jeff Hafley a little under a month ago.

Hafley helped the Buckeyes land the Big Ten’s best 2020 recruiting class in his one year in Columbus, serving as the lead recruiter for Kourt Williams, Cody Simon, Lathan Ransom, Ryan Watts, Cameron Martinez and helping with others. He was also the point man with Clark Phillips, who left the Ohio State class after Hafley took the Boston College job.

Put simply: There’s no doubt that with Hafley leaving, the Buckeyes lost a valuable piece of their recruiting machine.

But at the risk of stealing a cliche from Ohio State, there’s no time for lamenting the loss. In Columbus, it’s always going to be Next Man Up. Right now, though, as the holding pattern for Hafley’s replacement remains in effect, the next man up isn’t really just one man.

It’s Ryan Day. It’s Al Washington. It’s Matt Barnes. It’s Larry Johnson. It’s Mark Pantoni and the entirety of the Buckeyes recruiting department.

Kerry Coombs-Ohio State-Buckeyes-Ohio State football

If Kerry Coombs takes over, he’ll need other Ohio State coaches to help jumpstart important relationships. (Birm/Lettermen Row)

And the really interesting part of this approach? It’s not new. That’s how Ohio State has run it’s recruiting efforts for the last handful of years, and it’s a plan designed exactly for this reason. When teams lose a big-time assistant coach, it’s hard to replace him with one guy, no matter how dynamic that one guy is.

That’s why from the minute that the Buckeyes identify a prospect as worthy of recruiting, he’s recruited by Ohio State in its entirety — and not only by one coach. Martinez had developed a real bond with Hafley, sure. But he was also heavily recruited by Day and Brian Hartline.

Hartline gets most of the credit for Julian Fleming and the incredible group of receivers that Ohio State signed in 2020. But Day’s involvement from the beginning helped cultivate a relationship with the entire staff in Columbus, and that goes a long way with kids and their families.

With only three weeks until the next signing period begins on Feb. 5, Ohio State is hoping that approach can carry the day as it evaluates and offers new prospects, especially in the defensive backfield. It’s assumed that Kerry Coombs will become the guy to replace Hafley. But until he’s officially named and even after, recruits who Coombs will be asked to recruit will need Day and other assistants to bridge the relationship gap.

Fortunately at Ohio State, that is just standard operating procedure.

Need more Ohio State recruiting #Stuff? Join the conversation below in the comments and sign up for Scarlet Sunrise, Lettermen Row’s morning newsletter that will get your day started with all the important Ohio State news you need to know. Prefer video? Follow Buckeyes football on YouTube with Lettermen Row. You can also get your recruiting fix by subscribing to Talking Stuff: The Ohio State Recruiting Podcast on iTunes, Spotify, Google Play and Stitcher

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Buck68Brian yakataJoshTLMGreg Recent comment authors
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Brunstar
Brunstar

I can’t wait to see how fast DB recruiting takes off when Coombs gets back on campus.

Buckingham
Buckingham

I find it baffling they have not offered Isaiah Johnson, 5* corner WV…he’s begging for one

Greg
Greg

Probably because they’re going after Grimes

Brian yakata
Brian yakata

Why not both

Damon Henry
Damon Henry

Buy stock in Red Bull when Kerry Combs comes to Columbus. BOOM

Greg
Greg

Probably because they’re going after Grimes

TLM
TLM

I’m not a recruiting history expert but it seems vital that Coombs comes back. Our last stellar CB recruiting class ( Okudah, Wade) was his last class. It baffles me that changing our defense to 1 safety & 3 CB’s in our base defense & potentially loosing what we did after this year, that we didn’t sign any CB’s last cycle.

Josh
Josh

The Buckeyes signed two four stars in Lejond Cavazos and Ryan Watts this cycle. Cavazos was listed as a safety, but I believe was recruited as a CB. I think he also played CB as a senior in HS. They weren’t five stars, but were highly recruited guys with offers from most of the major programs. I think the CB class this year was a pretty good one.

TLM
TLM

I’m referring to the 19 class. Those potential recruits would have had a year in the program & possibly ready to contribute this coming season. We did lose one at the end to a flip to AL.

TLM
TLM

I would describe 20 class as “this” class since it technically is currently ongoing until Feb 5.

Josh
Josh

Ah, got it. Misunderstood.

Buck68
Buck68

when you commit to finding ‘the best’ … how does that ‘mesh’ with going “back” to “business as usual”?

is it of some importance to ‘accuracy’, ‘merit’, and ‘honesty’ that words mean exactly their definition, or the user defines the meaning of his use of that word?

OTOH… is it that every non-literal use of a word, absent said ‘interpretation of meaning’… does not mean its definition?

and yet we wonder why we on occasion ‘happen to have’ minor communications … ‘happenings’ that Nobody… ’caused’?

BTW… agree we have no apparent shortage of… ‘stuff’. ;-{)}

Birm

Birm is Lettermen Row's Director of Recruiting and the site's primary Ohio State sports photographer. A Toledo, Ohio native, Jeremy has been in similar roles for elevenwarriors.com and Landof10.com and has been covering the Buckeyes for seven years.

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