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Buckeyes making absolute best of unusual recruiting situation

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Ohio State's elite national brand has carried them through a challenging few months of recruiting. (Birm/Lettermen Row)

Recruiting Question of the Day

Buckeyes making absolute best of unusual recruiting situation

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. Today we are examining how Ohio State has responded to the challenges of multiple dead periods amidst the Covid-19 pandemic.

Ohio State Recruiting Question of the Day

It’s been kind of surprising exactly how well a number of college programs have used the unplanned and unwanted recruiting dead periods caused by the Covid-19 pandemic to their advantage.

No one, though, has used it as efficiently or with as much success as Ohio State. The Buckeyes have made a strong push from the start of the coronavirus issue and have maintained their momentum all the way through Sunday, when they picked up commitment No. 19 in the top-ranked 2021 recruiting class from Arizona athlete Denzel Burke. In total, Ryan Day’s program has added nine commitments to the 2021 haul since March 10 — and it has kickstarted the 2022 class with three verbals as well. So, it’s impossible to look at the last two and a half months as anything but a net positive for Ohio State.

So to answer the question above as simply as possible: Through May 26, the Buckeyes have been helped by the pandemic on the recruiting front. I say that for a few reasons, but primary among them is that prospects are making commitments at a substantially different rate this cycle than they have in recent years, trying to make sure they don’t get left in the cold playing the game of recruiting.

There aren’t a bunch of kids taking visits to schools they are only marginally interested in just to gain some social media clout. The young men being recruited by Ohio State see it as a unique opportunity to join something that is among the country’s very best and aren’t fiddling around, which is paying off for the Buckeyes.

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The recruitment of Emeka Egbuka could carry on into the fall or winter. (Birm/Lettermen Row)

Now comes the hard part for Ohio State, though. The remaining five or six pieces of the 2021 recruiting class are the ones that will separate it from a group of really good recruiting classes and elevate it to an all-time great class. The fight to land 5-star prospects like Emeka Egbuka and J.T. Tuimoloau hasn’t been easy to this point, and it’s only more challenging to not have any chance to get them on campus before July at the earliest. That puts added pressure on the coaching staff to close the deal on top recruits with elite offers from all corners of the country — and they also have to do that without getting to look the players in the eye or shake the hands of their parents.

That is a challenge in a sports world that’s still predicated on interpersonal interaction. Ryan Day and his coaches are excellent at what they do and have been ahead of the curve to this point during a confusing and unsettling era for everyone. How much more difficult is that task if the Buckeyes top targets aren’t able to get back to campus until September, October or later?

Like everyone else, there are questions that still need to be answered, and the Buckeyes have managed a challenging time perfectly to this point. There’s no reason to expect they won’t be able to do the same if the NCAA mandates that the now three-month long recruiting dead period get extended even further.

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.


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.