COLUMBUS — Ohio State didn’t even need six months to sell Lathan Ransom on its vision for the future.
The offer from the Buckeyes was extended late in January. On Tuesday, Ransom’s birthday, the 4-star safety prospect, a top-100 player in the national recruiting rankings, committed to the program.
He committed to Ryan Day and the first-year head coach’s plans for the Ohio State program. He committed to Jeff Hafley, Day’s handpicked co-defensive coordinator who had spent the last seven years coaching in the NFL. And he picked the young pair of Buckeyes coaches while Day is still getting his feet wet running his program and while Hafley is still moving into his new home in a new city with a new job and new rules he’s had to learn on the fly and in very short order.
And he picked them after knowing them for roughly half of a year.
Ransom, a standout at Salpointe Catholic in Tucson, Arizona, could’ve gone to any school in the country. But Ohio State has something in this dynamic duo the others don’t.
“The main reason I am picking Ohio State is because of my relationship with Coach Day and Coach Hafley,” Ransom told Lettermen Row. “Honestly, it was the family feel I got from the other players.
“The vibe on campus, and from the fan base, is unbeatable.”
The truth is, though, Ransom has only had relatively limited exposure to campus. After all, his first visit to Columbus in February was all of about five hours long.
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“It’s the confidence I have in Coach Hafley to develop me as a player,” he said. “His experience in the NFL and the players he’s coached in the past. And Coach Day? He just keeps it real.”
Prior to making his official visits in June, Ransom joined Lettermen Row on an episode of Birminology and broke down what he thought of the Ohio State coaches.
“What Coach Day is bringing, I’ve heard so many great things about him,” Ransom said. “To talk to him, he’s such a down-to-earth dude. He’s not one of those dudes who feels he’s higher up than the football players.
“Coach Hafley is a straight-forward dude. He knows what the NFL wants and he’s looking for that right now.”
In a world full of recruiting buzzwords, high-impact graphics and videos meant to inspire, to truly win over a recruit like Lathan Ransom — the type of recruit programs need to truly win on the field — it almost always comes back to trust.
Relationships. Comfort. Trust.
Despite all the opportunities for turmoil and turbulence that have surrounded the Ohio State program over the last year, Day’s calming influence and his genuine nature have made the transition taking place in Columbus smoother than anyone could’ve imagined. Hafley’s direct, in-your-face approach continues to impress players and their families who are used to smoke and mirrors and recruiting double-speak.
Ryan Day and Jeff Hafley led the way in landing Ransom, and their approach to doing so should help shed light on why there’s been no dropoff in recruiting success to this point in the post-Urban Meyer era.
It hasn’t even taking a whole year to sell that vision or win over the kind of recruits like Lathan Ransom needed to keep the championships coming.