Ohio State football recruiting can be a wild ride full of twists and turns as recruits from all over the country maneuver their way to signing day. Lettermen Row is here to help navigate the tumultuous roads by getting to the heart of the matter with the young football players themselves. Birminology shows who the young men being recruited by Ohio State truly are — by talking to them. Today’s guest is somebody on the other side of the process: Ohio State director of player personnel Mark Pantoni, a key cog in the recruiting machine under Urban Meyer and now under Ryan Day.
It’s no secret that the business of college football recruiting has evolved into a year-round profession. There’s no need to look much further for an example of how that world can turn into a dream job than Mark Pantoni, the director of player personnel for Ohio State dating back to Urban Meyer’s arrival in late 2011.
When he began working for Meyer at Florida in 2006, Pantoni was an intern working for next to nothing. Now 14 years later, he’s a very well-paid, critically important piece of the puzzle for new head coach Ryan Day in Columbus. And whether it was Meyer or now Day, the coaches in charge at Ohio State have never been shy about heaping praise on Pantoni for his role in the success of the program.
“I’ve got the ultimate respect for Mark,” Day said. “He’s really talented at evaluating the players. He works really hard in pushing his staff. I think that what we do with our creative team, what we do with communicating with the student-athletes and the recruits is as good as anybody in the country, and he heads that up. He’s got a good feel for the coaches.
“He’s got a good feel for the players, what’s going on on social media, and he drives it, and he’s the driver behind the whole thing.”
How has Mark Pantoni and his staff adjusted to Ryan Day? Why did he stay at Ohio State when he had job opportunities elsewhere? Why did the Buckeyes move away from Friday Night Lights, and how does the recruiting staff combat negative recruiting and decades-old preconceived notions?
Pantoni talks about those things and more in this week’s edition of Birminology on Lettermen Row.