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Mark Pantoni still fueling Ohio State’s high-octane recruiting machine

Mark Pantoni has been at Ohio State since Urban Meyer took over the program. (Birm/Lettermen Row)

Ohio State Football Recruiting

Mark Pantoni still fueling Ohio State’s high-octane recruiting machine

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.

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Mark Pantoni does a lot of player evaluation and a lot of reading. (Birm/Lettermen Row)

“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.

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Weave77
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Weave77

Hey Birm, as I’m sure you know, the reason many Buckeye fans are fervently hoping that Urban Meyer doesn’t take the USC job is the fear that he will poach one or both of Mark Pantoni and Mickey Marotti, given their strong relationships with him (which you touched on in your video).

If Urban does indeed return to the head coaching ranks in the near future, what do you think the odds are that either of those guys will leave Ohio State to join his staff?

Matt E
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Matt E

Great interview Birm. It is interesting seeing the quality of character being brought in. And that goes back to Urban and the growth he showed throughout his career. I remember seeing a bunch of photos on 11W when parents bring in the freshman commit and pointed it out to a few co-workers….ever recruit was photoed with 2 parents. Might sound cliche but family value is easier to implement in a system when kids have a mother and father active in their life.

Jan Williams
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Jan Williams

Great interview. I finally get to get an idea who this guy is. Thanks

Buck68
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Buck68

Character is something everyone displays in their own words each post. I wonder if any of us can accurately assess or verify, or even imitate… a character we do not value ourselves. IMO this is a useful snapshot of man i’m glad most recognize as invaluable to the Ohio State team. More importantly, IMO, Mark Pantoni sets the kind of example we should all consider first, whenever we claim ourselves… Buckeyes. For anybody can claim whatever; compare to our recruits who earn their offer, receive the development issues a commitment entails, THEN sign on the dotted line to ‘walk that… Read more »

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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