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Buckeyes improved offensive line recruiting is team effort

Greg Studrawa-Ohio State-Buckeyes-Ohio State football
Greg Studrawa has been very important in resurgent offensive line recruiting for Ohio State. (Birm/Lettermen Row)

Recruiting Question of the Day

Buckeyes improved offensive line recruiting is team effort

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 examine the way that Ohio State is recruiting the offensive line under Ryan Day.

Ohio State Recruiting Question of the Day

When Ryan Day took over the Buckeyes in December of 2018, he told the media during his first press conference as head coach that rebuilding the offensive line room was going to be one of his biggest priorities.

Included in that task was one major decision as Day built his first coaching staff: Would he keep Greg Studrawa as his offensive line coach?

Ultimately, Day kept Studrawa, pointing to his success as a developer of talent as a primary reason for doing so.

“When you look at not only being an Ohio guy, but what he’s done with the linemen, not only here but where he’s been before, I don’t think — if there has I’d like to know who it is — back-to-back Rimington Award winners,” Day said last January when asked what led to the decision to retain Studrawa. “What he’s done speaks for itself, not only here, but at LSU. His background is excellent. What I’ve seen him do in terms of development with our offensive line is why.”

Noticeably absent from Day’s explanation were comments about Studrawa’s recruiting success.

It’s not that he didn’t have any before, but it’s fair to suggest that the majority of comments about his recruiting prior to the 2020 cycle were focused on negative outcomes. Recruiting is cyclical at times, and Coach Stud took some deserved heat as Jackson Carman left Ohio to head to Clemson and Doug Nester flipped to Virginia Tech after 18 months of being committed. Those high-profile recruiting losses combined with the inability to flip in-state players like J.D. Duplain and Nick Samac from Michigan State had some wondering if he was able to hack it on the recruiting trail.

Those concerns were quelled a bit late in the 2019 cycle as Dawand Jones and Enokk Vimahi committed to Ohio State. But, according to those in the know, those recruitments were really led by Kevin Wilson and Ryan Day respectively, not Studrawa. 2020 5-star Paris Johnson was committed early as well, but it’s no secret to anyone that the now early-enrolled freshman made his choice because of the relationship he had with Urban Meyer, not Studrawa. So, the jury remained out.

The truth, though, is that when Johnson came to campus with his family, it was usually Studrawa who was around him. And it was clear when that duo was spotted on the sidelines before games or at recruiting events that there was a really solid bond between them, Johnson may have committed because of Meyer, but Studrawa’s role in maintaining it after Meyer retired shouldn’t be ignored. The same can and should be said about Luke Wypler.

Paris Johnson-Ohio State football-Ohio State Buckeyes-Ohio State recruiting-Ohio State-Buckeyes

Paris Johnson built a real relationship with a number of staff members at Ohio State before officially signing. (Birm/Lettermen Row)

On-campus recruiting was never a perceived issue for Studrawa. He’s always excelled in that role. However, as conversations with 2020 and 2021 recruits can attest, he has definitely changed his pace and intensity away from Columbus in the last year, and the results speak for themselves.

The Buckeyes signed six offensive linemen in 2020, and Studrawa’s involvement has led to early verbals from Ben Christman and Donovan Jackson in 2021 with a host of top targets at the position very interested in Ohio State. That group regularly and without solicitation brings up their relationships with Studrawa as a driving force in the interest.

He’s definitely become more involved in the recruiting efforts. So, I don’t know if that’s him improving as the question suggests or just the result of a guy knowing he was sort of up against it after a couple of subpar years. That said, there aren’t really any coaches on the Buckeyes coaching staff doing it by themselves. National recruiter of the year Brian Hartline relies heavily on his assistant, Keenan Bailey, to help in his recruiting efforts and each Ohio State coach has a guy they rely on.

Studrawa’s assistant is Kennedy Cook, a former offensive lineman at Wittenberg University, and he’s been absolutely vital to the Buckeyes success recruiting the offensive line since joining the staff last February.

To wrap up, I guess what I’m saying is that Studrawa has absolutely taken a more active and aggressive role as a recruiter in the last year, and it’s paying off for him and Ohio State. But to suggest the productivity is solely a result of his work would be intellectually dishonest. Studrawa, Ryan Day, Mark Pantoni and his entire office, plus staff members like Tim Hinton, Eric Miscuda and Kennedy Cook all deserve the credit because it’s a team effort to find the right people and players for the Buckeyes.

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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.