COLUMBUS — Ryan Day didn’t hesitate to let the world know how happy he was with the 24 players who signed a Letter of Intent with Ohio State on Wednesday.
Before taking any questions from the gathered media, Day raved about the class of 2020 prospects from the podium inside of the team meeting room at the Woody Hayes Athletic Center.
“So far this has been — what a great day this has been,” Day said. “We have 24 guys that signed in this class. We think it’s an unbelievable class. As this coaching staff’s inaugural class, there’s a lot of people that had to make this happen, and the thing that I want to make sure I do first off publicly is to thank the families. There’s a lot of families here that jumped on board here before we won a game at all this year, and they believed in what we were talking to these families about and the philosophies and what was going to go on. And here we are in the early signing day and undefeated, playing in the national semifinals.
“I just want to say thank you publicly to all the families out there and the recruits who believed in us from the beginning, and this is going to be one heck of a class. We have eight guys from Ohio, we have 13 states represented, and 14 of these guys are coming in at mid-year, which is the highest we’ve ever had here, so we’re excited to get these guys in here and get to work.”
There wasn’t much drama for Ohio State on Wednesday or a lot of lessons for Lettermen Row to learn. But there was a major addition to its 2020 class.
Ohio State lands quarterback C.J. Stroud
Coming into Wednesday, the first of a three-day early signing period, Day knew what to expect and everything went as planned. Included in that plan was the addition of quarterback C.J. Stroud, who picked Ohio State over Georgia despite swirling rumors of a push elsewhere late Tuesday night and early Wednesday morning. The Buckeyes had long been interested in adding a second quarterback to the 2020 class. And for many reasons, the 6-foot-3, 195-pound Stroud was the right choice to complement Jack Miller in this recruiting cycle.
But for the first-year Buckeyes coach, many of those reasons had nothing to do with Stroud’s ability to throw a football.
“As a person, his communication, his leadership — [Stroud] just handles himself the right way,” Day said. “He looks you in the eye, he shakes your hand. I think you’re talking about somebody who was raised the right way, and he’s got a lot of respect and makes great decisions.”
Day also counted on other Buckeyes commitments, coaches and others in Stroud’s circle as they worked to evaluate the country’s second-ranked pro-style quarterback.
“We ask a lot of people about a lot of people,” Day said. “We got a lot of great feedback on CJ. Yeah, up until [the summer], he was kind of an unknown. We were looking at a lot of different quarterbacks out there and trying to figure out what was the right fit in the room with Jack.
“The more we learned about C.J. and certainly the senior year that he had, it goes to show you how talented he is. I think those guys are going to get along great. They’re going to compete. They’re both going to get developed and let them fight it out. But it wasn’t like we just flippantly made this decision. There was a lot of conversation about what was the right fit in that room, and we asked some of the players what C.J. was like and we got a lot of great feedback.”
What about Clark Phillips, his Ohio State commitment?
The last remaining bit of feedback the Buckeyes are waiting for in order to close the book on the early signing period is from La Habra (Calif.) 4-star cornerback Clark Phillips.
Lettermen Row has chronicled Phillips recruitment with the Buckeyes from the outset, and now a day away from a final decision, here’s where things stand.
Phillips will announce his college decision at roughly 2 p.m. on Thursday. That is his birthday, and the plan for Phillips and his family had always been to sign that day, regardless of whether or not he was considering a change in his choice. Because of Jeff Hafley’s decision to take the coaching job at Boston College, though, Phillips is considering a change. He will announce if he’s heading to Columbus or Utah and then proceed from there.
Right now, real information on Phillips and his choice is scarce. It’s worthless to point out that the vibe from the Buckeyes side of things isn’t great because that should be obvious. If the vibe was good, then there’d be no decision to be made, right?
When the country’s No. 4-ranked cornerback talked with Lettermen Row last, he spoke of all the things he found desirable about Ohio State and he was ready to join the program as soon as possible. The loss of Hafley has impacted his recruitment more than anyone — including Phillips himself — could’ve imagined. Outside of a coaching change which likely would’ve occurred a year from now anyway, nothing else has changed in Columbus.
But for Clark Phillips and his family, the only opinion that matters is their own. And no one can make a decision for the young defensive back but himself. There’s still time for Day and Ohio State to salvage things, but it sure seems the Buckeyes, after a perfect Wednesday, may be in for a little disappointment on Thursday.