Chris Holtmann can finally talk about his 2019 recruiting class.
After securing verbal commitments from three of the nation’s top 50 recruits during the last seven months, Ohio State has signed a top-10 recruiting class. By NCAA rule, that means that college coaches are now allowed to publicly speak about the players who will be joining their programs the following season.
Usually, this means a press conference either mostly or completely devoted to discussing the latest Buckeyes additions. This year, though, the early-season schedule and the timing of when all three players would actually sign has meant scant available time to talk about DJ Carton, Alonzo Gaffney and EJ Liddell all joining the program.
Tuesday night, following a 68-50 win against Samford, Holtmann got his first opportunity to discuss all three signees. Gaffney signed Nov. 14 in a ceremony at Wolfeboro (New Hampshire) Brewster Academy, but Liddell had his signing for the following day pushed back until the 19th due to snowfall at Belleville (Illinois) West. That was also the same day that Carton was slated to sign at Bettendorf, Iowa.
So what did Holtmann have to say about his signees? I was able to ask him a question and a follow-up during the postgame press conference following the win against the Bulldogs.
“Super excited,” he said. “I’m really excited about our team, about those three guys, but I’m excited about our team. The reason I say that is I don’t think these three young men decide to come to Ohio State without the relationship they have with those guys in the locker room. It is obviously a recruiting class that we’re really excited about, that we put a lot of work and time (into).
“Our staff was tireless and tremendous in their work ethic and it was some nasty recruiting battles. We could sit here and talk about that for days, but we’re super excited about those three but I give those players a lot of credit.”
Stay tuned in the coming weeks for a story on just how much time and effort the coaches put into this class. For now, though, I was able to ask Holtmann about getting the class started with Gaffney, who was a five-star recruit from Garfield Heights, Ohio, at the time, and the state’s top-rated prospect.
“I think it set the tone to have a young man as talented as he is from your own state,” Holtmann said. “I think his commitment really set the tone for the rest of the class, and he did a good job recruiting the other two along with our current players. No question, that got the ball rolling. It’s an exciting time for our program.”
Carton is the No. 25 recruit in the nation according to the 247Sports.com composite rankings, ahead of Gaffney (49) and Liddell (49).