Considering it started with Ohio State losing a quarterback commitment and wrapped up with gaining the No.4 prospect in the country in Olentangy Orange defensive end Zach Harrison, Ryan Day seemed pleased overall with the first recruiting class of his head coaching career.
“When you look at the quality of the players, we think we’re as good as we’ve ever been,” Day said.
He referred to the 14 who had signed with OSU to that point, supplemented by the signing of defensive lineman Jaden McKenzie of Wake Forest, N.C., a half hour later.
For Day, named head coach in place of the retiring Urban Meyer on Dec.4, and his staff, the early signing day wrapped up “a whirlwind” of effort, he said, that had started moments after the Buckeyes beat Northwestern in the Big Ten title game.
The class so far (several players likely will be added on the next signing period starting Feb.6) has three five-stars in Harrison, receiver Garrett Wilson of Lake Travis High School outside Austin, Texas, and center Harry Miller of Buford, Ga. It also includes Cade Stover, a linebacker from Lexington, Ohio, who not only was the Mr. Football Ohio 2018 but also was the first certified by OSU director of player personnel Mark Pantoni.
Video: Ryan Day on signing Zach Harrison
What it doesn’t have is a quarterback, but stay tuned. Justin Fields, a five-star who signed with Georgia’s 2018 class and played sparingly this season, has indicated he wants to make a change, having been added to the NCAA transfer portal. Ohio State is expected to have serious interest, though Day would not acknowledge that Wednesday.
But the action by Dwan Mathis Wednesday indicated something might be in the works. Mathis, a quarterback from Oak Park, Mich., had been committed to OSU since June. But in the wake of the Fields news, which broke Tuesday, Mathis opted to sign with Georgia on Wednesday.
As expected, safety Jordan Battle of Aquinas High School in Fort Lauderdale, Fla., flipped from Ohio State to Alabama on signing day. It was no surprise. He had harbored second thoughts about the Buckeyes in the aftermath of Meyer’s retirement announcement and had been rumored to be a strong Alabama lean ever since.
Among those who had signed with OSU by mid-morning were running back Marcus Crowley of Jacksonville, Fla., and “athlete” Steele Chambers of Roswell, Ga.
Crowley, of Trinity Christian Academy, originally committed to Miami before Ohio State flipped him in the fall. Chambers was a two-way talent for his Blessed Trinity High School which just won its second straight Georgia 4A state title.
Miller joined the early rush. He is considered to be a challenger for immediate playing time in the fall, rare for an offensive lineman.
Tight end Cormontae Hamilton of Memphis, Tenn., was next. Considered to be a three-star prospect with a big upside, he helped his Whitehaven High School team make it to a state title game this season. Right after him came speedy receiver Jameson Williams of St. Louis, who did the same with his Ritter College Prep team, and defensive wildcard Craig Young of Fort Wayne, Ind.
Linebacker Tommy Eichenberg of Cleveland joined by 10 a.m. The St. Ignatius High School star was the last to commit to the Buckeyes before signing day.