A year ago, Ty Hamilton's main link to Ohio State was that his brother DaVon plays defensive tackle for the Buckeyes.
Ohio State's interest in him was, to put it generously, lukewarm. On Wednesday, Hamilton became the only player from central Ohio to sign a national letter of intent with Ohio State.
“Going into this year,” Ohio State coach Ryan Day said of recruiting buzz about Hamilton, “Ty had some stuff going on but nothing huge.”
That changed quickly after some work with the Buckeyes' defensive line coach.
“Larry Johnson saw something in him in camp this year that he really liked, and then all of a sudden he had a great year,” Day said.
Hamilton was a force on Pickerington Central's Division I championship team.
“He was kind of terrorizing every team he played,” Day said. “He played big. He played strong.”
Hamilton, 6 feet 3 and 260 pounds, is rated a three-star recruit by 247Sports as the No. 36-ranked strongside defensive end.
DaVon Hamilton has had a stellar senior season for Ohio State after developing gradually in the program. Day said he believes Ty is more than just a project.
“I think he's got a chance to be really good,” he said. “I think he probably has a chance to have a bigger impact early on in the career than we maybe thought going into the season. Between he and DaVon, they really had great seasons.”
Ty has a different body type than his brother. DaVon is stockier. Day described Ty as quicker and probably more explosive.
“But I'm sure if you asked them, they would fight over both of those things,” Day said.
Running back found close to home
Ohio State's quest to add a running back to its recruiting class had plenty of unwanted twists. The Buckeyes though they would sign Arizona five-star prospect Bijan Robinson and Florida four-star Jaylan Knighton. Instead, each backed away.
That left the Buckeyes without a running back. With J.K. Dobbins all but certain to enter the NFL draft, Ohio State needs to restock that unit and didn't have to look far from home to do so. Miyan Williams from Cincinnati Winton Woods filled that void when he committed Nov. 23.
Williams, listed at 5-10 and 225 pounds, had committed to Iowa State when Ohio State was initially reluctant to extend an offer. But Day sounded like a coach who'd seen the light.
“Everybody in that (Cincinnati) area talked about how strong of a runner he was, how productive he was,” he said. “So after we looked at a lot of people throughout the country, we're like, 'Wait a minute, we've got one right here in Ohio.' And that meant a lot to us.
“I just think he's going to have a great career. He runs with an edge. He runs tough. He runs hard. It's like he's angry when he runs. We like that. We just think he's a great fit.”
Williams is one of six players from the Cincinnati area in Ohio State's 2020 recruiting class. Other than Ty Hamilton, the only other Ohioan in the class is offensive tackle Trey Leroux from Norwalk.
Whirlwind time for coaches
Day said the mid-December date for the early signing period deserved closer scrutiny.
For the third straight year, college football programs were afforded the chance to sign their incoming recruits in December in addition to the traditional period in February. But the date falls amid bowl practices and a spinning coaching carousel, creating a hectic stretch on the calendar.
After traveling to the Heisman Trophy ceremony last week, plus other awards shows, and making recruiting visits, Day remarked that it was the “craziest week I've ever been a part of.” The creation of an early signing period took place in the spring of 2017 when it was approved by the NCAA.
“I'm not sure that they realized what this was going to be like for a coaching staff and a team where you're playing on the 28th, you play in a Big Ten championship game, you have one week on the road to go recruit these guys and get out there,” Day said.
“There's possible coaching changes on your staff. You have 14 guys coming at midyear. You have award shows to go to, and then, by the way, once you get off the road, you have two weeks to get ready to go play Clemson. That's a very stressful time, and it is what it is. We're keeping our head down and we're going, but I think we have to take a hard look at that.”
In men's basketball, the early signing period is before the season, prompting some to suggest an early signing period in football should take place in the summer rather than a month and a half before the traditional date.