Cameron Martinez signing caps quiet day for Ohio State football team

Joey Kaufman
Cameron Martinez, who signed with Ohio State on Wednesday, played offense and defense in high school in Muskegon, Mich. [Robert Killips/Lansing State Journal]

A few minutes before 10 a.m. Wednesday, the Ohio State football program's Twitter account made an announcement.

The school had received a signed letter of intent from Cameron Martinez, a versatile four-star recruit from Muskegon, Michigan. It was the lone development for the Buckeyes on national signing day as they had all but completed their class before the traditional February date.

Since the introduction of an early signing period three years ago, the Buckeyes have signed most of their players in December, leaving little late drama. They signed only five prospects in February in 2018, followed by two last year, then Martinez on Wednesday.

“The landscape of recruiting has changed a lot,” coach Ryan Day said.

Day also thought the second signing day had become a less-active period as more recruits sought to enroll a semester early to arrive for winter workouts and spring practice, leading them to submit paperwork six weeks earlier.

Among the 25 players in the 2020 recruiting class, 14 of them enrolled early, the most at Ohio State.

“Being here and going through these mat drills and going through spring practice and being here for six months before you start preseason camp certainly helps,” Day said. “So the more of those situations that we can have, the more those guys will have an opportunity to play. And as that is the trend, we want to be on the front end of it.”

At one point, Martinez looked as if he would be among the early signees, but he opted to postpone his signing after defensive co-coordinator Jeff Hafley was named Boston College's coach. Hafley had been Martinez's primary recruiter last year.

“I totally understood,” Day said.

Last week, Martinez reaffirmed his commitment after an in-home visit from Kerry Coombs, a former assistant with the Buckeyes who had returned as defensive coordinator to replace Hafley. It left the Buckeyes' class fifth in the nation according to 247Sports' composite rankings, behind Georgia, Alabama, Clemson and LSU.

Day referred to Martinez as “one the most under-recruited kids in the entire country.”

Martinez was a two-way player in high school, including stints at quarterback, but without a defined position. Even though Ohio State listed him as a defensive back, he will see an opportunity to play on either side of the ball.

Day said Martinez will start out as an H-back on offense, often positioned as a slot receiver, and mentioned cornerback as a possible position on defense. A move to running back is also under consideration.

“That's what's exciting about Cam,” Day said. “We'll allow him to have a lot of feedback in this. We want him to have a bunch of say in what he likes and feels most comfortable with.”

Grayshirt possible

for kicker Seibert

Jake Seibert, a kicker who is among the 25 signees in the incoming recruiting class, could grayshirt this season, Day said. It is a step that delays his enrollment by a semester and would not put him on scholarship until 2021.

“That will depend on how things go,” Day said. “We do have flexibility.”

The Buckeyes have 88 other players on scholarship, a total that includes receiver C.J. Saunders, who is waiting for a decision on his petition for a sixth year of eligibility. The team must be at 85 scholarships by preseason practice.

Hartline named top

recruiter by 247Sports

Receivers coach Brian Hartline was named 247Sports' recruiter of the year after helping the Buckeyes sign four receivers, including Julian Fleming, its top-ranked player at the position.

The recruiting service considered it the best class of receivers since Alabama signed Jerry Jeudy, Henry Ruggs and Devonta Smith in 2017.


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