COLUMBUS — National signing day once was the biggest day in college football recruiting for recruits, coaches and football fans.
But with the creation of an early signing period in December, it has become just a formality where a few late additions finish out recruiting classes around the country.
Nevertheless, Ohio State coach Ryan Day took advantage of this year’s national signing day on Wednesday to sum up the Buckeyes’ recruiting efforts that produced a 2020 recruiting class that is ranked No. 5 in the country.
Twenty-four of the incoming recruits signed in December and 14 of them have already enrolled at OSU.
The only addition to Ohio State’s recruiting class on Wednesday was Michigan’s Mr. Football, Cameron Martinez, who committed to OSU before the early signing period but took some extra time to consider his decision after the coach who recruited him, Jeff Hafley, was named the head coach at Boston College.
Martinez is expected to play defensive back at Ohio State but was a quarterback in high school. He also will be looked at as a receiver, Day said.
“The landscape of recruiting has changed a lot,” Day said.
Looking at the 14 players who enrolled early, the most ever at Ohio State, he said, “I think that’s important. And I think that’s the trend, although we don’t really prefer it one way or the other. If somebody feels like they want to be here for their senior year we don’t put any pressure on them. That’s their decision. But we also see the benefit of it.
“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. And 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, then we want to be on the front end of it.”
Martinez’s extended recruitment was the only drama about the 2020 class since December.
“We’re very excited to have Cam. I thought he and his family handled things really well with Jeff leaving and Kerry Coombs jumping in. He handled it like a pro, the family was unbelievable and we’re really excited to have him,” Day said.
“I told him it was my job to make sure he had the best (position) coach he can possibly have and that was what we were going to do. But at the same time I told him if he needs to go look at other place, he can do that. I said I’m not going to like that too much but I respect your family enough that you can go ahead and check some places out. He never really ended up doing that.”
The coach Day found to replace Hafley was Coombs, a former Ohio State assistant who was an assistant coach with the Tennessee Titans.
Coombs is known for his high energy level, something Day joked about on Wednesday, saying there was a lot less coffee in the Woody Hayes Center because the other coaches were drinking four pots of it a day to keep up with Coombs.
He also clarified that Coombs will have the title of defensive coordinator and Greg Mattison, who shared that title with Hafley last season, will again be the co-defensive coordinator. But Coombs will be the first among equals.
“At the end of the day someone has to walk out of that room with the final say and that will be Kerry. But they’re all professionals. They’re all going to have their hand in this thing together, just like we are on offense,” Day said.