On his second National Signing Day as Ohio State football coach, Ryan Day continued to stress that what his 2019 class lacked in quantity it made up for in quality.
“A couple people asked how come it's not a bigger class,” Day said. “I think some people may not understand you only have 85 scholarships every year. You can only sign up to 85.”
Consisting of 16 members at the time he spoke (with one decision pending), the class ranked 15th in the nation and No. 3 in the Big Ten (behind Michigan and Penn State) according to 247Sports Composite rankings.
That would be the lowest national ranking for Ohio State since the 2010 class was No. 20 and the smallest class since the 15-member group of 2007.
The group includes three five-star prospects — Miller, Lewis Center (Ohio) Olentangy Orange defensive end Zach Harrison and Austin (Texas) Lake Travis receiver Garrett Wilson — and nine four-stars.
When he met with the media in the early afternoon, Day was still hoping to add Dawand Jones, a three-star offensive lineman from Indianapolis set to make his announcement at 6:30 Wednesday night.
With only nine scholarship offensive linemen returning from last season, shoring up the front was a priority, and that figures to continue to be the case in 2020 whether or not the Buckeyes land Jones.
“When you look at the offensive line, you’ve got Ryan here (as an early enrollee), Harry Miller — both of those guys I think have a chance to make an impact and challenge this preseason,” Day said. “Enokk can come in and play for that first year and then we’ll how that goes after the first year. And then we’re looking to continue with that last spot to target an offensive lineman.”
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Running down the rest of the class, Day said he expects running backs Steele Chambers, a four-star from Roswell, Ga., and Marcus Crowley, a four-star from Jacksonville, Fla., to improve depth and compete at a position that lost two players from 2018.
He also looks for depth Wilson and fellow receiver Jameson Williams, a four-star from St. Louis, while noting Cormontae Hamilton of Memphis, Tenn., could bring a different dimension to the tight end room.
Day described Hamilton as "kind of H-back/fullback guy we think can do a lot of things for us. He can insert, block at the point of attack and then catch the ball.”
On the other side of the ball, defensive ends Harrison and Noah Potter (a four-star from Mentor, Ohio), are already on campus working out with the team and taking classes.
“Noah Potter is a guy who has already shown he’s going to work really hard. We expect him to challenge in the spring. Zach Harrison, I know there was a lot on his plate in the recruiting process, he’s come here and blossomed. Had an unbelievable day today. He’s been killin’ it in the weight room, so we’re excited about both of those guys.”
He praised the upside of Jaden McKenzie, a defensive tackle from Wake Forest, N.C., and said all three of his linebacker signees — Craig Young of Fort Wayne Ind., Cade Stover of Mansfield (Ohio) Lexington and Tommy Eichenberg of Cleveland St. Ignatius — are great athletes who can do multiple things for the Buckeyes.
“Cade Stover is the Gatorade player of the year, an excellent athlete, really good basketball player,” Day said. “Tommy comes from a great program. Really happy to get him down the stretch in December, and then Craig Young is an excellent athlete who can do a lot for us.”
In the secondary, Ohio State added Ronnie Hickman, a four-star prospect from DePaul Catholic in New Jersey, and Bryson Shaw, a three-star from The Bullis School in Potomac, Md.
“Ronnie is coming off an injury, doing a great job in rehab,” Day said. "Bryson will be here in the summer. Great family. Kind of got high hopes for him.”