Ohio State Buckeyes: Hartline promoted, new TEs coach hired

Ohio State confirmed Friday afternoon Brian Hartline has been promoted to offensive coordinator.

That move was widely expected in the wake of Kevin Wilson leaving to become head coach at Tulsa after the Peach Bowl.

“Brian has been successful in every football capacity for which he has been engaged,” Ohio State head coach Ryan Day said in a news release.

After seven years playing in the NFL, Hartline went into coaching in 2017 when he was hired as a quality control assistant. He was promoted to receivers coach on an interim basis in 2018 after Zach Smith was fired in the midst of a domestic violence investigation and got the full-time job a year later.

Although he has no prior experience as an offensive coordinator, Hartline’s tenure as receivers coach has been a smashing success with five Buckeyes posting 1,000-yard receiving seasons and five selected in the NFL Draft.

He is credited with being both an excellent developer of players and recruiter, having helped Ohio State snag numerous big-name receiver prospects.

“He has progressed incredibly well from college to NFL receiver, and then from quality control coach to wide receivers coach to passing game coordinator,” Day said. “He figures things out quickly and he is more than ready to now transition to offensive coordinator.”

Hartline was promoted to passing game coordinator last season and received a raise from $600,000 to $950,000 when he signed a new two-year contract that lasts through the end of the 2023 season.

“I am ready and I am really looking forward to this opportunity,” Hartline, 36, said in the news release. “Ohio State has established a premier threshold with regard to offensive output, and that is something that we’ll strive to meet every day. I want to thank coach Day for his belief in me and for the positions he has put me in these last several years that have allowed me to succeed and grow.”

What duties actually fall to Hartline remains to be seen. Day has maintained a heavy influence on the offense, including calling plays on game day, but ESPN’s Kirk Herbstreit reported earlier this month Day told him he was considering giving up the latter duty in order to focus more on the tasks of the head coach.

Candidates to call plays could also include running backs coach Tony Alford, who is entering his ninth season at Ohio State and also is an assistant head coach for offense, and second-year offensive line coach Justin Frye, who is the run game coordinator and was an offensive coordinator in his previous stop at UCLA.

They will be joined on the 2023 offensive staff by fourth-year quarterbacks coach Corey Dennis and Keenan Bailey, who was promoted to replace Wilson as tight ends coach.

Bailey is a Florida native with a degree from Notre Dame who began at Ohio State in 2017 as an offensive intern. He has performed multiple duties in his time in Columbus and developed a strong reputation among players and recruits.

Hartline is a former Buckeye player who was a three-star recruit from Canton GlenOak in the class of 2005. He was a bit under the radar on the recruiting scene after a broken leg wiped out most of his senior season, but Hartline recovered in time to star in track that spring and took that speed to Ohio State, where he was a three-time Academic All-Big Ten selection during his playing career.

After redshirting as a freshman, Hartline was part of the rotation for a prolific 2006 offense and known for his zeal on special teams coverage units.

Hartline finished his career with 90 catches for 1,429 yards. He is 25th in Ohio State’s career receiving yards list and 20th in career yards per catch at 15.87, just behind current proteges Emeka Egbuka and Marvin Harrison Jr.

In a game against Kent State in 2007, Hartline set the Ohio State record with a 90-yard punt return for a touchdown, and his 22.8 yards per catch in 2008 are still third for a single season at Ohio State.

The Miami Dolphins chose Hartline in the fourth round of the 2009 NFL Draft, and he spent seven years in the league, catching 344 passes for 4,766 yards and 14 touchdowns.

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