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Ohio State Buckeyes Poised To Dominate College Football In 2024 And Beyond

Led by legendary head coach Nick Saban, Alabama's dominance over college football has spanned almost two decades, and with Saban out Ryan Day is poised to make his Buckeyes the new program to beat.  Day appears to have fixed any mistakes he has made and is building a monster in Columbus.  Ryan Day’s knack for building a team in today's college football world is nothing but exceptional.  Day, with the backing of one of the biggest and most passionate fanbases in college football, should have no problem bringing in the country’s top talent year in and out.

All it took was Ryan Day to have one of the greatest offseason in college football to regain the support and good graces of Buckeye nation.  After 3 consecutive disappointing seasons where the Buckeyes missed the playoff twice and failed to beat TTUN (Michigan), Day believes he figured out his mistakes and corrected the problems. And with one more transfer window to go Ohio State's head coach has already put together a team that should be the favorite to not only win the Big 10 but the National Championship as well.

Just 5 years ago the only way for college coaches to build a consistent contender was the recruitment of high school kids and their development.  Thanks to the transfer portal, and the ability to use NIL to bring NFL draft-eligible players back, along with high school recruiting, coaches now have 3 different ways to build their teams.

In the new landscape of college sports, coaches are left to figure out the 'Wild West' that is recruiting, the transfer portal, and NIL to find the best Balance to build their team year in and out. Ohio State, led by Ryan Day, looks to have everything pointing in the right direction, they look to have the right balance and will continue building a contender every year.   


The Balance of The Ohio State Buckeyes

Incoming Freshman

Ohio State has always been one of the best programs for bringing in top high school talent to play for the university.  It has not mattered if it was Jim Tressel, Urban Mayer, or Ryan Day, no matter who seems to be the head man at OSU, their ability to bring in the country’s best talent has never wavered; it can be argued that with each coaching change the recruiting has just improved.

Ryan Day, since taking over from Meyer has done nothing but attract the country's top talent to Columbus.  Ryan Day has been so impressive he may go down as the greatest recruiting head coach in Ohio State history.  This year’s class, like every one before it, has talent at every position they are bringing in.  Day's ability to stack recruiting classes gives Ohio State the ability to compete each season not only for the Big 10 Championship but the National Championship as well.   Recruiting the best high school players in the country to Columbus ensures that Ohio State will be able to have sustained success every year. 

In their 2023 class, seven of the 247Sports top 100 players committed to Ohio State. The 2024 class was just as good for the Buckeyes according to the 247Sports ranking.  Day has five top 100 players coming in with the crown jewel being wide receiver Jeremiah Smith who is the number one player in the country. Unfortunately for the rest of the country, Day is not slowing down in 2025, with six top 100 players already verbally committed to the class, and it's only February.

Nick Saban’s retirement from Alabama is just one less obstacle for Day to overcome when trying to bring in the top players from every state.  Saban had an uncanny ability to walk into any living room across the country and convince players and parents that Alabama was the best place to be. With Saban gone, Ryan Day looks to now be that guy.  How programs looked at Saban will be how they now look at Day when it comes to recruiting. 



Transfer Portal

Day has navigated the transfer portal with surgical skills, taking key players to fill in a roster that was already loaded with talent.  Day headed down south, walked right into SEC country where “it just means more” grabbed some of their best players, and walked them right back to Columbus.  OSU secured the commitment of 6 players in the first transfer window, with 4 coming right out of the SEC. 

OSU went into the portal and did not just pull out depth players they pulled out players that will compete and win starting jobs in 2024.  Four of the 6 players coming in are ranked in the top 50 according to 247Sports.  The Buckeyes managed to do this while only losing one top-50 player of their own, that being WR Julian Fleming.  Day was able to bring in the #1 overall player in the portal, DB Caleb Downs, a future first-round pick and freshman All-American. This has made the OSU secondary go from great to elite.

Day, already with 2024 top 100 freshman QB Air Noland on the roster, must not have been satisfied so he went out and got the number six overall ranked portal player QB Julian Sayin.  Sayin was the 3rd ranked QB according to 247Sports in the 2024 class.  With Noland and Sayin in Columbus Day, it has just solidified OSU QB room for at least the next 3 years.

Day, knowing this year is National Championship or bust, brought in the 7th ranked quarterback and 34th overall player in the portal to lead his team, quarterback Will Howard.  Howard is a dual-threat quarterback who will keep the defense guessing and with weapons everywhere around him, Howard looks poised to have his best year. Last year at Kansas State Howard passed for 2,643 yards and 24 touchdowns with 10 interceptions, completing 61.3% of his passes. He added 351 yards on the ground and nine touchdowns. 

In the Big 10, you need to be able to run the ball and have a 'Bell Cow' you can lean on.  Day found that in Quinshon Judkins.  Judkins, the 2nd leading rusher in the SEC last year for Ole Miss, had 1,158 yards, 15 touchdowns, and averaged 4.27 per attempt.   The only problem for Day is his bell cow was already on the roster in TreVeyon Henderson.  The Buckeyes should have the best backfield in college football and will need a way to get both playmakers the ball as much as possible.


Returning Players

Day and his staff have done a magnificent job in bringing back several key players for the 2024 season. Players like Jack Sawyer, JT Tuimoloau, and Denzel Burke to name a few, will all forgo the NFL draft and come back to the Buckeyes. Ohio State had a top-five defense in 2023, with eight returning starters and adding Caleb Downs, there should be no excuse for the Buckeyes not to have the number-one defense in the country. 

On offense, key pieces like 6-foot-4-inch, 320-pound OL Donovan Jackson, wide receiver Emeka Egbuka, and running back TreVeyon Henderson are coming back for another go at a national championship.  OSU, with Jackson's return, will have four out of five offensive line starters back. With the addition of Seth McLaughlin, OSU should have no problem opening holes for Henderson and Judkins while keeping Howard upright with time to find open receivers.

Ohio State's ability to bring back so many players is a testament to their NIL commitment. Because of this commitment, Day and staff should be able to keep key players coming back every year instead of declaring for the NFL draft. The advantage this gives Day is the ability to balance raw young talent with veteran leadership.  It also lets Day be very aggressive in the transfer portal, with only a few key spots to fill, Day can target the best player at each position that he needs.



The NIL world

What once took place in back alleys and behind closed doors is now done up front where everyone can see.  Name Image and Likeness have changed how teams not only bring in players, but it has made it possible to keep players for their senior years instead of heading to the draft.  NIL has become the biggest recruiting tool teams have to bring in top talent, not just from high school, but it’s now a tool used to lure players away from other college teams. 

NIL is nothing more than fans, boosters, and donors paying the salary of the players for the university.  And Ohio State looks to have their NIL on point using donations from one of the biggest and most passionate fan bases in college football to build some of the strongest collectives in the country.

OSU's two main collectives are The Foundation (find out more here and to donate), which unfortunately I have donated to, and the 1870 Society (find out more here and to contribute). 

The Buckeyes, with the help of several organizations, are rumored to have spent over 15 million dollars in obtaining and maintaining players this past year.  As long as Ohio State fans have no problem paying the salaries of players, Ohio State should have no problem putting some of the most talented teams on the field. And for opposing teams’ fans, that want to be mad, make sure you direct it to the right people and governing body. 



The obstacle fans believe that was getting in the way of Day finding the success of his predecessor was his not giving up calling the offense.  Day, after losing to Michigan for the first time, went out and obtained Jim Knowles to run the defense. This was a move that has seen the Buckeye's defense improve and become one of the best in the country.  Now with the defense fixed, Day finally needs to give up play-calling duties and focus solely on head coaching responsibility. And it looks like he has done just that with the hire of a real offensive coordinator.  

Day found his guy in Bill O’Brien, but soon after arriving in Columbus, O’Brien was offered and accepted the Boston College head coaching job.  Losing O’Brien, to most coaching staffs, would have been a huge loss, but it was not to Day’s.  It took Day mere hours to raid another Big 10 team of their head coach and bring him to Columbus.  UCLA is heading to the Big 10 next year but will be doing it without Chip Kelly, who will become the new OC in Columbus.  With the offensive minds that are Day and Kelly this year's OSU offense could be one of the best college football has seen.

Day’s ability to pull coaches from other big programs is a real testament to what he is and has been building in Columbus.  As long as Ryan Day is at Ohio State, they will bring in top player talent and coaches to help develop and lead that talent.  The combination of player talent and top coaches will maintain the Buckeyes at the top of the rankings for the foreseeable future.



Ohio State, in this new world of college football, has a distinct advantage over almost any opposing team. The Buckeyes have a fan base that will do and give anything their team needs to win.  They have the biggest fan base in the country and that fan base has no problem donating when needed to make sure their collectives have every monetary advantage they possibly need to succeed.  

Ohio State will draw anger from opposing fanbases because of their ability to spend when those fan bases should only be pointing that anger at the NCAA for letting college football become the Wild West. Not until the NCAA or a new governing body steps in will Buckeyes fans need to worry about not competing every year with the best in the country. In the end, fans are now left waiting for a new season to start so they can see if Day has done enough to not just take back the rivalry with Michigan but win Ohio State's first national title since 2014.

Ryan Day now more than ever will feel the pressure and must produce results on the field.  Excuses will no longer be tolerated. And with rumors flying that Wisconsin head coach Luke Fickell is looking to bring in Mike Vrabel in some kind of coaching capacity, Ryan Day’s possible replacement might just be heading back to college, and back to the Big 10.



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