CHICAGO – Urban Meyer wasn’t at Big Ten football media days on Thursday but he certainly wasn’t forgotten.
Probably no subject generated greater curiosity on the first day of the two-day event than Ryan Day taking over for Meyer.
Some of the big questions were how is Day different from Meyer, how much will he change or will he change anything at all, and how much does he talk to Meyer.
Day answered every question that was served up in a 15-minute session at a podium and then in an hour-long interview with a smaller group of reporters.
Not surprisingly, he said there will be changes but not to expect drastic changes.
“You don’t replace a legend. You don’t replace one of the best football coaches in the history of the game,” he said. “What you can do is just be yourself and I think that’s what I’m doing,” Day said about following a coach whose Ohio State teams lost only nine games in seven seasons.
The first-year Ohio State coach said he and Meyer talk often.
“For sure. I’d be crazy if I didn’t,” Day said. “First off, what he’s meant and Shelley has meant to Nina and I and our family, I could talk about that for hours. And he’s been unbelievable in terms of understanding when to be there, when to step away. He’s taken multiple phone calls from me just looking for advice on how to handle certain things.
“And that would have been the case if I was anywhere else because of our relationship, but being at Ohio State and being right across the street, he’s an unbelievable resource and he’s been a huge help, and he’s going to continue to do that throughout the fall.”
One area where Day appears to have already kept Ohio State at the same level as Meyer is in recruiting.
OSU’s 2020 recruiting class climbed to No. 2 nationally last week after getting a commitment from 4-star defensive back Lathan Ransom, of Tucson, Arizona.
That 2020 class has two 5-star recruits and 10 4-star players among its 21 members. Nine of them are ranked in the top 100 nationally by 247sports.com.
Wide receiver Jordan Fleming, of Pennsylvania, is rated the No. 1 wide receiver recruit in the country and Cincinnati Princeton lineman Paris Johnson Jr. is the No. 1 recruit in Ohio.
Both of those commitments fit into Day’s vision of what Ohio State’s recruiting should look like.
“The basis of our recruiting has to be in Ohio and that three to four hour radius. It has to be, it has to be the foundation. But Ohio State has a brand that can go from coast to coast and so now let’s go get some of the elite ones around the country. That’s the philosophy but we have to have that foundation in Ohio,” Day said.
“I think the plan is working. It’s different in that you’re talking about one of the most legendary coaches in the history of the game and the minute somebody met Urban or he went into a house there’s instant credibility there. I think our staff had to spend a little more time saying this is our vision and selling our vision and it’s been successful that way,” he said.