When he took the podium as the incoming head coach at Ohio State on Dec. 4 after head coach Urban Meyer had announced his retirement, Ryan Day’s focus was already on Dec. 19.
Meyer ceremoniously passed the baton to Day, who will not officially be the head coach at Ohio State until Jan. 2. But from the moment he left the Fawcett Center on that Tuesday, the recruiting process was his, the team building process was his.
Meyer still had the current Ohio State team, preparing for his final game as a head coach against Washington in the Rose Bowl.
Day held the future.
And on Dec. 19, the future began at Ohio State as the Buckeyes added 15 signees from the 2019 recruiting class on the first day of the early signing period.
Ohio State retained the two five-star recruits from the 2019 class that Meyer helped secure.
Garrett Wilson, the No. 2 wide receiver in the 2019 class according to the 247Sports composite rankings, signed his letter of intent. The 6-foot, 181-pound receiver comes from Lake Travis High School in Austin, Texas, the same high school 2018 four-star recruit and Ohio State freshman quarterback Matthew Baldwin went to, and signed with the Buckeyes after verbally committing on April 29.
Five-star center Harry Miller, the No. 2 center in the 2019 class, also made his commitment from June 10 official, signing with Ohio State out of Buford, Georgia.
But even as the first two five-star recruits in the 2019 class, neither Miller nor Wilson would be the defining player in Ohio State’s recruiting class.
That was five-star defensive end Zach Harrison, who, as the No. 1 recruit in the state of Ohio out of Olentangy Orange High School and the No. 4 recruit in the country, committed to the Buckeyes on Wednesday, choosing between what many believed to be Ohio State, Penn State and Michigan.
Even with the change in leadership, Meyer said, in the press conference announcing his retirement, Day is a perfect fit to continue the trend he created during his tenure at Ohio State.
“Once those players know that you have that genuine love and care for them they’ll move mountains for you,” Meyer said. “And I saw that with Ryan Day.”
Day did see some unforeseen change in Ohio State’s 2019 recruiting class.
Four-star 2019 quarterback Dwan Mathis, who committed to Ohio State in June as a previous commitment at Michigan State, signed his letter of intent with Georgia, leaving the Buckeyes with no quarterback in the 2019 class.
However, Ohio State could be in the running to fill the spot Mathis left with the former No. 2 dual-threat quarterback in the 2018 class.
2018 five-star quarterback Justin Fields informed Georgia, where he spent his freshman season, that he intended to transfer, entering the NCAA transfer portal Tuesday, allowing other schools to contact him.
Ohio State also lost a commitment from four-star safety Jordan Battle, who announced signed his letter of intent with Alabama on Wednesday.
With the loss of both Mathis and Battle and with the gain of Harrison, Ohio State, according to 247Sports, has the No. 3 2019 recruiting class in the Big Ten, the first time since 2010 the Buckeyes have not had the No. 1 recruiting class in the conference.
Nationally, Ohio State has the No. 14 recruiting class in the country, its highest since 2010.
Updated at 3:26 p.m. after three-star defensive tackle Jaden McKenzie committed to Ohio State