Shortly after being named Urban Meyer’s successor as Ohio State football coach in December, Ryan Day hit the road to get a first-hand look at some of the places he will be recruiting now and in the future.
That tour included visits to Centerville and Alter — with the latter apparently going so well he wasn’t able to make all of the stops he had scheduled because he ran out of time.
“There are two coaches who show up here and people are out of the classroom — Brian Kelly from Notre Dame, being a Catholic high school there are still a lot of Notre Dame fans here — and the Ohio State head coach,” said longtime Alter head coach Ed Domsitz.
“He seemed to understand the dynamics of what is involved in being the Ohio State head football coach, and I don’t think there was any doubt in his mind,” Domsitz added. “I’ll tell you the truth, if there was, I don’t think he would have made that tour. That impressed me.
“He could have gotten information on our kids from (online video repository) Hudl or by just making phone calls or by sending his assistant coaches, but he made the effort to stop in, and it wasn’t just Alter — it was a number of schools — to say hello and establish that relationship, and that’s key. It really is.”
Trotwood-Madison coach Jeff Graham, who coincidentally played for Domsitz at Alter before his career took him to Ohio State and the NFL, also likes what he has seen so far from Day, who stopped in at TMHS after school was out and was able to avoid the full-on star treatment.
In fact, Graham said Day proved to be resourceful, finding someone to let him him in and surprising the Rams coaching staff by showing up in the weight room unannounced.
He also issued an invitation for Graham and his staff to come see him in Columbus.
“He opened the doors for us to be able to come and pick his brain and grab his knowledge and that’s good for us to have that type of relationship,” said Graham, who caught 99 passes for 1,809 yards in an Ohio State uniform.
He chuckled at the thought of playing in an offense like the one the Buckeyes ran last season under Meyer with the influence of Day.
“Dwayne Haskins probably threw as much in three games as we did in two seasons,” Graham said, referring to the Heisman Trophy finalist who completed 370 of 530 passes for 4,843 yards and 50 touchdowns last season.
Day also has an early seal of approval from another former Ohio State receiver who coaches a Montgomery County team.
Brent Ullery, the Centerville coach who was a walk-on receiver for the Buckeyes during the Jim Tressel era, agreed with the notion Day seems to combine some of the traits that defined Meyer and Tressel.
“Ryan definitely does seem like a mixture,” Ullery said. “I also feel like he has his own demeanor and his own humility. I think he’s going to end up being a really good coach, and any good coach will tell you that you’re never going to invent all this stuff on your own.
“You’re going to beg, borrow and steal from other coaches and being at Ohio State where you can learn from Urban Meyer and Jim Tressel and even John Cooper and Woody Hayes, those guys all left something and if he can just take something from each of them and make it his own then he’s going to be successful.”
Day made another trip to Southwest Ohio in January that included a stop at Fairfield, where Jason Krause is the head coach and running back Jutahn McClain is a 2020 four-star prospect and an Ohio State target.
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After meeting Day, Krause noted a difference between his predecessor.
While the 54-year-old Meyer is a future College Football Hall of Famer who arrived at Ohio State as a bona fide coaching star, the 40-year-old Day is just getting started climbing that ladder in his first full-time head coaching gig.
“He just seems like a regular guy,” Krause said. “You don’t feel like he’s on a pedestal. You feel like he’s one of your peers, which is super important for me as a guy who is going to talk to his kids about who they might go play for.”
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