Buckeye Bulletin: A Look Ahead to 2016 Recruiting and Coaching Options Post-Drayton


It’s been a blast Class of 2015!

It was another great National Signing Day (NSD) as the Buckeyes finished 6th in the country, locking up another top 10 class. Front-lined by 5-star OLB Justin Hilliard, DE Jashon Cornell, and QB Torrance Gibson, this class will be able to make a big impact immediately. This class included 27 commits (one 5-star, 14 4-stars, and 11 3-stars), the most since 2009, in which they had 29 recruits. However, recruits weren’t the only thing this class brought. It also brought quite a bit of publicity to Columbus, and unfortunately wasn’t the good kind.

When Jim Harbaugh arrived at Michigan he had already missed much of the Wolverines recruiting process. He chose to focus his attention on in-state running back Mike Weber. Weber, who played for Cass Tech in Detroit, MI, had previously committed to Ohio State, but in the month before NSD seemed to waver in his choice. What originally seemed like a runaway for the Buckeyes, became a dogfight with their bitter rivals for the services of the talented running back. So, on NSD Weber made his choice: Ohio State. Of course, being from Michigan this decision was incredibly tough, but he believed that Ohio State was the way to go. Then disaster struck.

Running back coach Stan Drayton, who had been with Ohio State since 2011, took a job as the running back coach for the Chicago Bears just one day after NSD. Weber, who had said that Drayton was a big part of his recruitment took to twitter after hearing the news.

For a young man who had just “betrayed” his home state in one of the most difficult decision of his life, this news was crushing. It also sparked a torrential hailstorm of anger upon Ohio State. It looked a bit shady, having a key recruiter for Weber announce his departure just one day after NSD. People were suspicious of the Buckeyes and who can blame them? However, it now seems that Drayton was only offered the job on Thursday. There were talks prior to NSD, but the interview and job offer occurred after NSD, which certainly makes this whole fiasco look a better for Ohio State. Weber did sign his letter of intent. However, Ohio State can release him if they choose in the next few months, which would allow him to go elsewhere.

More from Ohio State Football

Weber isn’t the only commit who has cited Stan Drayton as a big part of their commitment. 2016 #1 RB Kareem Walker also lauded Drayton, and felt they had a great connection. Though we do not yet know Walker’s thoughts, it was apparent that though Drayton was big for him, Urban Meyer, the RB culture/history, and the system played as big of, if not a bigger role than Coach Drayton. Walker and Ohio State will meet to talk over the weekend.

What was almost blown under the rug is the fact that Ohio State now has a vacancy they need to fill at RB coach. It shouldn’t be hard to find a replacement for a job given, the fact that they have early Heisman favorite Ezekiel Elliott in the backfield, not to mention the Buckeyes being quite the prestigious program. Here are a few names that are being tossed around as options to replace Stan Drayton.

Tony Alford, RB Coach, Notre Dame Alford is known across the country as being an excellent RB coach and an even better recruiter. His relationship with Coach Meyer goes back to Alford’s senior year at Colorado State, where Urban Meyer was a WR coach at the time. Alford has been at Notre Dame since 2010, while also coaching at Iowa State, Kent State, and Mt. Union. With both Walker and Weber most likely needing some convincing, Alford brings a well-respected name to the table. He also has many ties to big name recruits that the Buckeyes are interested in. Alford is the clear front-runner and is rumored to be Urban Meyer’s #1 choice for the job. His will decide his future by early next week.

Thomas Brown, RB Coach, Wisconsin Brown is definitely the youngest option, but he already brings a great track record. He has only been at Wisconsin for a year, but it was the year that Melvin Gordon bloomed into a Heisman candidate. Brown already coaches in the Big Ten, and previously coached for Marshall and Chattanooga. When it comes to recruiting, he is best in his home state of Georgia, a hot bed for talent, Pennsylvania and New Jersey (Kareem Walker).

Tom Hinton, TE Coach, Ohio State One of the few options already in the Buckeye’s coaching staff, Hinton previously coached running backs at programs such as Notre Dame and Cincinnati. Though he is not known for his recruiting ability, he does bring an already terrific knowledge of Ohio State’s offense. If Hinton were named the RB coach his transition would most likely be the smoothest.

Prediction: Tony Alford- He is the biggest available name, has already proven himself and is Meyer’s first choice. He could choose to stay in South Bend, but with all the coaching changes that have occurred there this summer, and a National Champion calling, it could prove too much.

Whichever direction Urban Meyer chooses to go, Buckeye fans can be confident with his decision. Meyer’s coaching tree speaks for itself.

A Look Ahead to 2016 Recruiting

College football recruiting never ends, the second NSD is over coaches, recruiters, and scouts turn their attention to the next batch of potential commits. Some teams already have their foundations for the next class set up. Ohio State is one of those teams.   The Buckeyes have already received commitments from six recruits, all 4 or 5 stars, including Kareem Walker (#1 RB), Jake Hausmann (#3 TE), and George Hill (#4 RB). This group currently sits at 5th nationally according to 247Sports, just behind Florida State, TCU, Ole Miss, and current #1 Miami (FL). 2016 could be a big year for Buckeye recruiting with tons of in state talent, and the benefit of being the defending National Champions.

Here are a few recruits to keep your eyes on:

Kareem Walker (DePaul Catholic, NJ)-#1 RB, #9 OVR, 5-Star   Though he already committed, the situation with Stan Drayton may have changed his mind. Walker is an elite recruit and will garner a lot of attention across the nation from recruiters. He remains committed at this moment, but we will have to wait until Ohio State and Walker talk to know where he is at.

Confidence: 75%

Greg Little (Allen, TX)-#1 OT, #1 OVR, 5-Star Little has already committed to Texas A&M but has yet to visit many other schools. His first visit to Ohio State is coming up and he has said that he is very impressed by Ohio State and Urban Meyer. He could prove difficult to flip, but seeing as this is very early on in the recruiting process, it wouldn’t be out of the question.

Confidence: 30%

Rashan Gary (Paramus Catholic, NJ)-#1 DT, #2 OVR, 5-Star Gary is on this list mostly because his connection to Kareem Walker. Walker and Gary are close friends, so if Walker chooses to stay with the Buckeyes, it could help sway Gary toward the Buckeyes. Gary is an extremely talented prospect and would be a center piece on the defensive line.

Confidence: 35%

Nick Bosa (St. Thomas Aquinas, FL)- #2 DE, #18 OVR, 5-Star  Cris Carter stunned the world a little while back saying “Joey is not gonna like this, but Nick might be better than his brother.” Nick Bosa has yet to visit any schools other than Ohio State, but even with those visits, he will be hard pressed to pass up on the program that turned his brother into a superstar. He already has a close connection with much of the coaching staff, not to mention that Cris Carter, a former Buckeye, is a member of the St. Thomas Aquinas coaching staff.

Confidence: 85%

Quick Hits-Recruits to Watch

Prince Sammons-#10 DE, #70 OVR, 4-star (Confidence:25%)

Michal Menet-#7 OT, #46 OVR, 4-star (Confidence:40%)

Levonta Taylor-#2 CB # 24 OVR, 5-star (Confidence: 40%)

Liam Eichenberg-#10 OT, #80 OVR, 4-star (Confidence: 80%)

Confidence will go up and down as more information becomes available and as the recruiting process moves along

Fun Photo

Post-National Championship isn’t all fun and games for Heisman candidate Ezekiel Elliott. In fact, this week it was downright painful. Elliott had to get his wisdom teeth removed and had a picture taken to commemorate this moment.

Elliott would proceed to go on a tweeting frenzy, likely attributed to the painkillers.

Urban and the Buckeyes have a busy couple months ahead of them. They have to deal with the fallout from Coach Drayton’s departure, talk to both Kareem Walker and Mike Weber, begin recruiting for next year, and plan for Spring practices. What they choose to do next will be paramount in the foundations for the future, and in building another title contender.