Ohio State Football: The impact of WR coach Zach Smith’s firing

GLENDALE, AZ - DECEMBER 31: Marcus Edmond
GLENDALE, AZ - DECEMBER 31: Marcus Edmond /
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Smith’s strength has always been as a recruiter. He’s able to genuinely connect to high school players, and is a visible, vocal presence on social media. Named the Big Ten’s recruiter of the year in 2014, he was elevated to staff recruiting coordinator the following season after helping to land players like Jalyn Holmes and Noah Brown.

Smith was heavily involved in this year’s commitment of the highest ranked receiver recruit of the Urban Meyer era, Texas WR Garrett Wilson.

Wilson says he’s still 100% committed in the wake of Smith’s dismissal. But the loss of such a strong recruiter could hurt a class that’s still looking to add 3 receivers — two of whom reside in Smith’s geographic area of St. Louis.

Ohio State still leads in the crystal ball predictions for Marcus Washington and Jameson Williams, but there’s no telling what impact Smith’s departure could have on those recruitments.

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In the short-term, expect the other big dogs on the staff to step in and take on some of Smith’s duties. Ryan Day and Urban Meyer carry a lot of weight on the recruiting trail. Increasing their personal presence with the most crucial players should mitigate the damage caused by Smith’s firing

In the long-term, expect Meyer to at least kick the tires on several coaches with more recruiting experience than Hartline. Here are some big name options who have worked with Meyer in the past.

Former Kentucky head coach Joker Philips, who served on the OSU staff as a quality control assistant in 2016; Denver Broncos assistant Zach Azzanni, who worked with Meyer in the same capacity at Florida and would bring instant NFL credibility; and Billy Gonzales, who serves as co-offensive coordinator in Gainesville and worked with Meyer there until 2009.

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If all else fails, remember that Meyer cut his teeth as a receivers coach under Lou Holtz at Notre Dame. While Smith’s dismissal is a painful blow to the program, there is virtually no chance The Master allows the recent developments to derail the march to a title.