After a disappointing end to the season for the Ohio State football team, Ryan Day needed to find a win somewhere to get this program back on track. Many of Ohio State’s top players announced that they were going to play in the Cotton Bowl, which was an important first step in the right direction for Day, but as more smoke began to circulate that several of the top 2024 commitments were going to sign elsewhere, things looked dark for Day once again.
First, there was running back Jordan Lyle, who de-committed from Ohio State two days before signing day after flirting with Miami for months. This wasn’t a shock for anyone who had been paying attention to Ohio State recruiting and saw the writing on the wall given how many unofficial visits he had made to Miami at the end of the season.
However, Lyle’s de-commitment was the precursor to what was going to happen leading up to signing day. Many recruiting experts were reporting that Ohio State was going to also lose three other possible commits including both 5-star studs Jeremiah Smith and Eddrick Houston. Then there was also high four-star wide receiver Jeremiah McClellan, who despite being committed to Ohio State, was having crystal ball flips to Oregon.
On Tuesday, December 19, with the message boards and the internet in general in an uproar over Day and his staff losing possible multiple huge pieces in the 2024 recruiting class, the bat signal was sent out by Ohio State collective, The 1870 Society, via a call for donations.
With a call for help from one of the nation’s largest alumni organizations and fanbase, no doubt the donations started to come in. I have been under the assumption that this call was made due to the fact that Ohio State was in a bidding war for Smith, Houston, and McClellan. There is only so much money to go around and with the collective being the organization with the negotiating power, it had to feel like a helpless situation for Day and the rest of the coaching staff.
As signing day made its way throughout the morning, most of the class signed as expected, but those three remained unsigned until news broke that McClellan had indeed flipped to Oregon. That was the third big recruit Day had lost down the stretch with the other two being Lyle and Justin Scott, both to Miami.
Things looked bleak for Ohio State to hold onto Smith and Houston. Day had officially lost all momentum and the negativity amongst Buckeye fans on social media had once again reared its ugly head. But then it happened.
After Day had begun his press conference on Wednesday, Smith announced that he was going to honor his initial commitment and be a Buckeye. This announcement created what will go down as an iconic moment in Day’s career as he fake-fainted upon hearing the news.
Day then took a phone call during the press conference that seemed to give him an even bigger smile on his face. After the press conference was over, we learned that Houston had also decided to honor his commitment, thus saving the class for Day and giving Ohio State another top-five recruiting class.
I have to believe that The 1870 Society was able to save these commitments due to the extra funds that was sent in by Buckeye Nation. I don’t know if we will ever learn the truth of what really happened behind the scenes, but it sure looks like Buckeye Nation may have saved this recruiting class for Ohio State.
Next up for Day will be winning the Cotton Bowl, giving the Buckeyes a 12-1 record on the season along with a victory over an SEC team, which is always something to celebrate. Day will then be expected to fill some holes on the roster via the transfer portal, which he and the Buckeyes staff have avoided using thus far this off-season.