Ohio State gets first big W for new coach Day on signing day
By RALPH D. RUSSO
The Associated Press
Zach Harrison is one of the most highly touted recruits in the country, and he goes to high school 15 miles from Ohio State.
Yet not until Wednesday, the first day of the early signing period, did the 6-foot-6, 245-pound defensive end commit to the Buckeyes, giving incoming coach Ryan Day his first victory as Urban Meyer’s replacement.
“Huge,” Day said. “This was one of those ones we had to win.”
Harrison’s choice, streamed out over Olentangy Orange High School’s website, was maybe the most intriguing development of what can now be considered the new signing day. This is year two of the early signing period in college football and just like last year, most of the scholarships have been scooped up. The traditional signing period in early February will mostly be for finishing touches.
“It’s not an early signing date, it’s the signing date,” Alabama coach Nick Saban said.
Alabama has already signed most of a class that was already considered the best in the country and added a couple more five stars on top of that. Ahead of the Crimson Tide’s latest College Football Playoff appearance and national championship pursuit, Saban has already locked up another recruiting title.
The Southeastern Conference is primed to have the four highest-rated recruiting classes after the early period ends Friday. According to 247 Sports’ composite rankings of major recruiting websites, Alabama is No. 1, followed by Georgia, Texas A&M and LSU.
Oregon rounded out the top five, the one interloper amid the usual suspects in a top 10 that included Clemson, Oklahoma and Michigan.
Ohio State has mostly lived in the top five during Meyer’s remarkable seven-year run as Buckeyes coach. But with a small class (the Buckeyes signed 15 and don’t have room for much more), and some uncertainty about Meyer’s future throughout the season, the Buckeyes trailed both Michigan and Penn State in the Big Ten in the recruiting rankings much of the fall.
Meyer announced his retirement earlier this month. Day will take over after the No. 5 Buckeyes play No. 9 Washington in the Rose Bowl on Jan. 1.
The 39-year-old Day is a first-time college head coach after spending two seasons as offensive coordinator for Meyer. Meyer is 82-9 at Ohio State and if Day is going to even come close to keeping up that level of success, it starts on the recruiting trail.
Harrison is a five-star recruit who was also considering Michigan and Penn State. He had kept his recruitment relatively quiet. Not until he unzipped his jacket to reveal an Ohio State T-shirt did the suspense end.
“It’s been a long process,” Day said. “His head coach had a lot to do with this. (Ohio State defensive line coach) Larry Johnson has been recruiting Zach Harrison for a long time. Urban was a part of it.”
Meanwhile, the University of Hawaii football team secured commitments from 13 recruits, including three from Oahu — defensive back Tiger Peterson of Kamehameha Kapalama, linebacker Darius Muasau of Mililani and offensive lineman Arasi Mose of Saint Louis.
UH Early Signing Class
Name Pos. Ht. Wt. Cl. Hometown/ Last school
Zach Bowers LB 6-0 215 Fr. Chandler, Ariz. / Chandler HS
Zach Daniel QB 6-0 190 Fr. Houston, Texas / The Kinkaid School
Cortez Davis DB 5-11 178 Jr. Flowery Branch, Ga. / Itawamba CC
Steven Fiso ATH 6-2 191 Fr. Aua, American Samoa / Faga’itua HS
Tauivi Ho Ching LB 6-1 230 Jr. Nuuuli, Am. Samoa / Mt. San Antonio College
Arasi Mose OL 6-5 345 Fr. Honolulu, Oahu / Saint Louis School
Darius Muasau LB 6-1 225 Fr. Mililani, Oahu / Mililani HS
Tiger Peterson DB 6-1 195 Fr. Honolulu, Oahu / Kamehameha Kapalama
James Phillips WR 5-9 155 So. Menifee, Calif. / Mt. San Jacinto College
Jared Smart WR 6-0 180 Jr. Dublin, Calif. / Laney College
Melquise Stovall WR 5-9 190 Jr. Lancaster, Calif. / Riverside City College
Mason Vega DL 6-3 265 Fr. Rancho Cucamonga, Calif. / Chaffey College
Kaimana “Bubba” Wa’a OL 6-2 293 Fr. Corvallis, Ore. / Crescent Valley HS