Dwayne Haskins knew exactly what he was doing.
Saturday at 10:47 am, he entered the Ohio Stadium for the spring match by the same doors he had borrowed 364 days ago. But instead of the scarlet sweatshirt, headband, headphones around the ear, backpack and gray football pants wrapped with pads underneath, he wore a black sweatshirt with jogging pants Black and a watch worthy of fashion, next quarter of the first round of the NFL. And rather than swinging his knee in his right hand as he headed for the locker room, he had his right arm draped around Justin Fields.
The photographers took pictures of the duo quarterback. The reporters captured videos of them smiling and chatting as they entered the stadium together.
A complete and total show. Exactly what Ryan Day was hoping for. And things were just starting to go up.
Even with Urban Meyer not found, Ohio State managed to turn the spring game into what sometimes felt at the beginning of the afternoon as an extravagance of recruitment and a reunion of former players rather than a real football match. A seemingly limitless supply of high school prospects has surrounded the field with dozens of NFL players.
Maximizing brand awareness is as important as any task for a university football head coach in a dynamic program. While everything on the field on Saturday aimed to prepare the Buckeyes for the 2019 season, what was happening around that served to put the program in an advantageous position in the future.
The tunnel located in the southeast corner of the Ohio Stadium was de facto a red carpet for the stars – or, in fact, for the four and five stars.
First come a 2020 engagement trio: five-star offensive striker Paris Johnson Jr., four-star cornerback Lejond Cavazos and four-star quarterback Jack Miller.
Johnson, the world No. 4 in its class, has worried fans of the Ohio State recently, touring the SEC with tours to Tennessee, Alabama, LSU and Georgia. But the playmaker, the imposing lineman, went down the tunnel with Miller – the quarterback of the team – and Cavazos, who signed for the second time in front of the Buckeyes on Friday night.
Johnson has apparently flirted with the disengagement of the state of Ohio due to Meyer's retirement, but he remains in the 2020 category at eight players. Miller, whose father is friends with Meyer, is committed to playing for the Buckeyes in part because of the retired head coach, but he stays in the class. Cavazos actually resigned when Meyer announced his impending retirement, but Day helped bring him back into the fold.
Meyer was not at Ohio Stadium on Saturday. But these three perspectives were, and they opened the floodgates.
Lejond Cavazos, Paris Johnson and Jack Miller are at the stage of Ohio for the spring match. pic.twitter.com/f0LGNYyYhd
– Colin Hass-Hill (@chasshill) April 13, 2019
Cade Stover, a four-star linebacker from Lexington, made an appearance with Jakob James, a three-star Cincinnati star, enlisted in 2020. Trey Leroux, a three-star striker from Norwalk, entered the stadium.
Darrion Henry, an uncommitted defensive end of Cincinnati, ventured into the tunnel 10 minutes after the arrival of Johnson, a Cincinnatian compatriot.
More and more people were coming.
Jack Sawyer, the defensive end of 2021, ranked five stars. Najee Story, defensive final target in 2021 to four stars. Kyle McCord quarterback 2021. 2020 LV LV Broadband Receiver Bunkley-Shelton. 2020 2020 Wide Target Receiver Marvin Harrison Jr. 2020 Wide Receiver Receiver 2020: Jaxon Smith-Njigba. Donovan Jackson, striker 4 stars 2021, aims. Jayden Ballard, target of the 2021 wide four-star receiver. Harry Miller, five stars from the center 2019 The four-star linebacker 2021, Yanni Karlaftis. Reid Carrico, the 2021 four-star linebacker, received an offer from the Buckeyes on Saturday before the spring match.
And this is just a preview of the prospect's procession. They lay the ground before the match.
Sawyer and Henry stood on the grass to watch the defensive line players warm up. Stover spoke with Sam Hubbard. Jack Miller walked on the field with Haskins to stand alongside Justin Fields and Matthew Baldwin while they were warming up.
All made the trip to Columbus to see the Buckeyes play their first game of the Day era. The Ohio State has therefore ensured that they have a taste of the star by welcoming as many old players as possible.
During a break in the first period, a group of players from the team last year – Haskins, Dr. Jones' Mount, Johnnie Dixon, Michael Jordan, Mike Weber, Terry McLaurin , Isaiah Prince and a few others – went to the middle of the field to receive their match. Rings Party-Big Ten, Rings Party-Rose Bowl.
Braxton Miller, Ezekiel Elliott, Curtis Samuel, Malik Hooker, Ted Ginn Jr. and Michael Thomas have brought attraction. Marshon Lattimore and Denzel Ward, two NFL first-round picks, were joined by Pat Elflein, a former Rimington Trophy winner. Bobby Carpenter worked as a junior reporter for Big Ten Network and Eddie George was the honorary captain of the team.
Parris Campbell, Curtis Samuel, Terry McLaurin and Johnnie Dixon. pic.twitter.com/2rUDvzIEjt
– Colin Hass-Hill (@chasshill) April 13, 2019
The Buckeyes may have enough former players to form a full team, but they were not there to take part in the match. Ohio State wanted them to recruit in Columbus because their mere presence attracts future talents who hope to become the next version of the pros.
"Mike Thomas came into my office yesterday and had a rookie inside, and he spent 15 to 20 minutes with us, just to talk about what it means, the NFL and the fraternity that's going on. they have Ohio State Buckeyes guys come back and support the guys who are here right now, "said Day. "It's a special group, you can see, when you drive, you go from guy to guy.It's not just old Buckeyes.It's great players of The NFL is an excellent former Buckeye and all-American conference players – it's just remarkable – when you get along with these guys, the excellence that you are around. "
Even before the game ends, photos of recruits posing with former Ohio State players have begun appearing on social media.
It was crazy … I had the opportunity to meet @Cantguardmike a few times this week. Someone I admire as a player and as a person. Enjoy the encouraging words. Unforgettable moment. # Zone6 #GoBucks pic.twitter.com/5c5H3HSS6V
– Marvin Harrison Jr. (@MarvHarrisonJr) April 13, 2019
Meyer understood the recruiting game. Everything, including the spring match, has become a showcase of recruitment. No matter what to interest prospects while building the Ohio State football brand and winning or preparing to win matches.
Day followed Meyer's advance Saturday. He invited the former Buckeyes and the best rookies to watch the current team, a formula that has proven itself.
Winning, ultimately, will determine the outcome of the program. But by combining the past, present and future, Day did everything in his power to make the state of Ohio a desirable program for his first game, even if it was only an exhibition.