On Tuesday morning, Ohio State football head coach Urban Meyer announced he will be retiring after the Rose Bowl.
New Year’s Day marks the end of a highly-successful reign.
Over Meyer’s seven years with the program, the Buckeyes have gone 82-9 while appearing in the Orange Bowl, Sugar Bowl, Fiesta Bowl twice, Cotton Bowl, the upcoming Rose Bowl and winning the College Football Championship in 2014.
As Meyer prepares for the final game, the program is glancing toward the future: How will current commits react to his retirement?
Class of 2019
Five-star wide receiver Garrett Wilson (Lake Travis HS, Austin, Texas), the No. 2 WR in the country, reaffirmed his commitment to OSU in an interview with USA TODAY’s Cam Smith on Wednesday morning.
“As soon as I saw Ryan Day was going to be the coach, that made it clear,” Wilson said. “I want to go play for Coach Day, I trust him and my family trusts him. There’s no chance I’m going anywhere but Ohio State.”
It was confirmation of a tweet Wilson sent out the prior day saying he was “1000% committed,” something that was quote-tweeted by three-star RB Marcus Crowley (Trinity Christian Academy, Jacksonville, Fl.)
— Marcus Crowley (@marcus_2334) December 4, 2018
Spring Valley (Huntington, W. Va.) four-star offensive lineman Doug Nester remains solid with the Buckeyes, lauding Meyer’s successor Ryan Day as “A really good coach, and I don’t think it’s a bad choice.”
Nester didn’t seem surprised by the Meyer news when he spoke with USA TODAY’s Brendan Hall on Wednesday morning, saying he had a gut feeling something was going to happen based on his most recent visit to Columbus this past fall.
“I mean, it went really well, all the coaches treated me the same and everything,” Nester said. “But you could tell something was on their minds, you know? They didn’t say anything to me or anything like that, [but] I could just feel something was going to happen.”
Nester is taking his official visit to OSU this weekend, and plans on signing with the Buckeyes in February. But he didn’t slam the door shut on visiting any other schools over the next two months.
“We’ll just have to see,” he said.
Four-star WR Jameson Williams (Cardinal Ritter College Prep, Saint Louis) also said he’s sticking around.
I’m Solid ! 100% #GoBucks
— juiceman (@1of1juiceman) December 4, 2018
This sounds like he hasn’t changed his mind since an interview on Nov. 26, when he said OSU “just became home for me” from all his visits.
However, he did say that he had been hearing from different programs.
Ronnie Hickman, a four-star safety out of DePaul Catholic HS (Wayne, N.J.) hadn’t tweeted anything as of Tuesday, though on Monday, he tweeted photos of an in-home visit from Ohio State defensive coordinator Greg Schiano.
Great home visit with @OSUCoachSchiano. Excited about my future as a buckeye! #GoBucks pic.twitter.com/beKaHoD91d
— Ronnie Hickman (@asvprocket_) December 4, 2018
In mid-October, he said he chose OSU for reasons beyond the football field.
“They have the best of both worlds. I figured if I can’t make it to the next level, play in the NFL, which is my dream, I’m okay with that. I feel like I can benefit with a degree from Ohio State and can still be successful off the field as well,” he said.
Four-star OT Ryan Jacoby (Mentor HS, Ohio) retweeted an Ohio State tweet celebrating Meyer.
Salute to a legend.
Thank you @OSUCoachMeyer for everything you have done for this program, our student-athletes, staff, family, friends, and fans. True greatness. Forever a #Buckeye.#BuckeyeNation, Let’s make this @rosebowlgame one we’ll never forget. O-H!#GoBucks pic.twitter.com/VRcseY1QpM
— Ohio State Football (@OhioStateFB) December 4, 2018
Four-star quarterback Dwan Mathis (Oak Park HS, Belleville, Mich.) tweeted a popular video clip of boxer Deontay Wilder yelling “to this day!” as an answer to the question if Mathis is remains committed.
People-You still committed
— DwanM (@DwanM3) December 4, 2018
Five-star OL Harry Miller (Buford HS, Ga.) tweeted a verse from Proverbs.
Trust in the Lord with all thine heart; and lean not unto thine own understanding. In all thy ways acknowledge him, and he shall direct thy paths. Proverbs 3:5-6
— Harry Miller (@h_miller76) December 4, 2018
In a phone interview in late October, Miller talked about his commitment to Ohio State. He spoke highly of the fan base, community and the university’s willingness to help him achieve his goals.
“I’m very passionate about mission work and they wanted to facilitate that and help that,” he said.
It’s unclear how much impact Meyer had directly with that mindset.
Class of 2020
IMG Academy (Bradenton, Fl.) four-star safety Lejond Cavazos announced his decommitment on Tuesday.
As of that evening, he was the only commit to do so.
St. Xavier (Cincinnati) OT Paris Johnson, the top player in Ohio, posted two photos of himself with Meyer and did not say more.
— Paris Johnson Jr. (@ParisJohnsonJr) December 4, 2018
Jack Miller, a four-star QB out of Chaparral HS (Scottsdale, Ariz.) reaffirmed his commitment.
100% Committed #GoBucks
— Jack Miller (@jackjamesmiller) December 4, 2018
In a text message to the Arizona Republic, his father, Jack Miller Sr., said he expects Day’s offensive to be a fit for his son.
“He was recruited by Coach Day and Coach Meyer for this new explosive passing offense, and Coach Day created it,” Jack Miller Sr., said. “They, as well as others, have confirmed the offense will be run by Coach Day with the same explosiveness.”
Jaxon Smith-Njigba, a four-star WR from Rockwall HS (Texas) retweeted Mathis’ video clip and offered his own affirmation that he too plans to remain committed.
O-H! The train keeps moving 🌰
— Jaxon Smith-Njigba (@jaxon_smith1) December 4, 2018
None of these represent binding contracts. Other programs are still allowed to approach the players until they sign.
However, with so many commits publicly supporting the program, Ohio State can breathe easier.