Football

Ryan Day Is An Interested Observer At NFL Combine

The eyes of the football world are on Indianapolis as the NFL Scouting Combine is underway with the first on-field drills slated to start on Thursday evening.

While NFL types are looking at their players of tomorrow many college coaches are watching players that they have had the chance to work with, either for as little as a year or as many as five or more years.

Ohio State head coach Ryan Day made it way to Lucas Oil Stadium on Thursday to check out a pair of wide receivers that have first round grades as the Buckeyes at one point had three receivers all slated for the first round with Chris Olave, Garrett Wilson and Jameson Williams.

As we all know, Williams transferred to Alabama, giving rise to Jaxon Smith-Njigba in Columbus (Ohio) as each had remarkable seasons.

Day joined the hosts on NFL Network during an on-set piece to talk about what promises to be one of the biggest days of the young lives of these players. Who might put up the best 40-yard-dash time between Wilson and Olave? Williams is injured and won’t be working out, but it should be a good race between the other two.

“In the 40? I don’t know, will be interesting to see,” Day said. “You know, Garrett is somebody that when he puts his mind to something, he gets a lot of things done. So, I’d be interested to see him run. Maybe Chris might be a touch faster, but I think it’ll be close.”

There are plenty of pass-catchers from Ohio State already in the NFL with players like Michael Thomas, Terry McLaurin and others with Olave and Wilson both locks to hear their names early in the upcoming draft in late-April. What has been the secret to Ohio State’s success in developing players for the next level?

“It starts with recruiting and just identifying the right type of people that want to come in and work and be elite and go against great players every day in practice,” Day said. “I feel like, Brian Hartline does a great job recruiting and you know, developing and then you know, Mickey Marotti does as good a job as anybody in strength and conditioning and getting guys going.”

But coaching only gets these players so far and it upon the player themselves to stive and demand greatness.

“It’s the players, every day. They want to come in at work and get better every day in practice,” Day added. “And then they love playing on the big stage.”

Ohio State is one of the “it” programs when it comes to putting players in the league and Ohio State will be well-represented after the 2022 draft, even if it may be a bit of a smaller number than in years past, but looking at what is coming back for the ’22 season in Columbus, it is just part of the ebb and flow of turnover.

The Buckeyes are not shy about their NFL pedigree and letting prospective Ohio State players know that all of the opportunities run through the WHAC.

“It’s part of recruiting, when you sit down with somebody in their home, and you talk to them about coming in and developing and playing for championships,” Day said. “But then going on to play for your dream and develop into an NFL player is what it’s all about. But there’s a lot that goes into that there’s a lot of hard work early morning workouts to get to this point. And this is what these guys dream about.”

The Buckeyes will have a third player for Thursday night with tight end Jeremy Ruckert, despite the fact that Ruckert has opted not to run. Often times Ohio State tight ends are overlooked by fans as they do not put up huge numbers within the program but NFL scouts are excited about what Ruckert can do and Day is in town support him as well.

“He made a lot of big plays did a really good job in the redzone,” Day said. “He’s a mismatch for a lot of guys in the secondary but he does it all. You can see the way he blocks, the way he runs routes, the way he protects. You have to be able to do all three to be a complete player. I think he’s a complete player. And I think he’s had a really good NFL career.”

Ohio State will have four more players going through their paces over the next several days with offensive linemen Thayer Munford and Nicholas Petit-Frere set to do their workouts on Friday and defensive linemen Tyreke Smith and Haskell Garrett will see their position groups go on Saturday.