Programs all across the country put the finishing touches on their 2020 recruiting classes on Wednesday as National Signing Day came and went. For Ryan Day and the Ohio State Buckeyes, however, the day was merely a formality as the newest crop of Buckeyes has been wrapped up since the Dec. 18 early signing period.
Many of the recruits who signed in December — 14 to be exact — are already enrolled at Ohio State and are taking part in the team’s winter workouts, something that has Day very excited as spring practice grows closer.
“I’m really excited about this class because we’re here on National Signing Day and we’ve already had our second mat drill (with the early enrollees) and almost four weeks under our belts with our guys,” Day said. “I couldn’t be more impressed with the way they’ve worked. They’re very serious, they’re a great fit, and they’re great kids. The future is bright.”
One new name was added to the class on Wednesday in Muskegon, Michigan standout Cameron Martinez, who had long been a verbal commitment to Ohio State before the departure of co-defensive coordinator Jeff Hafley forced Martinez to re-evaluate his decision.
After meeting with incoming defensive coordinator Kerry Coombs, Martinez reaffirmed his commitment to Ohio State last week and submitted his Letter of Intent yesterday to become the 24th and final member of the 2020 class.
“We’re very excited to have Cam,” Day said at his press conference on Wednesday. “I thought he and his family handled things really well with Jeff leaving and then Kerry jumping in. (Cam) really handled it like a pro.”
Martinez, a four-star athlete, played quarterback in high school but was recruited as a defensive back. However, Day called him “one of the most under-recruited kids in the country” and said he will have the opportunity to have an early impact at a number of different positions.
“We’re going to give him an opportunity to play on either side of the ball when he first gets in, which is unique,” Day said. “This is somebody who played quarterback in high school and was very productive, but he doesn’t have a lot of experience playing any other position. So, we’re going to allow him to do both, do some returning, and figure out where that goes.”
The loss of J.K. Dobbins to the NFL has put an increased emphasis on identifying the next great back at Ohio State. Throughout the 2020 recruiting cycle, Day and running backs coach Tony Alford looked to sign two running backs to restock the group. That plan did not pan out how they would have liked, although they were able to secure one in Miyan Williams, a Cincinnati product.
Running back will be a heavy focus for the staff heading into the 2021 cycle, although Day left the door open for Martinez, perhaps, being the second running back they missed on in this class. Asked if Martinez could ultimately wind up playing in the backfield for the Buckeyes, Day said, “He could be … he has the ability to do that.”
Day said Martinez will begin at the H-back position on offense when he arrives on campus, which will involve taking some handoffs in the backfield. From there, Day said Martinez could end up going a lot of places, which is exactly why they are so high on him.
“Who knows (what he can do),” Day said. “We don’t know, that’s what’s exciting about (Martinez), and I think he does have the ability. Or he can go play the nickel or go play corner (on defense).”
Day added that Martinez will be allowed to have “a lot of feedback” and influence in determining where he ultimately winds up playing.
Reach Dillon Davis at 740-413-0904. Follow him on Twitter @DillonDavis56.