Looking past the recruiting rankings, we take a look at what all of Ryan Day’s quarterback recruits have in common.
The Ohio State Buckeyes recently received a verbal commitment from class of 2024 quarterback and No. 1 player in the country according to 247Sports, Dylan Raiola from Chandler High School (Chandler, AZ).
Since Ryan Day came to Columbus for the 2017 season, the Buckeyes have landed five top-50 recruits at the quarterback position, and also brought in former five-star recruit Justin Fields through the transfer portal. The recruiting under Day at the quarterback position has arguably been the best in the country over that time period. Looking at more than the recruiting rankings, Day is looking for an extremely particular type of quarterback when he recruits.
When it comes to what Day is looking for when recruiting a quarterback, it starts with the person first, high football acumen second, physical tools third, and then the physical builds of the players fourth. When we look at the player profiles of every quarterback who has been recruited by Day since his arrival, there is a definitive look and feel to all of them. This is also why he has been able to build out such a talented quarterback room.
Ryan Day comes from an NFL background, and in the case of his quarterbacks he looks for players who come from high level football backgrounds. This includes state championship level programs, former NFL players as coaches, and playing in high school programs that run offenses that actually prepare quarterbacks for college.
The most recent commitment Raiola comes from a football family — his dad Dominic Raiola was an All-American center and played in the NFL for 13 years. Dylan Raiola played for his Dad’s former teammate – and former NFL quarterback – Jon Kitna, who coached Raiola at Burleson High School. This is not the only quarterback Day has recruited with a former NFL player as a head coach.
Devin Brown – a Top-50 player in 247Sports’ Composite rankings – played for former Ohio State quarterback Joe Germaine, who was the head coach of Brown at Queen Creek High School (Queen Creek, AZ). Germaine ran the same offense the St. Louis Rams ran when he was a player for them. This gave Brown a pro-style background and gave him a solid foundation heading into his final season of high school. There he played in the same offense that produced first-round pick Zach Wilson and another Division-I football player in Jaxson Dart.
Brown and Raiols have incredible backgrounds for football coming in, but that doesn’t mean Kyle McCord, C.J. Stroud, Quinn Ewers, and Jack Miller didn’t. McCord played in a state championship level program in Philadelphia, and at a school that has put out NFL players in the past. Stroud comes from the talent rich state of California playing in a modern quarterback friendly offense, and Miller played in an offense under Brent Barnes at Chaparral High School (Scottsdale, AZ) in a high octane RPO/Vertical Passing offense.
When looking at all of the quarterbacks Day has brought in, high level high school offenses and winning programs seem to be the place to start. The last two quarterback commits have connections to the NFL, and every quarterback has won at a high level.
Ryan Day has coached three First Round NFL Draft picks at quarterback since arriving at Ohio State in 2017. The list of Dwayne Haskins Jr., Justin Fields, and now C.J. Stroud all have incredibly strong arms and natural athletic ability. Fields was more athletic than both Stroud and Haskins, but the overall strengths of being able shape throws, be accurate to all levels, and being able to improvise when needed are the physical tools he his looking for.
We’ve seen that with the first three, but looking at the incoming players we can see that they fit the same profile as the previous quarterbacks. Starting with Jack Miller, Miller is big and athletic. He also was able to deliver the ball to all three levels of the field with accuracy and on the move. McCord arguably has the strongest arm of the bunch, and fits into the same category as a potential passer as his three potential predecessors. Brown’s senior highlight tape puts the type of arm talent and accuracy Ryan Day is looking for at that level into incredible perspective. Now, Raiola has taken that expectation to the next level with his Josh Allen and Patrick Mahomes comparisons.
Below we can take look at three high light tapes from Miller, Brown, and Raiola to see how they compare. In these highlight mixes you can see the arm strength, accuracy to multiple levels of the field, and incredible playmaking ability.
Once you have the first two boxes on this checklist marked off, then you get to Ryan Day’s ideal physical build at of a quarterback. After getting all the high school quarterbacks Day has recruited their height averaged out to be 6-foot-3 and their weight was 208 pounds. This is the prototypical size of an incoming quarterback, and the heights are extremely valuable to NFL evaluations when it comes to looking the part. Having six quarterbacks come in fitting the exact same – or at least incredibly similar – physical statures does not happen on accident.
Looking at the current 2023 class, the quarterbacks that Ohio State has been linked with have fallen short of this physical profile, which definitely plays into the initial evaluation. Even taking a look at J.T. Barrett, Dwayne Haskins, and Justin Fields, they all fall into the same physical profile. You combine the stature with the physical tools and high level football back ground, and you get an Ohio State quarterback. Even with Stroud coming in smaller than every other quarterback, in his time at Ohio State he already has his weight up to 218 pounds, and that gives Devin Brown some hope.
Now there could be some exceptions if a quarterback is incredibly gifted in the first two areas of quarterbacking. As of now, we have seen a definitive type of quarterback in all three categories under Day when it comes to recruiting a quarterback.
Ohio State under Ryan Day has had two quarterbacks taken in the first round of the NFL Draft and third almost certainly on his way. There are articles about Ohio State becoming QBU all over the internet, which says a lot about what you need to know about Ryan Day’s quarterback evaluation skills. Day is also recruiting from the top, giving him access to the highest level quarterbacks allowing him to be truly selective in who he goes after.
We saw in the three highlight mixes what Ohio State quarterbacks should look like at the high school level. The ability to throw to all three levels, with different velocities and when improvising, all show up immediately when you watch any of the quarterbacks’ high school tapes. Coming from a high level offense, NFL coaching, and high character high school programs is definitely in the formula as well.
Day does not recruit quarterbacks who can’t do a little bit of everything. It’s a requirement of his offense. Every quarterback he has recruited has been incredibly successful at the high school level, and this has built him into one of the greatest talent collectors in quarterback recruiting. Ohio State fans should be excited, and with the commitment of Dylan Raiola earlier this week, it doesn’t look like this trend of elite quarterback recruiting is slowing down.