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Greg Schiano’s possible departure and its effect on recruiting
Let’s just get to it: There’s apparently a pretty good chance that Buckeyes defensive coordinator Greg Schiano will be heading to Knoxville, Tenn., to become the next head coach at the University of Tennessee.
It’s a move that’s been rumored for weeks, but that goes back even to last spring, when some sources told Land of 10 “watch out for Tennessee and Schiano if it comes open.”
Sometimes you don’t read too much into that kind of talk because you know that coaches often put out information like that to drive up interest, etc. However, knowing that Butch Jones was on his last breath meant believing this was entirely possible. Schiano and Ohio State weren’t hiding that from recruits.
“The coaching staff warned me before I even committed,” Buckeyes commit Teradja Mitchell told Land of 10 on Sunday. “I’m pretty sure they told everyone else, too, so I don’t think it should be that big of a deal if it was anticipated.
“I’m still 110 percent a Buckeye. This is a business and coaches have to do what’s best for their family. I’ve got nothing but respect for Coach Schiano if he stays or leaves. This situation was hinted about when I visited back in May.”
Mitchell and fellow linebacker commit K’Vaughan Pope went to Twitter and announced that their commitments are rock solid. That is not — and has not — been the case with 4-star safety Jaiden Woodbey. The St. John Bosco (Bellflower, Calif.) defensive back told Land of 10 that Schiano was one of the reasons he’s remained pledged to Ohio State.
“Yes,” Woodbey said when asked if the Buckeyes had mentioned this possibility to him before. “I’m kind of hurt right now. He was the main reason why I was still 100 percent with Ohio State.”
What happens from here with Woodbey is up in the air, but it appears that Schiano’s hiring at Tennessee may be as well. Last season, when rumors around Luke Fickell were swirling, he made it a point to make sure that potential signees had all the information before anyone else, knowing that it was his relationship with them that was fueling the recruit’s Ohio State interest.
In the very least, Schiano and the Buckeyes have done the same here. For players who were waffling before Sunday’s news came, it may provide them with just the reason they were looking for to reopen their recruitment, forthrightness or not.
This is part of football and you’ve got to decide what timeline is best
As Buckeyes fans, you’re probably growing tired of this “every two years” cycle that Ohio State seems to be on with hiring new coaches.
You should get used to it. This is the game of college football now and while there’s no doubt that working with coach Urban Meyer seems to speed up the timeline for upward mobility, there’s nothing wrong with it. It’s part of Meyer’s mystique, his legacy: he’s a head coach creator/curator.
In late 2014, everyone knew Tom Herman was heading out of town, but a playoff run meant he couldn’t head to Houston in December to try to build a recruiting class. If the Buckeyes end up in the College Football Playoff — and Schiano were to take the Tennessee job — he’d have to decide whether to stay on board with Ohio State on his own — he’s not legally required to do that.
When you take over your own program, you have to ask yourself whether you’ll gain more traction on the recruiting trail by jumping into the fray right away or as a potential national champion. Herman waited for a title and it paid off for him, earning him a bit more cachet when he walked into living rooms in Texas.
But the early signing period is changing the game
I think Schiano would prefer to stay with Ohio State until a potential Playoff run is completed, but the early signing period (Dec. 20-22) has changed how coaches must think.
If Schiano — or any assistant — takes a head coaching job somewhere else, they’re forced to look at their new team’s recruiting class and assess how a bunch of teenagers that they’ve likely never spoken to will feel about them in a two-week span while working somewhere 500 miles away.
You can’t risk compromising your future program and job security for your previous one. That’s the debate these coaches are now having, way earlier than they had to even a year ago.
The bottom line is this: Whether Schiano leaves or doesn’t, there will be coaches coming and going from Columbus every year. Meyer’s system and the pressure he puts on his assistants almost guarantees that. Most recruits understand that and accept it. Most end up choosing to put their faith in Meyer and his history as one of the best coaches in college football history rather and his track record of winning national titles and producing NFL draft picks over these moments of uncertainty around a position coach.
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