Ohio State Buckeyes head coach Ryan Day joins the Yahoo Sports Draft Live team of Pete Thamel, Charles Robinson, Eric Edholm and Tank Williams to talk about seeing three players he coached drafted with the top three picks int he NFL Draft.
PETE THAMEL: Ryan Day has just joined us from his home in suburban Columbus, Ohio. And, Ryan, take mute off, if you don't mind, to start because I see you're muted, and we want to hear you. What's-- what's tonight been like for you? You have two of your players and then another Ohio State graduate go in the first three picks in the Draft. What's it been like watching back home?
RYAN DAY: Good. You hear me pretty good?
PETE THAMEL: Yeah, I got you perfect, Ryan. Thanks.
RYAN DAY: Yeah, no, it's been great. It's been a wonderful night. It's one of those nights where, you know, just, you see dreams come true for families and for young men. And to see these guys-- you know, they all have different journeys, but to see it fulfilled, it's great to-- you know, we're doing so much recruiting right now. And to talk to families about the prospect of getting drafted in the first round and to see, you know, guys that, you know, who we're very, very close with in the top three picks go like that, it's a special night.
ERIC EDHOLM: Coach, we were kind of waxing poetic about all the talent that was on the field for that 2017 team-- teams before and after, of course. But what were the practice settings like? How competitive did things get, especially with that particular group, considering we had the top three go tonight all from that group?
RYAN DAY: Oh, I mean, it's always competitive at Ohio State. It's just, just the way it is. That's the reason why, I think, guys get developed and play at such a high level, you know, once they get to the NFL. But the thing that's unique about, you know, obviously, Joe is that, you know, he really started to play his football, obviously, his last year. I think he'd tell you that.
And that, you know, Jeff and Chase, you know, in their third year, by far, had their best year. So, you know, it's just interesting, along the journey of young guys, who are in there competing, and getting better, and having guys who are ahead of them who show them the way. And I think that's what's really cool about Ohio State is just that, you know, there's so many guys year in and year out who show the guys below them the way.
You know, it's hard, though, Jeff, and Chase, and last year with Dwayne and then Bosa, I mean guys who leave after three years, you know. And that's when they really start coming into their own is that third year. And so that's hard for us, but it's exciting as well.
TANK WILLIAMS: Hey, Coach, Tank Williams here. It seems like you guys, along with LSU, are always arguing about who's DBU. But I think y'all kind of take the cake now. So just tell me, how have you been able to recruit these guys into the school, but then at the same time, make sure that they live up to their potential and become some of the best players in the nation?
RYAN DAY: Yeah, I mean, it starts with recruiting, building relationships. But I think the big thing that we talk about all the time is finding young, talented people who are learning about discipline and skill. And I think that's one of the hardest things, when you get super talented guys, discipline and skill is hard to find. And when the two of those things come together, that's when something special happens. And I just think that when you hear the stories of, you know, you'll watch "The Last Dance" with Michael Jordan or, you know-- also some of the greatest athletes in the history of all sports, it's just that they find that timing of great talent and potential mixed in with discipline and skill, and then it just takes off.
You know, even like Kobe, you know, listen to his story, it was like when he was 15 years old, and that, you know, he was terrible when he was like 11 and 12. And then all of a sudden, he just started working at it and it just came together. And I find that, you know, for these-- all three of these guys, it was this year.
You know, for Joe, it was his fifth year. For these guys, it was their third year. You know, all three of these teams are getting some really great players and generational talent.
PETE THAMEL: Ryan, I'm curious if you can give us maybe a little peek into the Ohio State recruiting operation. Mark Pantoni's been there since the post-Tressel era. And he's been a bedrock of that program as it's been built.
Again, as I said earlier, you have the number one class right now for 2021. You're in the-- ahead, in the lead for that. What makes Mark and his department, combined with, obviously, the work the coaches do, such an operation and such a machine?
RYAN DAY: Well, I just think Mark does an unbelievable job of evaluating talent. He doesn't just watch highlight films. He watches games and gives us real information and feedback. Then he also knows the landscape throughout the country of college football and what we're looking for. And so when he can look me in the eye and just tell me that, you know, as a young kid, hey, listen, we should offer this guy, then and I believe him because I know of his body of work.
And when you have somebody like that you can trust, it just makes things a lot easier. It's just much more efficient. And he understands the game. He communicates well with the recruits, with the parents, with the coaches. And because of that, you know, you can see why we're doing so well.
MICHELLE GINGRAS: All right, well, that's why these guys get paid the big bucks. I had some technical difficulties, so I missed most of this chat. Hi, Coach, nice to meet you. I'm Michelle.
RYAN DAY: Hi, Michelle.
MICHELLE GINGRAS: Thank you so much for joining us and taking the time and congratulations to your young players as they embark on the next chapter in their lives.