Early Signings Dampen Traditional Signing-Day Hoopla

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Ohio Football’s 2018 signing-class’ news conference came with little fanfare Wednesday night – most of the news had already been made. The event,  in conjunction with National Signing Day, had already been upstaged by the early signing period which began on Dec. 20.

So before yesterday’s official National Signing Day, Ohio had already signed 20 of the 21 players in its 2018 class.

“As you know this year was the first year for an early signing date,” Coach Frank Solich said. “That played out very well for us; right now I think I’m in favor of an early signing date.”

Assistant coach and recruiting coordinator Brian Haines agreed.

“That was big for us because a lot of those official visits take place during our home games early in the year and our attendance is great, atmosphere is good,” he said. “To get those kids here on a Saturday in Athens was big.”

Even though the signing day traditional news conference and reception proceeded as normal, Solich said it was different than in past years.

“We still had Starbucks coffee and two big things of donuts which is pretty traditional for us on signing day so that was still there, that was still a part of it, but other than that, the feeling was not really the same,” he said.

Five early signees have already enrolled in school allowing them to be a part of spring ball.

According to 247  Sports the Bobcats have the 118th best class in Division One. Still, Solich said he is pleased with his recruits.

“I think it’s a very, very good class,” he said. “Obviously it’ll remain to be seen when they get here and it all unfolds, but my experience tells me it’s going to be an excellent class.”

Last year’s class provided the Bobcats with five starters.

“Whether or not this class will produce five freshman I don’t know,” Solich said. “But there are mature players in this class like there was in the last class were that might be a possibility.”

The Bobcats are coming off an historic year. The offense was a big part in the team’s success setting the school records for points per game (38.9), points in a season (467), yards per carry (5.6), and rushing touchdowns (40).

The Bobcats will be returning much of their high-powered offense – but …

“We got hit pretty hard defensively,” Solich said.

That they did – they lost a couple players on the defensive line with the biggest loss being L.B. Quentin Poling who set career marks in 2017 with 219 solo tackles and 44 tackles for loss. Poling was an anchor on the defense racking up 50-career starts.

Coach Solich says he had prepared in previous recruiting classes for the expected losses on defense. This year the breakdown is 9 offensive and 12 defensive players.

“It was a year for us to make sure that we recruited some interior guys from junior colleges to get some possible immediate help up front,” he said.

Of the 21 signees, this year’s class comes from nine states – seven from Ohio.

The Green and White added a pair of corners, and even though wide-outs are continuing to get taller and more athletic, Solich said size isn’t everything.

“We see guys making plays all the time that aren’t the prototype height,” he said. “It really comes down to making plays.”

The Bobcats also picked up three more wide-outs in this class, adding to the already deep wide-receiver core, but Solich said you got to have depth and depth that can be ready to play right away.