Deion Sanders As Ohio State’s Next Head Coach? Let’s Pump the Brakes

With how the last three years have gone, calls of Deion Sanders as Ohio State's next head coach have gotten louder. It's asinine.
deion sanders ohio state

The off-season is undefeated. Despite recruiting wins, massive transfers, and over a dozen NFL-ready players returning, there is a loud sect of Buckeye fans who are ready to chuck Ryan Day into the Olentangy. After losing three straight to Michigan, watching the Wolverines win the National Title, and then have an embarrassing showing in the Cotton Bowl, frustrations are running high. To get the people riled up, some have suggested Deion Sanders to be the next Ohio State head coach.

When the Jim Tressel “scandal” happened and Ohio State had its worst season in generations in 2011, the Buckeyes swung for the fences and brought in Urban Meyer. 83 wins, three Big Ten titles, a College Football Playoff National Title, and an unblemished record against Michigan later, Meyer handed the keys off to Day.

Now, with just over five years as the head coach, some Buckeye fans are ready for change and want to swing for the fences again. Could Ohio State bring in Coach Prime? If Ross Bjork wanted to lure Sanders away from Colorado, he could do so. The question then remains, should he?

Let’s look at a few claims for bringing in the superstar coach and why it’s absolute nonsense.

Pump the Brakes on the Deion Sanders Ohio State Head Coach Train

“Deion Would Help the Brand”

Quite possibly the biggest impact of Sanders to Ohio State would be how he improves the brand, allegedly. Nobody knew who Jackson State was until Sanders took over and they were must-see TV. Now, Colorado has had more air-time in the last 18 months than it had in the 100 years prior. Buffalo games have celebrities in attendance and have had games featured on national television. Ohio State’s brand is hurting so badly that they need all the help they can get, right?

Well, not quite. Ohio State already is more than a national brand. You can take a vacation to a foreign country and see someone with an Ohio State logo. The Buckeyes are one of the reasons the Big Ten trumps the SEC in revenue yearly. Ohio State regularly sells out its own 100,000+ seat stadium and helps out its opponents with its “every game is a home game” mantra. The Ohio State alumni network is unmatched.

So, to say Ohio State needs Sanders’ help improving the brand is beyond asinine. They are one of the hottest tickets with Day at the helm. Day is not an overly outspoken person (unless you’re Lou Holtz and question his team’s toughness). He even brought in a bigger name to be the offensive coordinator so he could take a back seat. And yet, Ohio State is one of the strongest brands in sports.

“Deion Would Help in Recruiting”

If the Sanders to Ohio State hype train wasn’t already derailed with the ridiculous belief that its brand needs help, it’s about to go off a cliff at 88 miles per hour “Back to the Future III” style.

When Day took over for Meyer, there were plenty of concerns. The new coach had never been a head coach and he was suddenly being handed the keys to a fully decked-out Lamborghini. Hence, “born on third base.” However, if there is one area Day has somehow surpassed his mentor, it’s on the recruiting trail.

Judging Sanders’ 2023 class that ranked 30th in the nation per 247Sports would be slightly unfair due to the fact he took the job at the beginning of December 2022. However, we can look to his 2024 class for a better picture. Colorado signed the 81st-ranked class. If the hope is to take a more aggressive approach to the transfer portal, Sanders would certainly be the answer. Day and Ohio State have taken the exact opposite approach with a quality-over-quantity strategy.

Now, let’s look at Ohio State recruiting since Day was hired. Starting in 2019, the Buckeyes have finished seventh, fifth, second, fourth, fourth, and finally third in 2024.

Ohio State doesn’t need help on the recruiting trail. Playing for a legend like Sanders is obviously a draw for many players. Is it more of a draw than knowing they’ll be developed into NFL Draft picks?

Legitimate Concerns of Day

Day is not a perfect coach by any stretch of the imagination. Ohio State fans are more than justified in wanting more from their head coach. When all of those top recruiting classes have resulted in a 1-3 mark vs. Michigan, only two Big Ten titles (2019, 2020), two CFP appearances, and an embarrassing beatdown in the National Championship, it’s only natural to be frustrated.

While Day does not have the inexcusable blowout losses to unranked Big Ten foes as Meyer did, Day’s teams have struggled against the elites of the game. And, of course, those losses to Michigan are the cherry on top. Even if the cheating allegations end up being completely true, Connor Stalions didn’t cause the Buckeye defense to forget how to tackle.

In-game decisions have been suspect in Day’s tenure as well. He may be considered an offensive guru but his red zone offenses have been considerably worse than they should have. He’s been known to over-think crucial decisions and very nearly lost the game at Notre Dame last year with a bone-headed decision to run a wide receiver end-around to the boundary that fooled nobody.

If we are to criticize Day, there are plenty of avenues. Yes, wanting to avoid John Cooper 2.0 is the goal. However, naming Deion Sanders as Ohio State’s next coach would more than likely cause the fall of Rome.

Stop Being Prisoners of the Moment

Day is 1-3 against Michigan. Not even the expected 100-point beatdown in 2020 would help that fact. It’s been three years since the Buckeyes have won the Big Ten. An 11-2 season is the end of the world in Columbus while the same record would result in banners at other programs.

The Buckeyes are still among the elites in college football. Yes, it’s been “rough” during the best stretch of Michigan football in generations. However, Day is still 56-8 as head coach. He recruits as well as any program, puts dozens of players into the NFL, and has been nauseously close to greater success.

Legitimately, Ohio State is a made field goal (vs Georgia) and a quarter of a second (Kyle McCord had a wide-open Marvin Harrison, Jr. on the game-ending interception) away from titles. Yes, that’s not good enough for Ohio State. However, the Buckeyes could do much, much worse.

Much, much worse, in this case, would be Sanders. If this conversation took place in 2030 and Sanders had multiple conference titles and CFP appearances, it would be vastly different. As it stands, Sanders went 4-8 in his first season at the FBS level. As a result, Sanders threw a fit, threw his players under the bus, and burnt it to the ground to try and build it back up again.

If the claim is “well, at least Deion can see he’s falling short and is trying to improve,” it’s just as asinine. Ohio State’s defense kept it from title contention in 2021 and Day went out and got the top defensive coordinator in the country. He realized his playcalling was slipping so he took a step back and brought in an offensive guru with Power 4 and NFL experience.

Pump the Brakes

“Deion Sanders Ohio State Head Coach” is not going to happen. It would be surprising if Ohio State even picked up the phone to gauge Sanders’ interest if the position managed to come open. Day is going to be the coach for a while. If he loses to Michigan this year with a loaded roster, the seat will certainly heat up. If Day moves on in one way or another, it’s not going to be Sanders to fill that vacancy.

Let’s just relax.

 

deion sanders ohio state
Photo courtesy: Ron Chenoy-USA TODAY Sports

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