Ryan Day Ohio State Jeremiah Smith National Signing Day Screen grab: 10TV

If ever there was a video that encapsulated the madness of college football’s National Signing Day, it came on Wednesday as Ohio State’s Ryan Day held his press availability regarding the occasion.

Day’s press conference was scheduled to begin at 12 p.m. ET, a start time that coincided with 5-star wide receiver Jeremiah Smith’s announcement of where he’d be spending his college career. That means that the Buckeyes head coach learned in real time — and with plenty of cameras present — that he had landed the nation’s No. 1 overall recruit, which resulted in Day literally buckling at the knees.

That it’s unclear whether Day’s reaction was authentic or exaggerated only speaks to the absurdity of National Signing Day. A 44-year-old multimillionaire with one of the top jobs in his industry being literally brought to his knees by an 18-year-old’s college decision might seem strange to most people. In college football, however, it’s practically a time honored tradition.

What’s more is that the reaction was actually understandable. Despite Day having amassed a 56-7 record and three College Football Playoff appearances through his first five seasons in Columbus, Ohio State has lost each of its last three games against rival Michigan and has seen multiple high profile departures in both its 2024 recruiting class and via the transfer portal.

While Smith had been committed to the Buckeyes since last December, his recruitment seemingly came down to the wire with Miami (Fla.) and Florida State vying to flip the Opa Locka, Florida, native leading up to Signing Day. According to The Athletic’s Manny Navarro, Smith made his final decision just minutes before announcing it on Thursday, choosing Ohio State over the Hurricanes.


More than 1,100 miles away, Smith’s future head coach reacted accordingly.

“I’m sorry, what was the question again?” Day said after being made practically speechless for a full minute.

[Adam King on X]

About Ben Axelrod

Ben Axelrod is a veteran of the sports media landscape, having most recently worked for NBC's Cleveland affiliate, WKYC. Prior to his time in Cleveland, he covered Ohio State football and the Big Ten for outlets including Cox Media Group, Bleacher Report, Scout and Rivals.