The coaching carousel will continue to spin for the Ohio State Buckeyes. The only constant will likely be head coach Ryan Day, among a few others. It’s what happens when you have the greatness and tradition like a football program like Ohio State does. Assistant coaches will get higher-paying head coaching gigs elsewhere after showing off their expertise in a smaller role in Columbus. Day not only has his hands full continuing to maximize the roster while recruiting some of the best talent in the country to Ohio State on a daily basis but after just one season leading the Buckeyes, Day has already figured out that he must continue to recruit some of the best coaches to his staff as well.
Even though cornerbacks coach Jeff Hafley’s position is still open, it is expected to be filled by former Ohio State cornerbacks coach and current Tennessee Titans assistant Kerry Coombs once the Titans’ postseason run is over. That means that following quarterbacks coach and passing game coordinator Mike Yurcich’s decision to join Tom Herman’s staff as Texas’ offensive coordinator after just one season in Columbus, Day also had to replace Yurcich as well.
With rumors circulating, Ohio State (finally) made it official that Corey Dennis will be the new quarterbacks coach for the Buckeyes in an announcement this past Friday.
“Corey is a talented young coach and someone I’ve worked closely alongside for three seasons,” Day said in making the announcement. “He knows our system and he knows how we teach. I think he is going to allow us to develop some continuity in the quarterback room, and that’s important. I also believe that he is going to be an excellent recruiter for us.”
After his playing career as a wide receiver at Georgia Tech came to an end, Dennis joined Ohio State’s staff as an intern in 2015. As Urban Meyer’s son-in-law, it was an easy connection, one that turned into quite a fit and boost for the team’s coaching staff. Dennis then worked with wide receivers as a graduate assistant in 2016 and 2017 before moving to the quarterback room in 2018, where he has served as the Buckeyes senior quality control coach for the last two seasons.
As his time in Columbus has gone on, Dennis has continued to impress both the coaches and players. Even though he was a wide receiver in college, the assistant has proven to be a huge piece in Ohio State’s quarterback room. Whether it’s helping with their development or just maximizing their ability, it’s been clear that Dennis has helped create one of the best offenses in the country each of the last two seasons while working with the quarterbacks. The promotion not only means continuity with the offense and system but also brings plenty of stability to both the coaching staff and the players. Letterman Row’s Austin Ward summed it up perfectly.
Ohio State could have taken the conservative route, letting Dennis go prove himself as a full-timer at Colorado State for a season or two and then hoping for the chance to reunite down the road. Or Day could bet that his eye for talent should be trusted again and not risk letting him get away without a clear path to a return, instead putting faith in what Dennis has learned over the last few years, banking on a smooth transition and counting on him to reach his potential with the Buckeyes.
Given Day’s expertise as a quarterback developer and what he has already shown as a head coach, it wouldn’t have been tough to replace Yurcich with a handful of different coaches from around the country. Yet, he decided to promote Dennis, which illustrates how much the head coach believes in the 27-year-old.
Dennis was reportedly almost on his way out of Columbus this offseason. He was very close to becoming Colorado State’s new quarterbacks coach, joining Steve Addazio’s new staff with the Rams. So close that Dennis attended the head coach’s first press conference with Colorado State in December.
Whether it’s Heisman Trophy winner and current LSU quarterback Joe Burrow, Heisman finalist Dwayne Haskins, or current Buckeyes gunslinger Justin Fields, all three have raved about Dennis, even before his most recent promotion.
“I think Corey is going to be a really good coach for a long time,“ Burrow said last week while preparing for the national championship. “I texted him as soon as I saw the news and was fired up for him. He’s worked for that for a long time, and there’s nobody more deserving. He’s going to be a really good coach. I’m excited for him.”
“Basically [Dennis] is like my personal quarterbacks coach when Coach Day is not around,” Haskins said last season. “I can ask him about looks, coverages, different pressures — and he has everything that Coach Day teaches him. He helps me throughout practice, throughout meetings. He helps out a lot.
“(He’s) definitely a young, inspiring coach,” Haskins said. “He gives you a lot of information. He’s very resourceful. As far as if I need to watch a clip or see something from practice, or send me notes from practice, he’s always a phone call away. He did a great job this season of coming in and watching film with me every Monday. We would watch film after practice and he really did a great job with me, and I feel like he will be a good coach one day too.”
Prior to last season, Dennis was also one of the coaches listed on 247Sports’ 30Under30 for 2019:
Dennis is entering his fifth season as an Ohio State off-field assistant. His focus working with Ryan Day has largely centered around quarterbacks. In his current role, Dennis also helps with game planning and practice organization. One former Ohio State passer told 247Sports Dennis was “critical” to his development. Dennis is Urban Meyer’s son-in-law.
Nearly five years into his coaching career, the pressure is now on Dennis given that it’s his first full-time gig. He not only has to continue to develop Ohio State’s quarterbacks, but he must now put part of his focus on recruiting some of the best gunslingers from across the country as well. Luckily for both him and the Buckeyes, Meyer and Day have been grooming him for this moment. Keep in mind, Day was Ohio State quarterbacks coach in 2018 before taking over for Meyer as the head coach.
With a Heisman Trophy candidate already at quarterback and high expectations heading into the 2020 season next fall, Dennis doesn’t have time to learn on the job. Luckily for him, he seems to be ready for the increased role. We’ll likely find out next fall, but until then, Buckeye Nation should be excited for Dennis’ well-deserved promotion. It only means good (and better) things for the Buckeyes moving forward.