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Day credits NIL for Ohio State's revamped roster

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Head coach Ryan Day is exuding a healthy amount of confidence after assembling one of the nation's most talented rosters following the conclusion of Ohio State's 2023 campaign.

The Buckeyes posted an 11-2 record last year, which included a third straight loss in as many years to rival Michigan. The program also sustained a deflating 14-3 loss to Missouri in the Cotton Bowl in December.

Nearly four months since its last game, Ohio State appears to have assembled an impressive roster. Day is crediting the donations of two collectives, The Foundation and The 1870 Society, toward NIL as a significant factor in retaining draft-eligible players.

"At Ohio State, you've got to beat the Team Up North and win every other game," Day told The Athletic's Stewart Mandel. "If that's the expectation every year, you like your chances a lot more when you have good players. So, might as well get the best."

If it wasn't for NIL, Day added, "You certainly wouldn't have seen what you've seen this year with us."

Ohio State has retained several key contributors from a year ago. J.T. Tuimoloau, Emeka Egbuka, TreVeyon Henderson, and Denzel Burke are among the players who could potentially have their names called early in the 2024 NFL Draft later this month.

With most of the core still intact, Ohio State dived into the transfer portal to land some notable additions, such as Caleb Downs, Quinshon Judkins, and Will Howard. The Buckeyes' NIL collective is also credited with helping secure the commitment of five-star wideout Jeremiah Smith.

The increased spending toward the Buckeyes' NIL contributions arrives nearly two years after Day said it would cost about $13 million to maintain the team's roster. The budget is presently believed to be even higher, per Mandel. Ohio State's coach credits outgoing athletic director Gene Smith, among others, with helping to establish NIL contributions that benefit the program.

"We had a lot of people step up and really help us," Day said. "Gene (Smith) is obviously instrumental in this, but I made a lot of calls, and a lot of people stepped up. It just goes to show you how great the support here is."

Day has come under fire for the team's struggles against Michigan despite sporting a .875 win-loss percentage. With plenty of familiar faces and some key additions - including bringing in offensive coordinator Chip Kelly - the Buckeyes appear poised to exceed expectations this fall.

Ohio State's annual spring game will take place at noon EST on Saturday and be broadcast on Fox.

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