Ohio State has promoted wide receivers coach Brian Hartline to offensive coordinator after he spent the past six seasons on the program's staff and developed a reputation as one of the best position coaches and recruiters in college football, the university announced Friday. Hartline has been the Buckeyes' receivers coach since 2018 and took on the role of passing game coordinator in 2022.
Offensive line coach Justin Frye has also been promoted to run game coordinator as part of the team's staff changes.
"Brian has been successful in every football capacity for which he has been engaged," said Buckeyes coach Ryan Day in a statement. "He has progressed incredibly well from college to NFL receiver, and then from quality control coach to wide receivers coach to passing game coordinator. He figures things out quickly and he is more than ready to now transition to offensive coordinator.
"Brian has also developed his receivers at an unprecedented level and he has recruited as well or better than anyone in the country," Day continued. "Now he'll be recruiting for our entire offense and I think that is something that will be really positive for our program."
Hartline replaces Kevin Wilson, who left for the Tulsa job after five seasons as Ohio State's offensive coordinator. At just 36, Hartline is a rising star in college football best known for recruiting and developing an elite group of pass-catchers who have helped the Buckeyes field some of the nation's top offenses in recent years under Day.
Hartline is an Ohio native who played for the Buckeyes under former coach Jim Tressel to 2005 to 2008. He caught 90 passes during his college career before playing seven seasons in the NFL, where he made 344 grabs while playing for the Miami Dolphins and Cleveland Browns. He first joined the Buckeyes' staff as an analyst in 2017 during Urban Meyer's final season as coach.
He stepped into the receivers coach role the following season under Day and has emerged as a force in the sport since then. Ohio State had two receivers -- Garrett Wilson and Chris Olave -- selected in the first round of the 2022 NFL Draft and could have another first-rounder at the position in the 2023 draft with Jaxon Smith-Njigba.
Smooth transition for Day
Day made a splash last offseason by luring defensive coordinator Jim Knowles away from Oklahoma State, but there was no need to go outside the program to replace Wilson. Despite the fact that Hartline has no previous experience as an offensive coordinator, he should have no problem continuing the program's recent record of offensive excellence.
Hartline worked closely with Wilson over the past five seasons and took on additional game-planning duties with the added title of passing game coordinator in 2022. He also has a proven offensive mind in Day, who worked as a coordinator for Temple, Boston College and Ohio State before becoming the Buckeyes' head coach.
Offense stacked with talent
Ohio State quarterback C.J. Stroud has not declared for the NFL Draft yet. But even if he does, the Buckeyes will have no shortage of talent for Hartline to work with in his new role. All-American receiver Marvin Harrison Jr. and fellow star receivers Emeka Egbuka and Julian Fleming are among the talented skill players expected to return for Ohio State. Leading rusher Miyan Williams also announced that he is returning for a fourth season of college football.
Should Stroud declare for the draft, Kyle McCord appears likely to become the starting quarterback. The former four-star prospect completed 16 of 20 passes for 190 yards and a touchdown as a backup to Stroud during his second season with the program in 2022. Former four-star quarterback Devin Brown is also on the roster after redshirting in 2022. Four-star freshman quarterback Lincoln Kienholz also signed with the Buckeyes as part of their 2023 recruiting class.