Ryan Day has consistently taken a proactive approach to retooling his Ohio State staff since taking over the Buckeyes’ program from Urban Meyer after the 2018 season.
Now Day appears poised to land a major hire for his assistant staff. Multiple sources tell FootballScoop that Day is on the verge of landing Jim Knowles to run his Ohio State defense.
Knowles is architect of Oklahoma State’s vaunted defense, a unit that carried the Cowboys to a berth in the Big 12 championship and on the verge of a College Football Playoff berth that would have marked the program’s first-ever CFP appearance.
Day has recently formally announced the hire.
"I have offered a position on the Ohio State football staff to Oklahoma State University defensive coordinator Jim Knowles, and he has accepted it," Day said in a statement. "Starting Jan. 2, Knowles will be the Buckeyes’ new defensive coordinator. What is most important at this time is that we put our players in the best position possible to finish this season with a win in the Rose Bowl.
"To that end, we will continue our planning and preparation for the game with our current staff of 10 assistant coaches."
Knowles’ hyper-aggressive defense has terrorized opposing quarterbacks and also proved opportunistic in forcing turnovers.
A Philadelphia native, Knowles rose to acclaim from his work prior to Oklahoma State on David Cutcliffe’s Duke University staff.
As Blue Devils defensive coordinator from 2010-17, Knowles helped the Duke program to its lone Atlantic Coast Conference divisional title and a 10-win season in 2013 - part of the program’s most successful stretch of seasons in decades.
Day and the Buckeyes are looking to overhaul a talented defensive unit that did not meet expectations. Kerry Coombs was demoted mid-season, and the Buckeyes’ defense was abused in its regular-season finale against rival Michigan.
The Buckeyes are headed to face Pac-12 champion Utah in the Rose Bowl. Per sources, Knowles is not expected to coach the Buckeyes' defense in their postseason game.
As always, stay tuned to The Scoop for the latest.