The rivalry between the Ohio State Buckeyes and Michigan Wolverines is one of the most famous in the world of sports, and that animosity continues today with Brady Hoke and Urban Meyer at the respective helms for each football program.
The rivalry is most noted for its intensity on the football field, but you'd be naive to believe that it doesn't have its place in other areas as well, especially in college football recruiting.
The Buckeyes and Wolverines are constantly fighting for the attention of big-time midwestern recruits, and frankly, recruits all around the country.
Urban Meyer is known as a great recruiter, but right now, Hoke and the Wolverines have the No. 2-ranked class in the country, according to Rivals.com. Is it possible that Meyer could pull a few quick moves on the recruiting trail and steal a few players away from the Wolverines, though?
I'd have to say that anything is possible before National Signing Day, especially with Meyer.
Who can he steal away from the Wolverines?
He'd be smart to start talking a bit more to the recruits in his state that have committed to Michigan and see if they'd perhaps consider a flip, especially since the Wolverines have looked so bad on national TV now twice this year.
A name that I would focus on here is 4-star running back DeVeon Smith from Warren, Ohio.
According to 247Sports, he did have Ohio State on his interest list and the Buckeyes did make an offer. That means there was some kind of communication involved, so perhaps Meyer can revisit that offer and see if he can get Smith to sway.
Another player Meyer may want to strike up a conversation with is 4-star running back/safety Dymonte Thomas. 247Sports shows that the Buckeyes made an offer to Thomas in December, which is a few months after he committed to the Wolverines, so they were obviously still interested in him despite his commitment.
It's also worth noting that Thomas' commitment was made on the same day of his visit to Michigan, pointing to an emotional decision. If Meyer can highlight the Wolverines' recent struggles and perhaps cause some doubt regarding that emotional decision, he may be able to sway him away.
Finally, Meyer needs to talk to the Michigan commit right in his own backyard. Four-star receiver Jaron Dukes plays football at Marion-Franklin High School, which happens to be in Columbus, Ohio.
This gives Meyer the ultimate "home-field advantage."
Dukes only received offers from Michigan, Illinois and Toledo, according to Scout.com, so what's the harm in sending one more his way from Columbus?
Perhaps Meyer can get the recruit to consider playing for his hometown school where he can be a local hero for decommitting from the school "up north" and choosing the "good guys."
In all seriousness though, nothing can be more demoralizing to a rival than being able to sway one or more of their recruits, and we all know anything is fair game until National Signing Day.
If there is a coach that can make it happen, it would be Meyer, and if there was a rivalry that I could see this happening in, of course it would have to be between Michigan and Ohio State.
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