The Michigan Wolverines and Ohio State Buckeyes have a long, heated and historic rivalry, and a new chapter is in the making with head coaches Brady Hoke and Urban Meyer at the helms of their respective programs.
Both coaches have had early success, both on the field and in the arena of recruiting, and this success will surely cause the rivalry to grow.
Ohio State and Michigan are two of the biggest recruiting draws in the world of college football. They are big, brand names with national followings and a ton of tradition associated with the programs, so it is natural that many elite-level recruits want to be a part of their legacies.
Both Hoke and Meyer are excellent recruiters, so each program is bound to grow and be very competitive under their respective regimes. But which of these coaches will have the upper hand when it comes to recruiting in the Big Ten?
In many cases, if an elite Big Ten recruit doesn’t choose Michigan, he’ll go to OSU (and the reverse is also true). These two recruiting powerhouses will impact each other and the conference, but one is eventually going to come away with the edge.
Which coach will be the top dog of Big Ten recruiting?
To answer the question, it would be wise to see what each coach brings to the table.
Brady Hoke, Michigan
Coach Hoke is sold on the Michigan program, and he lets everybody know.
He can be obnoxious, close-minded and elitist, but the fact that Hoke believes in a “Michigan Man” really impacts recruiting.
He’s able to sell players on the elite club that is Michigan football and one could only imagine that his passion is contagious.
This allows Hoke to appeal to elite prospects who are passionate about football and the allure of playing at Michigan is often enough to seal the deal.
Urban Meyer, Ohio State
The pitch is very easy for Meyer: go play for his team and help him win yet another national championship.
His two championships speak louder than just about any other recruiting pitch, as he has established credibility in the fact that he knows what it takes to build a winning program.
He’s also known as a brilliant offensive coach, a very passionate and focused coach and seems to connect with his players very well.
Meyer’s resume is enough to sell most recruits on Ohio State, but when you add in the huge, passionate fanbase and the national prestige, it makes the Buckeyes a very viable option for recruits.
Which Coach Will Dominate the Future of B1G Recruiting?
I have to give the edge to Meyer into the future and beyond and, until Hoke wins a national title at Michigan—or at least four or five major bowl games—Meyer will hold the edge.
Hoke is a great hype man and he says all the right things, but smart football players are going to choose a coach who has been where they want to go—the BCS National Championship.
Meyer was the coach of not one, but two national championship teams, which says a lot about him as not only a coach, but as a manager of players and as a recruiter.
Meyer also may have a few more pipelines than Hoke due to his dominance at Florida.
Most recruits in the state of Florida know about Meyer and what he did as coach of the Florida Gators. Meyer’s name holds much more weight in not just Florida, but in a lot of SEC states, so he’s more apt to snag some of those elite recruits from the most talent-laden region in the country.
That’s not to say that Hoke can’t do the same, but it’s not hard to see the advantage Meyer has in the southeastern region.
There’s also the fact that players in Meyer's system have gone on to have major success in the NFL—most notably Percy Harvin and, to a much lesser and controversial extent, Tim Tebow.
Tebow’s ability as a quarterback may be questionable, but there’s no questioning the fact that he’s a star.
Much of that can be attributed to winning the Heisman Trophy and Meyer was the coach that helped him get there. Recruits will want to play for a coach that can help them duplicate such success.
To be clear, this isn’t meant to downplay how great Hoke has been at Michigan, as he’s certainly a very good head coach and recruiter. This is more of a testament to how good Meyer has been, is currently and will be in the future.
Meyer’s 2013 class is only ranked No. 7 nationally by Rivals.com—compare that to Hoke’s No. 3 class—but it is likely to see Ohio State’s future classes do much better after the one-year Bowl Ban, especially if the Buckeyes continue to win.
Both coaches are very good and I expect both of their programs to have a ton of success in recruiting, but, in the long-term Urban Meyer, will be the dominant recruiter in the Big Ten.