Michigan-Ohio State, 2011
It's still a month until "The Game," but the recruiting battle is already heating up.
Both Brady Hoke and Urban Meyer have placed their lines in the sand for the top 2014 prospects.
Hoke is still playing catch-up from the many years Ohio State dominated this part of the rivalry. Meyer, who's only in his first year as the Buckeyes' head coach, is just continuing where Jim Tressel left off.
While both teams recruit nationally, the bulk of each team's players are found closer to home.
For years, the Buckeyes have landed the best players from talent-rich Ohio, while the Wolverines have concentrated on Ohio, Michigan, the Chicago area and western Pennsylvania.
Each team relishes the idea of taking a recruit from under the other school's nose.
In fact, Hoke's first commit of the 2014 class is Michael Ferns, the nation's No. 6 inside linebacker from St. Clairsville, Ohio, according to scout.com.
The 6'3", 235-pounder was offered by Ohio State and 18 other schools.
Here are a few of the other 2014 recruiting battles already underway.
Dante Booker, a 6'3", 215-lb outside linebacker, is one of Ohio's top prospects. It will be tough to steal him away from the Buckeyes, but Michigan is definitely in the fray.
Booker has already visited Ann Arbor and his dad refuses to close the door. “I know we enjoyed the campus. I’m pretty sure he is not ruling them out this point and time,” said Dante Booker Sr.
Whenever Junior decides to commit, he will be quite a find. As a high school sophomore, he recorded nearly 150 tackles, and is rated the nation's No. 2 OLB by scout.com.
"Recruiting is going great and I'm happy with my offers so far," Junior added.
"The coaches are telling me that Ohio State will be a great place to play, with the atmosphere there and the great players they will be bringing in, Junior told scout.com. "I would say Ohio State is the favorite right now for me."
Senior, who played college football at Auburn, isn't so sure. “Yeah, he has a few more years of school now.”
Another product from Detroit's Cass Technical High School, Damon Webb also attended the Michigan-Michigan State game.
“Michigan’s defense played really well,” Webb told scout.com. “I like the way their corners play."
The high school junior could follow in the footsteps of Michigan cornerbacks Delonte Hollowell and Terry Richardson.
Of course, Ohio State coach Urban Meyer saw what Webb could do at the Buckeye underclass camp. Wrote Scout's Bill Greene: "Webb, 6-foot, 170-pounds, locked down top wide receiver prospects Johnathan Lloyd, Jordan Morgan and Derek Kief, earning a Buckeye offer in the process"
To think I could be playing college football here (OSU) is amazing really," Webb said. "I was just offered by Michigan too, so my recruiting is going great."
The nation's No. 7 cornerback added, "The Michigan offer was special to me, and I don't know how I could compare the two schools. I just know that both of these are really big offers to me."
Rated the nation's No. 5 offensive tackle, Jamarco Jones dropped by to see the Michigan-Michigan State game and plans to be in Columbus when Ohio State and Michigan meet.
"It was a crazy atmosphere...the whole town was coming in and they're passionate about their football and the team played great," Jones told scout.com "So it was a great experience. The offense was outstanding, throwing the ball downfield, running and everything."
From Chicago's De La Salle Institute, Jones has been offered by Michigan, Ohio State and nearly a dozen other schools.
"Ohio State is one of the top programs in the country. For them to offer me a scholarship was a great experience." Jones told buckeyenation.com
During the summer, he attended Urban Meyer's "Friday Night Lights Camp."
With Michigan tending to favor pro-style quarterbacks, 6'3.5", 225-lb Caleb Henderson would fit the mold. Henderson, from Lake Braddock Secondary School in Burke, Va., has already met with both Brady Hoke and Al Borges, reports ESPN.
"It was really awesome," Henderson said about his meeting with Borges. "He's definitely one of the smartest coaches I've ever been around and he's just a really good guy, too. I thought it was a really cool experience to have the opportunity to talk to a college coach like that.
Henderson, rated the nation's No. 3 quarterback, also displayed his cannon-like arm at Friday Night Lights in Columbus. He was especially thrilled to be part of the Horseshoe's atmosphere. “I felt like it was the biggest privilege for me, and I was honored.” he told ESPN.
This one, like a few of the others, could wind up being quite a battle.
Note: For continuity, all ratings are the courtesy of scout.com's recruiting service unless noted otherwise.