Last week, Ohio State and Michigan each finished with stellar recruiting classes. With a nice blend of in-state talent and national talent, the Buckeyes and Wolverines both set themselves up to have strong teams in the coming years.
For the most part, to be successful when it comes to recruiting, we know that you need to be able to set up a fence around your state. In-state prospects are the ones you need to keep and build your program around.
The state of Michigan, though, isn’t considered much of a hotbed when it comes to recruiting. Sure, talent is produced, but not enough to limit a program to just in-state kids. That’s why when the state of Michigan produces legit big-time prospects, the Wolverines need to be able to keep them home. Not bashing Michigan high school talent, but there’s just bigger pools of prospects to go after in other states.
So far, early into the 2014 recruiting process, Urban Meyer has planted a flag in the state of Michigan, and doesn’t seem to be looking back.
On January 13, cornerback prospect Damon Webb gave his commitment to Ohio State. Webb is considered one of, if not the best prospect in the state next year. With Cass Tech High School normally being a pipeline for the Wolverines, Hoke and company had to have been scratching their heads when Webb gave this commitment so early.
Turn the clock forward and we saw Ohio State grab yet another recruit from Michigan when Lawrence Marshall decided to give his pledge to the Buckeyes on Sunday afternoon. The speedy defensive end also held offers from Michigan and Michigan State.
How is Meyer having this much success in the state up north? Perhaps a question that can’t be answered at the moment, but a question that should give Brady Hoke some concern. It’s not like the Wolverines won’t have recruiting success, because let’s face it, Michigan is a program that attracts national talent. However, not being able to have success in your own state does raise some red flags.
With Webb and Marshall on board, the Buckeyes have their eye on a few more from that state for 2014.
Drake Harris, who is currently the sixth-rated wide receiver in his class according to Scout.com, has interest in Ohio State and the Buckeyes’ coaching staff have been up to his school to visit on multiple occasions. Even though Harris is currently committed to Michigan State, Urban Meyer could be turning the tide on this recruitment.
In an interview with 247sports Harris said, “They [Ohio State] are one of the best football programs in the country. You have arguably the best coach in the country. The campus is great, and the fan support is crazy and the tradition there is just tremendous.”
Then finally, the last prospect from Michigan that the Buckeyes are after is defensive end Malik McDowell. A visit from McDowell to Ohio State is expected soon, and a commitment to the Buckeyes would crush any chance that the Wolverines had of keeping the best in-state prospects home for college.
It’s true that the Buckeyes don’t venture north very often to recruit, but when they do, there’s no doubt that they pick the right ones. Former Buckeyes such as Vernon Gholston, Reid Fragel and Johnathan Hankins all came from Michigan and developed into key starters as Buckeyes.
When Urban Meyer was hired, change was inevitable. Meyer is changing the whole landscape of Ohio State football, turning it into the monster that it should be. With the “national” recruiting mindset, the Buckeyes are starting an empire that the Big Ten hasn’t been accustomed to.