The ink may still be drying on the letters of intent from the 2013 national signing day, but the fight's already on for 2014—and Urban Meyer's insistent on hitting Michigan where it hurts.
Ohio State and Michigan both racked up amazing classes, two of the best in the nation and each filled with the type of talent that wins conference championships. Ohio State's was probably better (though we won't know that for years, of course), but only slightly.
However, Brady Hoke did manage to bolster his class at Meyer's expense. Nine of Michigan's signees in the 2013 class come from the state of Ohio. By way of comparison, only eight come from Michigan. That's the recruiting equivalent of Hoke thumbing his nose at Meyer.
It's 2014 recruiting season now and Hoke has already struck a big blow on this same front by securing a verbal commitment from stud ILB Michael Ferns, an Ohio native, back in December. Meyer landed a commitment from highly touted Detroit CB Damon Webb—yet another Cass Tech product—in January, squaring the battle of heisting the other team's in-state prospects at one.
Meyer clearly wasn't done.
Amid a three-verbal flurry on Sunday, Ohio State landed a commitment from DE Lawrence Marshall (per ElevenWarriors.com's Derek Young), an absolute nightmare of a defensive lineman who can shift inside and rush from the interior or come screaming off the edge. He's not an every-down strongside end—not unless he puts on a ton of weight—but the situational versatility is there.
Here's video, and we would not want to be No. 78 on the black and gold team when it came time to break that game's film down. You'll see.
Mr. Marshall, by the way, is a Michigan native from Southfield, a suburb of Detroit. That's two.
Marshall's commitment is especially damaging for the Wolverines because the level of elite talent just isn't there in the state of Michigan this year and the high-level prospects that are there aren't flocking to Ann Arbor.
The new Rivals.com 100 list for 2014 lists just three Michigan natives and two—WR Drake Harris (Michigan State) and Webb (Ohio State)—have already committed elsewhere. The last is Malik McDowell, who 247Sports.com says is favoring Michigan and Notre Dame the most at this point.
Hot on those two schools' heels? Ohio State.
Michigan will still likely put together a great class even if it has to go outside its state borders more often in 2014. Clearly, Brady Hoke's a pretty great recruiter, but it sure looks like Meyer's forcing Hoke to work harder for the recruits he wants.
With each commitment Meyer gets from the "pleasant peninsula," it becomes clearer that Michigan's state borders are wide, wide open for business.