Whether Ohio State fans want to admit it or not, Brady Hoke and the Michigan Wolverines are recruiting better than anyone in the country right now.
In what seems like an annual event, Michigan recruiting has gotten off to a hot start as Hoke has secured commitments from 11 outstanding prospects for the 2014 class. That class received a huge boost on Sunday night when 5-star athlete Jabrill Peppers, once a big Ohio State target, committed to the Wolverines on ESPNU (h/t Michael Rothstein of WolverineNation).
In addition to Peppers, Hoke also has verbal pledges from 4-star prospects Drake Harris (wide receiver), Bryan Mone (defensive tackle) and Michael Ferns (inside linebacker). In all, Michigan already has one 5-star commit, seven 4-star commits and a trio of 3-star prospects in the fold for its '14 class.
That's good news for Ohio State.
It sounds bizarre, sure. As much as Buckeyes fans enjoy the times when Michigan is down—relishing moments like the Appalachian State game or anything involving former Wolverines coach Rich Rodriguez—Ohio State, and by extension the Big Ten, would benefit greatly from a strong Michigan team.
That's what Hoke is trying to build in Ann Arbor. Michigan is just two-and-a-half months separated from signing the nation's No. 7-ranked class, building on the success they had the year before when Hoke and the Wolverines secured the No. 6-ranked class in 2012.
Ohio State fans should want Michigan's momentum on the recruiting trail to carry over to the field, because a strong Wolverines team is exactly what the Buckeyes need.
By and large, Ohio State has been carrying the Big Ten flag since 2002. Despite Wisconsin's recent run of Big Ten titles, no conference team has won more games or had more BCS success than the Buckeyes.
Despite the fact most programs around the country would kill to have accomplished what Ohio State has over the last decade, the national perception of the Big Ten is that even the Buckeyes can't hang with the best the SEC has to offer.
Who's to say they're wrong, though? It's well known that the SEC has won seven consecutive BCS National Championships. That means the last time a non-SEC team hoisted the crystal trophy, the soon-to-be seniors who comprise the 2014 recruiting class were in the fourth grade.
This isn't about conference allegiance or pride, though. This is about two teams pushing each other to be better.
That might sound dramatic, but frankly, that's what Ohio State needs. Urban Meyer wasn't off-base last February when he said the conference needed to up its recruiting game, even if his original comments were taken largely out of context.
Meyer made those comments because he knows that quality opponents during the regular season prepare a team better than anything else for a potential championship matchup in the postseason.
With Ohio State looking to compete for national titles not just this season, but for many seasons to come, meeting an equally ambitious and talented Michigan team at the end of every regular season is a challenge Meyer would love to overcome.
All recruit rankings per 247Sports.com.
David Regimbal is the lead Ohio State football writer for Bleacher Report.
Follow him on Twitter @davidreg412.
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