Ohio State Football Recruiting: Comparing the Buckeyes' 2014 Class to Michigan's

Tim BielikSenior Analyst IJune 5, 2013

BOSTON, MA - MAY 11: Head coach of the Ohio State University Buckeyes football team, Urban Meyer, stands on the field prior to the game between the Boston Red Sox and the Toronto Blue Jays on May 11, 2013 at Fenway Park in Boston, Massachusetts. (Photo by Jared Wickerham/Getty Images)
Jared Wickerham/Getty Images

The Big Ten has been mostly focused around the Ohio State-Michigan rivalry for the majority of this modern era, with the two teams often trading Big Ten championships.

Though Michigan is still building back from the Rich Rodriguez era, it hasn't stopped Brady Hoke from scoring some big wins on the recruiting trail in the past two years. With Urban Meyer down the road in Columbus, it only makes the recruiting war that much more entertaining.

So it should come as no surprise that the two schools finished the 2013 recruiting cycle with Scout.com's top two classes, with the Buckeyes edging out Michigan with a massive haul on national signing day, including wide receiver James Clark and safety Vonn Bell.

This year's script is starting in a familiar way to last year, with Michigan getting the early jump on its bitter rival. The Wolverines have taken advantage of a strong in-state crop by getting verbals from defensive end Lawrence Marshall and wide receiver Drake Harris on top of big out-of-state verbals like defensive back Jabrill Peppers and linebacker Michael Ferns from St. Clairsville, Ohio.

The Buckeyes have also started heavily in their own state by getting verbals from quite a few talented Ohio prospects, including linebacker Kyle Berger and running back Parris Campbell.

Right now, the Wolverines have 12 verbal commits to Oho State's nine, but the Buckeyes are still limited by three scholarships in this class due to NCAA sanctions, meaning that the Wolverines should be able to sign more than OSU once again.

The difference for the Buckeyes last year, however, was their ability to close down the stretch and get big names from out of state to commit close to NSD, something they had failed to do in the past for the most part.

Landing linebackers Trey Johnson and Mike Mitchell at their respective high school All-American Games was a big enough boost. But adding in the commitments of Dontre Wilson, Clark and Bell the week of NSD was an incredible trifecta that put OSU's class in the top or near the top of most recruiting services.

Michigan's formula was just as successful, as it was able to get all but six of its signees to commit before the season even started.

At that point, Hoke's biggest job was to make sure he kept his class intact, which he pretty much did. Adding star running back Derrick Green was just icing on the cake.

Hoke isn't off to as fast a start quantity-wise, but he's made up for it by getting Peppers, Rivals.com's No. 2 overall prospect, to commit.

And according to 247Sports.com's rankings, the Wolverines' top three commits have a higher star rating than OSU highest-rated commit at the moment, linebacker Dante Booker.

So at this point, Michigan once again has a better class at the moment. But that was the same thing we said about a year ago when the Wolverines' class was filling up so quickly and the Buckeyes started to pick up the pace by season's end.

OSU does seem to have a strong chance in quite a few of the battles for many top prospects, including quarterback Brandon Harris, defensive end Jalyn Holmes and outside tackle Jamarco Jones.

There will be plenty more surprises coming because we still have just under eight months left until signing day.

Until then, the battle between the Buckeyes and Wolverines on the recruiting trail will be one of the highlights of the recruiting circuit.


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