Michigan vs. Ohio State: Whose 2014 Recruiting Class Is Better Right Now?
Michigan and Ohio State have one of the most storied and fierce rivalries in college football, a competition that spills over onto the recruiting trail.
Both programs have constructed excellent 2014 recruiting classes. Each is ranked in the Top 10 of the 247Sports recruiting rankings.
But which program has put together the better class?
Ohio State's 2014 Recruiting Class Capsule
The Buckeyes have 16 commitments, with pledges from 10 4-star and six 3-star recruits.
Ohio remains the main source of talent, but Ohio State continues to pull in talent from across the Midwest, as six commitments are from neighboring states.
Head coach Urban Meyer has also moved Ohio State's recruiting reach deeper into SEC country. States such as Georgia, Kentucky, Texas and Virginia are represented in the Buckeyes' recruiting class.
Offensive line is the emphasis with four commitments, though each position, including kicker, has at least one pledge.
Michigan's 2014 Recruiting Class Capsule
Michigan has an outstanding collection of talent, with commitments from 16 prospects, including one 5-star recruit.
Big Blue has seven 4-star commitments and eight 3-star pledges. Keeping players home remains the focus for the Wolverines, as the state of Michigan leads the class with four commitments.
Other states such as Pennsylvania, Illinois and Ohio are also represented in Michigan's recruiting class. However, head coach Brady Hoke has also taken advantage of the Wolverines' ability to recruit on a national level.
Hoke has taken talent from states such as Florida, Utah, New Jersey, Maryland and Virginia.
Michigan has nine commitments from defensive players, with three each from linemen, linebackers and secondary personnel..
However, adding receivers has been the main objective. Four commitments are from pass-catching recruits.
Ohio State's Top 2014 Commitments
The Buckeyes have a commitment from 4-star offensive tackle Jamarco Jones, who can also play guard.
Credit Ohio State for boldly digging into a Michigan pipeline at Cass Technical in Detroit and pulling out talented 4-star cornerback Damon Webb.
Virginia native Jalyn Holmes, a 4-star defensive end, has a high ceiling, but the most intriguing prospect is 6'6", 221-pound Sam Hubbard, a 4-star athlete from Cincinnati who can play linebacker, defensive end or tight end.
The fastest player in the class is 6'0", 184-pound Parris Campbell, a 4-star prospect from Akron, who can play running back and receiver. He will make several game-changing plays for OSU before the end of his career.
Michigan's Top 2014 Commitments
By getting a commitment from 4-star prospect Drake Harris, Brady Hoke was able to land his first elite receiver prospect since arriving at Michigan.
Harris, who is from Grand Rapids, Mich., is a 6'4", 180-pounder with excellent hands, solid speed and smooth movement skills.
Defensive tackle Bryan Mone, a Utah native, is a monster 4-star recruit who could play immediately.
Four-star offensive guard Mason Cole is from Florida, but he will not be coming all the way to Ann Arbor to sit on the bench. Defensive end Lawrence Marshall, a 4-star defender from Southfield, Mich., can play on either side of the defensive front while also having the athleticism to stand up on the edges.
Linebacker Michael Ferns is a 4-star recruit with a great motor. The Ohio native is 6'3" and 238 pounds. Also, quarterback Wilton Speight, a Virginia native, is a 6'6" passer who throws a pretty ball.
Ohio State's 2014 Class Headliner
Dante Booker, a 4-star outside linebacker, is the top player in Ohio State's class.
The 6'3", 212-pounder has great quickness, ball-location skills and can cover tight ends and running backs out of the backfield.
Booker has the range and speed to laterally sift through trash, track the ball to the edges and is not afraid to fill interior gaps on running plays.
He plays well in space, as the Ohio native can buzz back into coverage, flip his hips to open up and shoot out of transition to close on intermediate and underneath routes.
Michigan's 2014 Class Headliner
Without question, the headliner of Michigan's class is 5-star athlete/cornerback Jabrill Peppers. From New Jersey, he is a rare talent with an outstanding work ethic.
Peppers, who is 6'1" and 205 pounds, could be a 5-star running back, safety or receiver if he focused solely on any of those positions. He has the skills to play all three coverage techniques, speed to carry receivers deep and the strength to help support the run.
However, what separates Peppers from other prospects is his football intelligence. He has incredible instincts, plays with mental maturity and has an excellent natural feel for the game.
He will play as a true freshman. Don't be surprised if Peppers is a starter by the middle of the 2014 season.
And the Winner Is...
This was a difficult decision, as both classes appear to be even.
It is tempting to give Michigan the nod because Jabrill Peppers' commitment is so significant that it works as a tie-breaker in these types of debates.
However, Ohio State appears to have slightly more quality depth, with 10 4-star commitments in a 16-man class. Michigan has eight 4-star or higher recruits, but the rest of its 16 commitments are from 3-star prospects.
The Buckeyes are getting more bang for their buck—no pun intended—so they are the winners of this recruiting class battle.