5 Biggest Michigan vs. Ohio State Recruiting Battles for the Class of 2015
Michigan and Ohio State will forever harbor a mutual disdain for as long as they play each other on the college football field. Of course, the Wolverines haven't exactly lived up to their end of the bargain, winning just thrice since 2000. They are in need of a boost if they wish to earn bragging rights in late November.
Winning on Saturday is the goal, and if Brady Hoke wants to maintain the Maize and Blue's 58-45-6 series advantage, he must continue beating Urban Meyer's program on the recruiting trail, which is something he's done for the past three years.
This slideshow will present five athletes who are torn between Michigan and Ohio State. They're 4- and 5-star recruits who list each school in their top five as of early June.
Some of them are native Ohioans and Michiganders, but there are others from around the country who would love to take part in one of the NCAA's most passionate rivalries, regardless of side. One or two of those guys might make the list too.
4-Star WDE Jashon Cornell
Jashon Cornell is from Minnesota, so he's likely aware of what Michigan vs. Ohio State means to the Big Ten, and it's probably safe to assume that he knows of the rivalry's historical significance as well.
The 4-star weak-side defensive end has the Wolverines and Buckeyes among his top suitors, along with Alabama, Notre Dame and Penn State.
At the moment, Michigan doesn't appear to be in his top three. But he's most definitely of high interest to the Wolverines.
Back in May 2013, the 6'4," 260-pounder received an offer from Michigan. That fall, he attended the Notre Dame game as an unofficial visit.
With more than a year of exposure to and contact from the Wolverines, it would be logical to assume that Cornell is willing to give Hoke a chance come Aug. 28—the start of his senior year at St. Paul Cretin-Derham Hall—which is the day he plans to decide, per 247Sports.
On May 3, 2014, Cornell strolled into Columbus for an unofficial visit. Since then, he's picked up offers from Alabama and Oregon and visited Penn State.
5-Star OLB Justin Hilliard
Well, this one's from O-H-I-O, so you know what that means: He's probably going to Ohio State, because Urban Meyer doesn't let many, if any, 5-stars get out of his backyard. And he'll hit other areas to get theirs, too.
Luckily for Meyer, Justin Hilliard, No. 1 among Ohioan preps, is down the road a ways in Cincinnati. The St. Xavier's star is the No. 2-ranked outside linebacker of 2015 and has "warm" interest in the Wolverines and Buckeyes.
At 6'2," and 230 pounds, he is an ideal physical specimen, which is why everyone and their brother wants him at their school.
He's not out of range for Michigan by any means, but yanking him from Ohio won't be easy. Meyer will make certain of that.
On March 15 Hilliard unofficially visited Michigan. Since then, he's hit Columbus twice on March 21 and May 17.
5-Star SDE Terry Beckner Jr.
According to 247Sports, Terry Beckner Jr. is the No. 3-ranked strong-side defensive end of 2015. The 6'4," 293-pounder out of East St. Louis, Illinois, has the Wolverines and Buckeyes in his top five.
However, Mizzou is hot on the trail of Beckner, who's just across the river in the far-west portion of the Land of Lincoln. The Tigers are emerging as a nationally relevant program, so don't automatically assume that this race is down to Michigan and Ohio State, for which he has "warm" interest.
Beckner hasn't visited Ann Arbor, but he could do so rather soon.
5-Star RB Damien Harris
By now, you've had your fill of Damien Harris, the No. 1-ranked running back in the country, per 247Sports. And I've had my fill of trying to come up with clever "thoroughbred" references to the Bluegrass State's top prep.
Get it? Horses...Kentucky...
OK, moving on...
Harris was once committed to Michigan, which you knew. Then, Ohio State, among others, fell into the mix, which you also you knew. The 5'11", 205-pound speedster has the Wolverines and Buckeyes in his top five—again, you're probably aware of that as well.
Hoke's mission of getting back what was his to begin with is the angle here. And the task of beating Meyer for the prize makes Harris the No. 2 guy on this list.
I suppose if Michigan indeed gets Ty Isaac, it lessens some of the sting of losing Damien Harris, and perhaps losing him to Ohio State.— Nick Baumgardner (@nickbaumgardner) June 5, 2014
4-Star CB/ATH Brian Cole
This one's easy: Brian Cole is the No. 1-ranked athlete in Michigan, and keeping Saginaw Heritage's 4-star in state should be the goal for Hoke, who, since taking over in 2011, has routinely snagged some of the best in The Mitten.
He's stolen them from rivals too.
Remember Drake Harris? The former Grand Rapids Christian star receiver was committed to Michigan State, but then Ohio State and Alabama joined the party. However, Hoke fought them off and won Harris, an early enrollee who enters his freshman year of football this fall.
Southfield's Lawrence Marshall was also one of the Great Lakes State's best in 2013. The 4-star linebacker chose Michigan over Ohio State as well.
So, that leaves Cole to either break or continue the streak. The 6'2," 190-pounder is the No. 5-ranked athlete of 2015, No. 64 overall. It's a no-brainer: He's a must-get for Hoke, who's also battling Michigan State.
On Nov. 30 Cole, who is actually considered as a Spartans lean by many, unofficially visited Michigan. On March 21 he took an unofficial to Columbus.
Recruiting information courtesy of 247Sports.
Follow Bleacher Report's Michigan Wolverines football writer Adam Biggers on Twitter @AdamBiggers81
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