Does In-State Recruiting Supremacy Matter?

The WolverineCorrespondent IJune 30, 2009

ANN ARBOR, MI - OCTOBER 25: Head coach Mark Dantonio of the Michigan State Spartans shakes hands with head coach Rich Rodriguez of the Michigan Wolverines after a Michigan State 35-21 victory on October 25, 2008 at Michigan Stadium in Ann Arbor, Michigan.  (Photo by Gregory Shamus/Getty Images)

I've been going back and forth on the in-state debate.

On one hand, of course you want to land the top players from your state. On the other hand, if those players aren't the best players at the position, aren't the best for your system, and there are better players nationally, then what's the big deal?

Rivals' Analyst and Freep "Special Writer" Josh Helmholdt discusses whether Michigan can regain in-state supremacy from Michigan State. He concludes the Wolverines "have work to do" in order to regain it.

I'm not so sure it matters.

Take Joe Boisture, for example. Obviously not a good fit for Coach Rodriguez's spread option offense. Do we really care if Michigan doesn't land him? But according to the pundits, we "lost" that battle. What about Devin Gardner? Do we get extra points because he's exactly the type of quarterback for Coach Rodriguez's system?

At some point, the "battle" really isn't a battle because many of the prospects aren't suited for either school.

Wouldn't a better measure of the recruiting battle be to look at what the players actually do on the field? The counter argument presupposes complete reliance on the ranking services, which we know are ultimately flawed.

I'd like to measure the battle by the results on the field, not the number of stars assigned by an analyst who hasn't seen a kid play one down of college ball. Should MSU be able to claim a recruiting victory if they had landed a more highly touted running back and wideout than three-star recipients Braylon Edwards and Mike Hart?

Of course we can say that losing William Gholston was a big loss for the Wolverines, but certainly no bigger than MSU losing Will Campbell and Mike Martin on the defensive line in prior years. And does Ricardo Miller enter the picture once his transfer is complete? So many questions...

I can understand why in-state players and particularly in-state coaches pay attention to the "in-state battle". I can also understand why analysts love to talk about it because the in-state battle sells papers.

Objectively speaking though, from an out-of-state fan's perspective, I don't really care if MSU beats us in in-state recruiting every year. It doesn't matter, as long as our overall class is stronger, and we win more games.

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Oh yeah, and as long as we beat them on the field.