Brittany Schock/ Asst. photo editor
In football recruiting, the name of the game for coaches is strike early and see what you can get. That is exactly what Urban Meyer has been doing, but Michigan coach Brady Hoke is not taking a back seat to Meyer.
Last Thursday, the Ohio State football recruiting class for 2013 was bolstered once again as defensive back Eli Woodard out of Voorhees, N.J., rated as the 28th-best prospect in the nation by Rivals.com, gave his pledge to the Buckeyes via Twitter.
This gives the Buckeyes four commitments, all in the top 130 players in the nation. Meyer is clearly still busy on the recruiting trail, but Hoke is building a respectable class of his own.
After the Buckeyes picked up Woodard, they leapfrogged the Wolverines, who as of last Thursday had just three commitments, including Shane Morris, a quarterback out of De La Salle High School in Warren, Mich., rated by Rivals as the No. 16 prospect in his class on the Rivals 100 list. Still, Michigan’s class had some room to grow. And boy, did it ever this past weekend.
With No. 8 OSU men’s basketball going to Ann Arbor to take on the No. 11 Wolverines in a prime-time matchup Saturday night, Hoke decided to host Michigan’s annual “Junior Day” as well. A whole host of prospects that U of M is targeting for next year’s class came out to participate in the weekend camp and meet with coaches and players. They also were fortunate enough to be able to attend the big basketball game, in which the Wolverines upset OSU in a nail-biter.
And the excitement, for Michigan fans of course, definitely carried over to the young recruits as an astounding eight prospects committed to Hoke’s class in a matter of two days. Offensive tackles David Dawson, Chris Fox, Kyle Bosch and Logan Tulley-Tillman all gave their pledges and will give Michigan depth on the offensive line for years to come. Also committing were running back Wyatt Shallman, defensive end Taco Charlton, tight end Jake Butt and cornerback Jourdan Lewis.
This load of commitments gives Michigan a humongous boost to the start of their class, as all eight are rated in the top 200 prospects overall by Rivals, along with Morris and safety Dymonte Thomas, giving Michigan 10 of the top 200 players in the country.
This development clearly is a stinging blow to Meyer and the Buckeyes, as Charlton and Butt, out of Pickerington, Ohio, were also considering the Buckeyes, but were able to be persuaded into leaving their home state. While the Buckeyes got off to a hot start, this just shows that Hoke will not be overwhelmed by the new guy in town, and is poised to hold his own and scrap and fight with Meyer for the top prospects in the Midwest.
The next move will be Meyer’s though, as the Buckeyes still have the vast majority of their top targets on the board, even after the loss of the Pickerington pair. It will be crucial for Meyer to try and hold down Ohio and secure as many pledges from Ohio as he can. But with connections in the southeast after his time in Florida, expect Meyer to pursue top talent from around the nation, not just the hometown kids.
After the huge weekend for Michigan, expect Meyer, known as a relentless recruiter, to bounce back and get right back to work. He is not a big fan of being one-upped by anyone (see two national championships), let alone a Michigan man.
Just as the name of the game in recruiting for coaches is fast starts, the name of the game for fans is waiting. And that’s just what we’ll have to do.
In Urban we trust.