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Football: Ohio State benefits in recruiting with blowout wins, spectacle for potential players

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OSU junior linebacker Raekwon McMillan (5) is congratulated by a young fan following the Buckeyes' 30-27 overtime win against Michigan on Nov. 26. Credit: Alexa Mavrogianis | Photo Editor

OSU junior linebacker Raekwon McMillan (5) is congratulated by a young fan following the Buckeyes’ 30-27 overtime win against Michigan on Nov. 26. Credit: Alexa Mavrogianis | Photo Editor

Ohio State and Michigan have locked heads over recruits before. Currently, two former Wolverines’ commits are making big plays for the Buckeyes in redshirt freshman running back Mike Weber and redshirt junior cornerback Gareon Conley. But after Saturday, OSU might get the upper hand in signings.

OSU pulled away in double overtime on a run by junior H-back Curtis Samuel with a wall of blockers in front of him. It was a statement run for a statement finish in a statement game. After the come-from-behind win, the Buckeyes proved just how good the team really is, and why the dozens of recruits should sign with the Scarlet and Gray.

Against Nebraska, OSU hosted more than 20 top-ranked recruits for the 2017 class, and nearly 100 recruits total. What the high school athletes were introduced to was a complete domination of the No. 10 ranked team in the country. A 62-3 performance is quite the showing to athletes itching to play at a university that doesn’t know the word “lose.”

If the team’s performance wasn’t enough to make a convincing case of OSU as a quality destination, the Buckeyes pulled out all the stops with a laser light show in the tunnel before the game and Nike throwback uniforms.

Fast-forward to Nov. 26, and it’s time for The Game. The playoff stakes were high between No. 2 OSU and No. 3 Michigan, and the last chance to see the Buckeyes in regular season action for the recruits came against OSU’s toughest opponent all year.

The potential commits in attendance and watching on television were treated to one of the best finishes in recent memory. In the first-ever overtime finish to the match between the Scarlet and Gray and Maize and Blue, OSU overcame an early deficit to win in walk-off fashion.

“Incredible gratitude to Buckeye Nation to supply that energy in that stadium,” OSU coach Urban Meyer said. “That’s as good as I ever heard. Someone told me 110,000 people. Going to ask Gene (Smith) to put more seats in there, man.”

A record crowd was as loud as ever in Ohio Stadium, and players fed off the energy to find a way to win. When asked about his unit’s defensive performance, junior linebacker Raekwon McMillan had some candid thoughts on the impact the team’s performance had on recruiting.

“Playing around all those great guys, in front of 110,000 people, Buckeye Nation going crazy … I don’t see how recruits could choose anywhere other than The Ohio State University,” he said.

Sure, it might have been little more than a plug for more players to come play for his team, but McMillan has a point. With just one losing season in the past decade, national championships in 2002 and 2014, one of the best college football coaches in Urban Meyer, and recent dominant performances, OSU might become a haven for four and five star recruits.

After all, OSU was able to wrangle players like Conley and Weber away from Michigan after first committing to Michigan. In time, the Buckeyes will have even more success in recruiting if the chips keep falling into place.

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