The state of Ohio tends to be a fertile recruiting area, particularly for the Midwest. Maybe it doesn’t produce the kind of talent as Florida, Georgia, Texas or California, but it certainly knows how to develop players into big-time prospects.
Because of that, several B1G teams attempt to invade Ohio for talent. It’s also why Ohio State places a strong emphasis on in-state recruiting. Michigan used to be able to poach some of the state’s most skilled players away, but that hasn’t been the case too recently.
Lately, Michigan has struggled recruiting the state of Ohio under Jim Harbaugh. That’s something that has surprised former Buckeyes head coach Urban Meyer, considering how prominent the Wolverines used to be in the state.
“I have been (surprised by Harbaugh’s limited success in Ohio),” Meyer told Toledo Blade’s David Briggs. “If you look a their history, and I know their history very well, two Heisman Trophy winners from Ohio, great players from Ohio. … Coach Day and myself and our recruiting guy, we monitor them. Even to this day, I’ll ask, ‘What’s going on (at Michigan)?’ That usually was a street fight when we first got there, with (former Wolverines head coach) Brady Hoke and even coach Harbaugh. It was a street fight, because they were into Ohio everywhere.”
Michigan benefited greatly from the transition from Meyer to Day, landing six Ohio prospects in the 2019 recruiting class. However, that’s been about all the success Harbaugh has had in the state over the last four classes. Michigan’s 2018 and 2020 recruiting classes did not feature one player from Ohio. Currently, the Wolverines have two Ohio players committed in the 2021 class.
Meyer says that the current battle for Ohio prospects isn’t really a battle at all.
“I don’t feel the street fight at all,” Meyer said.
Ohio State is now piecing together an historic recruiting class with the 2021 cycle. The Buckeyes have received verbal pledges from 18 players, 13 of which are ranked inside the top 150. The Buckeyes ranks first nationally with the class and have put a pretty significant gap between themselves and the rest of the college football world.
Michigan’s class is strong, but ranks 11th nationally and fourth in the B1G currently.