The Hurry Up: Ohio State's Dominance in The Game Extends to Recruiting Battles

By Zack Carpenter on November 29, 2019 at 5:45 pm
Zach Harrison
Zach Harrison

The Hurry Up is your nightly dose of updates from the Ohio State football recruiting trail, keeping tabs on the latest from commits and targets from around the country.

The Game is symbolic of recruiting battles

Michigan or Ohio State. Ohio State or Michigan. 

Zach Harrison was going to be the next defensive star for one of those programs. It was just a matter of which one. The five-star Olentangy Orange defensive eventually chose to stay in Ohio.

The Game doesn’t kick off until noon tomorrow, but the Buckeyes are already at least 8-0 against the Wolverines in the last seven years. That’s how big of a commitment Harrison was for the Buckeyes. He’s the best candidate to carry on the lineage of star Ohio State defensive ends who get developed and cultured here before thriving in the NFL. 

It’s not going to get any air time on a documentary of the two school’s hatred for each other, but having Harrison choose Ohio State over Michigan was another major moment in this rivalry, and it’s symbolic of the program’s dominance over the Wolverines. 

It’s not just on the field. Urban Meyer crushed Jim Harbaugh in Ohio recruiting, and Ryan Day seems set up to do the same. Of the 10 Ohioan juniors with offers from Day, four have committed, two look like near-locks to eventually join, one is headed to Notre Dame, and three more are up in the air. 

One of those who is up in the air is running back Corey Kiner, who seems to be a perfect cultural fit for Ohio State as far as attitude and leadership goes, but Michigan is the school the Buckeyes seem to be contending with the most for his services. 

It’s the same with fellow 2021 running back Donovan Edwards, whom Ohio State would be through the moon to nab. Edwards is one of six juniors currently with Buckeye offers within the Michigan borders. 

That list includes offensive lineman Rayshaun Benny, a 6-foot-4, 270-pound native of Oak Park High School in Michigan who is ranked as the state’s No. 8 prospect and the nation’s No. 30 offensive tackle.

Benny is most likely going to attend the Ohio State-Michigan game this weekend, but what’s absolutely certain is the positive experience he got during his visit Saturday for the Buckeyes’ win over Penn State.

“The vibe was cool and welcoming,” Benny told Eleven Warriors. “Their program looked like even more of a fit considering the fact that they kept stressing brotherhood.

“I can say they definitely put themselves high on the list. I was down there with my mom and brother and they loved it.”

“We put their recruiting list on the board, compare our guys to theirs just about every day, every week." – Ryan Day

Benny is just one example of a Michigan player on the Wolverines’ recruiting board whom Ohio State is targeting. It’s a seemingly endless comparison the two programs undergo every day.

“We take a lot of pride in recruiting the state of Ohio,” Day said on Tuesday. “We put their recruiting list on the board, compare our guys to theirs just about every day, every week. Something that (Ohio State director of player personnel) Mark (Pantoni) looks at every day.

“Part of how you live this rivalry is you compare yourselves every day against them. We take a lot of pride in the fact we recruit Ohio at a high level and are very competitive. We do a good job, too. They have good recruiters, obviously a wonderful program. It's always a big challenge. That's why we go at it every day.”

That recruiting board has been on the wall of the Ohio State offices since the first day that Day arrived, he says. He also says the Wolverines’ recruiting board can help influence the decisions his own program makes on their own recruiting trail and in their own evaluations of players.

“It just gives you some awareness of where we're at, the battles that we're in against certain guys,” Day said. “We rank our people. We just want to always know exactly who those guys are because we know we're going to be playing them. That's what's important.

“In recruiting sometimes you don't worry about the guys you don't get, you worry about the guys you do get. When you're going up against a team up north, you know you're going to be playing against them, so it does matter who you don't get. We look at this very carefully.”

“I have that killer instinct”

Since I know you’re not getting aggravated or annoyed with the daily updates on the 2020 receiver class – it really is historic enough to warrant the almost endless praise – here’s some more.

Please give this piece by Dallas Morning News sports reporter Joseph Hoyt a read, detailing why Smith-Njigba is one of the best in Texas state history. 

“I have that killer instinct,” Smith-Njigba says. 

Hopefully that’s a clickbait-y enough quote for you. 

Friday Mailbag

We lied to you. We'll have the Friday Mailbag: Sunday Edition Part II ready for you this weekend.

Just try to stay patient with us. Crazy week.

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