Former Ohio State head coach Urban Meyer knows how important recruiting is to the success of a college football program. Over the years, he developed a reputation as one of the strongest recruiters in college football history.
He didn't have tunnel vision, however. In his final Gold Pants speech last summer, he talked about having an eye on the Buckeyes' top rival year round.
"How do you really show respect for a rivalry?" Meyer asked rhetorically nine months ago. "You work that [expletive] every day. Every day. You walk in that staff room – this is for the new coaches, you know who they recruit. You know what they’re doing every day. What I ask Mark Pantoni – who are they recruiting? Who are they going after?"
For Buckeye fans, that might be hard to do at the moment while Ohio State is in the midst of a surprising (yet welcome) recruiting hot streak.
Ryan Day and his staff have been on fire, securing a total of 14 pledges for its 2021 recruiting class. Four of those 14 pledges came within the last week despite an unexpected recruiting dead period that was forced upon all college football staffs as a result of the coronavirus pandemic.
Day has Ohio State in a commanding position to claim the 2021 recruiting title with a class that currently ranks No. 1 by a wide margin. But as Meyer highlighted in his speech to the Gold Pants Club last summer, you can never lose sight of what Michigan's up to, especially on the recruiting front.
With that in mind, we're power ranking all two (2) of Michigan's 2021 verbal commitments.
J.J. McCarthy, Quarterback
J.J. McCarthy is a fantastic 5-star prospect out of La Grange Park, Illinois. His offer list blew up before the start of his junior season and he had his choice of schools like LSU, Ohio State, Penn State and host of others to choose from.
He knew he wanted to play for the coach who molded Andrew Luck into a can't-miss quarterback prospect, so he committed to play for Jim Harbaugh and Michigan in May of 2019.
McCarthy is the kind of 5-star talent you can build a class around despite being ranked here as the second to last recruit in Michigan's class. His situation is comparable to what Day has in a pair of 5-star pledges: defensive end Jack Sawyer (ranked the No. 2 player nationally) and quarterback Kyle McCord, in addition to the trio of 5-star prospects Ohio State is projected to land, according to 247Sports' Crystal Ball predictions.
Giovanni El-Hadi, Offensive Tackle
No. 2 and last on the list is Giovanni El-Hadi, an impressive 6'5", 285-pound offensive tackle from Sterling Heights, Michigan.
El-Hadi's recruitment followed a similar vibe to McCarthy's. His offer list isn't quite as impressive as Indiana, Iowa State, Penn State and Purdue were the only AQ schools to offer him before he committed to Michigan. That's not a reflection of his talent, he's rated a 4-star prospect and the No. 10 offensive tackle and 71st prospect nationally. It's more a reflection of his early commitment to the Wolverines, as he offered his pledge a year ago today.
Should Michigan fans be worried that it only has two commitments while Ohio State is running away from the rest of the country with 14? Absolutely not! It's still early and there's a lot of football to be played and dominoes to fall. Everyone in Ann Arbor and around the country should know that "the BluePrint is out."