According to Urban Meyer, the Ohio State vs. Michigan recruiting battles have lost their luster.
Meyer came to Ohio State expecting to battle with Michigan for the state of Ohio's elite high school talent, and for the first few years of his Buckeye coaching career, a battle is exactly what he got.
Between 2011 and 2014, Brady Hoke's Michigan team signed more players from Ohio (27) than any other state, including their home of Michigan (26). The Wolverines were signing top-100 players from the Buckeye State, like Kyle Kalis, Joe Bolden, Chris Wormley or Dymonte Thomas.
That all changed when Michigan hired Jim Harbaugh.
Since Harbaugh's arrival, the Wolverines have signed less than half in as many Ohio prospects in six years as Hoke-led Michigan did in four, and hasn't signed a single top-100 player from the state during that span. In two of Harbaugh's three most recent classes, the Wolverines didn't sign a single player from Ohio.
While talking to Dave Briggs of the Toledo Blade, Meyer was fairly blunt in his thoughts about Michigan's recent recruiting efforts in Ohio.
I asked Meyer if he was surprised by Harbaugh’s limited success in Ohio.
“I have been,” he told The Blade. “If you look a their history, and I know their history very well, two Heisman Trophy winners from Ohio, great players from Ohio. ... Coach [Ryan] 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 Brady Hoke and even coach Harbaugh. It was a street fight, because they were into Ohio everywhere.”
Does Meyer sense less of a “street fight” for Ohio prospects today?
“Oh, yeah,” he said. “I don’t feel the street fight at all.”
Michigan does currently hold two commitments from Ohio prospects in the 2021 class – the No. 393 and No. 513 players in the country, respectively – but Harbaugh will have to do much better than that if he wants to regain a foothold in the state.
As it stands now, Ohio State has built a rampart around the Buckeye State, and Michigan has been unable to penetrate it – and doesn't really seem to be trying all that hard.