Recruiting & Scouting

Ohio State no longer put off by the football talent in Michigan

Football   | Scott Burnstein

State Champs! Sports Network

 

 

While both Michigan and Michigan State have always feasted on talent in Ohio for years, Ohio State virtually ignored the recruiting terrain in Michigan. The Buckeyes occasionally signed athletes from Michigan (Farmington Hills Harrison’s Ricky Bryant, Detroit Cass Tech’s Vernon Gholston and Utica’s Craig Krenzel in the past two decades come to mind), but they were few and far between.

Well those days are gone. Since assuming the reins of the Buckeyes program in 2012, Ohio State coach Urban Meyer has been vocal in making recruiting the rich talent base in his neighboring state of Michigan a main priority. And he’s been successful.

With the Buckeyes’ snagging the commitment of Plymouth offensive lineman Michael Jordan (6-foot-7, 285 pounds) earlier this month, Meyer made it three recruiting classes in a row where Ohio State has walked away with a consensus top five prospect from Michigan.

Jordan, an incoming senior, is an athletic right guard and the No. 1-rated offensive lineman in the state according to a number of scouting websites. He holds scholarship offers from every major Big 10 school plus Miami (FL) and Notre Dame.

Descending on campus in Columbus shortly will be the high-wattage Detroit Cass Tech duo of running back Mike Weber and defensive end Josh Alabi. Their former teammate with the Technicians, cornerback Damon Webb, a 2014 Cass Tech grad and State Champs Mr. Football finalist, was a freshman on Ohio State’s National Championship team last season.

“Meyer and his staff have made recruiting in Michigan more of an emphasis,” said Scout.com’s Director of National Scouting Allen Trieu of the Buckeyes recent push into the state. “They’re concentrating on the area more than that particular program has in the past. (Ohio State secondary coach) Kerry Coombs is doing an excellent job of recruiting the area and it’s obviously paying dividends in these first handful of recruiting classes of theirs."

Trieu likes Jordan’s potential for stardom at the college level and the statement his commitment makes.

“Jordan is a great get, in terms of his upside and the fact that OSU beat out Michigan, Michigan State and Notre Dame for him, which is a big thing in itself and continues that trend in this area,” he said.

 

Going big in May

 

The Big 10 Conference made a big splash in the state of Michigan in May, snatching the services of over a half-dozen of the state’s top football recruits in Class of 2016 commitments in the first three weeks of the month.

In addition to Jordan, Lansing Catholic Central quarterback Tony Poljan committed to Minnesota, Orchard Lake St. Mary’s offensive lineman Cameron Kolwich committed to Northwestern, Michigan State snagged Detroit Cass Tech defensive back Demetric Vance and Traverse City West offensive lineman Thiyo Lukusa, and Iowa picked up commitments from a pair of Detroit East English Village Prep defensive ends, Cedric Lattimore and Chauncey Golston.

The 6-7 Poljan is a dual-threat quarterback and a two-sport all-state selection, excelling on the basketball court, too. He directed his football team to the Division 5 championship game as part of a 2014 campaign where he threw for 2,800 yards and 35 touchdowns.

“There were a lot of great schools out there, Minnesota is just the one that fits me the best,” said Poljan, who is considered a three-star prospect.

Lattimore and Golston, both listed at 6-5, 245 pounds, are also three-star recruits and sport quickness and a natural instinct in getting to the quarterback. They combined for 25 sacks in 2014.

Lukusa (6-5, 300) is a consensus Top 10 player in his class and spurned offers from Southeastern Conference schools in selecting MSU. He and Vance are both four-star recruits. Vance (6-2, 195) is a leader in the secondary.

“The recruiting process was filled with ups and downs, but I’m blessed for this opportunity and I’m more than excited about officially becoming part of the Spartan family,” Lukusa said.

The MSU coaching staff’s reputation for churning out pros was a factor in Vance’s decision.

“I’m eager to learn, I want to be taught, I want to be taught what it takes to get to the next level, what it takes to be an outstanding player and I know Michigan State is where I’m going to get that,” he said. 

Of the aforementioned recruits, Kolwich (6-5, 280) is the only one to have been part of a state championship team (Division 3) in 2014.