The message has been sent loud and clear.
Ohio State is coming into the mitten with guns blazing.
Back in 2012 in his first few months on the job, Buckeyes head football coach Urban Meyer announced his intention of heavily recruiting the state of Michigan, a region that the program neglected to concentrate in past regimes in Columbus.
The high-profile tactician, winner of two National Championships while at Florida, has followed through on his mandate; especially for the Buckeyes’ Class of 2014 recruiting crop.
On Sunday, Southfield defensive end Lawrence Marshall (6-foot-5, 240 pounds) committed to Ohio State. Marshall, considered an elite recruit by several Midwest-based scouting services, is the second commitment of a top recruit in the state’s Class of 2014 snared by the Ohio State coaching staff, coming on the heels of Detroit Cass Tech’s Damon Webb (WR-DB) pledging his allegiance to the Buckeyes in January.
The Buckeyes have rebounded fast under Meyer in the wake of the Jim Tressel era on the sidelines, which ended abruptly in 2011 following a slew of sanctions by the NCAA.
The program finished a perfect 12-0 last fall in Meyer’s first year at the helm, but due to the violations under Tressel’s regime, Ohio State was ineligible to play for a national title.
Meyer’s 2013 recruiting class is ranked No. 1 in the country by a majority of experts.
Only two players on the Buckeyes 2012 roster hailed from the state of Michigan.
With the likes "impact recruits" such as Marshall and Webb joining the cause for 2014, Meyer and his staff are more than well on their way to becoming a force to be reckoned with in the area for years to come.
Webb won a state championship last season at Cass Tech, while Marshall racked up 105 tackles, 12 quarterback hurries and six sacks and helped spark Southfield to a second straight playoff appearance. When he was a sophomore, Marshall started on the defensive line for a Southfield squad that raised a district title banner.
Although before now Ohio State has never zeroed in specifically on recruiting the state’s prep ranks on a regular basis, this is not to say that the Buckeyes haven’t had some quality pick-ups from Metro Detroit.
In 2002, Macomb County’s Craig Krenzel (Utica Ford) was under center, quarterbacking the Buckeyes to a National Championship. In the late-2000s, the Motor City’s own Vernon Gholston (Cass Tech) was an All-Big 10 selection on the defensive line for Ohio State and eventually a first-round NFL Draft choice.
Now that Meyer has decided to reverse protocol in Columbus and recruit the state hard there are certainly going to be more Michigan born-and-bred Buckeyes coming down the pike.
Brady Hoke at Michigan and Mark Dantonio at Michigan State have without question taken notice and will have to respond.
No doubt, whatever the outcome, it’s going to make for an intriguing next couple of years on the state’s recruiting scene.