The state of Ohio has long been a hotbed of recruiting activity, not only for the Ohio State Buckeyes, but for teams within the Big Ten. Knowing Ohio State can sign twenty-five players at most in a given recruiting class (sorry Tennessee fans, Ohio State coaches don’t believe in that SEC oversigning concept – zing!), the opportunity for other teams to target Ohio talent is high.
For as many years as I can recall, the number one rival on Ohio State’s recruiting list has been Michigan. “That Team Up North” has been able to lure many players to Ann Arbor, guaranteeing those players a lifetime of enmity from Ohio State fans. Mr. John Bacon (@Johnubacon), author of tremendous books such as “Fourth And Long: The Fight For The Soul Of College Football” , “Three And Out”, and “Bo’s Lasting Lessons” (all highly recommended, by the way), identifies the pressure faced by Ohioans who leave for That Team Up North as a “one-way street”.
Below was a brief Twitter passage I had with Mr. Bacon, regarding former Michigan WR John Kolesar, along the lines of “the one way street” Mr. Bacon made during the course of his BTN interview…
@ChipMinnich Much thanks, Chip. And true story. Kolesar being a fine example.
— John U. Bacon (@Johnubacon) November 30, 2013
Looking at the top ranked Ohio players for 2014, Ohio State is in line to have several sign on the dotted line on February 5th. Among the top ten rated players in the state, only one, LB Michael Ferns, was recruited by Ohio State and decided to sign with That Team Up North.
Ohio State is slated to sign nine players from the state of Ohio. Indiana has six, Michigan State four, and most of The B1G with only one or two; some teams have none (see graph below). Kentucky, led by Ohio native Mark Stoops, has eleven Ohioans slated for his incoming recruiting class. The key to all of this information? Ohio State was able to get the players it wanted, with Ferns being the most notable exception.
Ohio high school football will always be a prime target for Ohio State and teams around the country. As long as Urban Meyer is able to keep most of the home-grown talent flowing into Columbus, Buckeye fans may be able to breathe easier when they see Ohioans taking their talents elsewhere.