Ohio State’s battle with Michigan doesn’t just happen on the football field. It’s a 365-day war.
Especially when it comes to recruiting.
The Wolverines blew out of the gate with the No. 1 class in the nation in June thanks in large part to a February weekend when seven recruits committed.
The Buckeyes have been more methodical in their approach to filling out the class but have come on strong as signing day approaches.
Ohio State debuted at No. 7 and fell as low as ninth, but has springboarded past Michigan and now sits in the No. 4 spot behind Florida, Alabama and Notre Dame, respectively.
The Wolverines are seventh in the latest edition of the rankings. It’s the lowest the Wolverines have been ranked since the first poll was released.
But history shows the rankings are about as consistent as Ohio weather. If you don’t like, it wait an hour or two and things will change.
The Buckeyes picked up a big boost two weekends ago when ESPN 150 linebackers Trey Johnson (Lawrenceville, Ga./Central Gwinnett) and Mike Mitchell (Plano, Texas/Prestonwood Christian) gave their commitment.
Because Michigan has had to play a numbers game with so many early commitments, it has taken a back seat.
With safety Reon Dawson (Trotwood, Ohio/Trotwood-Madison) and offensive tackle Dan Samuelson (Plymouth, Ind./Plymouth) joining the class this week for the Wolverines, there’s no doubt they picked up a ratings boost. If ESPN 150 running back and one-time OSU target Derrick Green (Richmond, Va./Hermitage) joins the fold when he announces on Jan. 26, they’ll likely make a push as well.
Green is ranked 38th overall and is the fifth-best running back in the country.
A move toward the top will no doubt happen if Michigan can land the 6-foot, 215-pound running back.
Ohio State isn’t done by any stretch, either, as the staff is pursuing ESPN 150 safety Vonn Bell (Rossville, Ga./Ridgeland) as well as ESPN 300 seniors Cameron Hunt (Corona, Calif./Centennial) at offensive guard and Shelton Gibson (Cleveland Heights, Ohio/Cleveland Heights) and Kyrin Priester (Snellville, Ga./Brookwood) at wide receiver.
Even a commit from four-star wideout James Clark (New Smyrna Beach, Fla./New Smyrna Beach) could solidify the Buckeyes in the top five by signing day.
So what does it all mean?
As always, an Ohio State-Michigan rivalry will play out until Feb. 6, when the combined 19 ESPN 150 and 29 ESPN 300 seniors that make up both schools sign with their respective teams.
Those numbers should only balloon in the coming weeks, making this yet another battle for Big Ten supremacy between the rivals.
After that, it’s back to the gridiron, where the two will duke it out again before preparing to close out the 2014 class a year from now.