Former Ohio State coach John Cooper was famous for saying, “Put a fence around your border and recruit nationally.”
If the early 2014 recruiting class is any indication, Urban Meyer has made sure to add the phrase “and invade the surrounding areas of that school up north as well.”
So far, the Buckeyes have five junior commitments. Forty percent of those pledges come from just outside the shadows of Ann Arbor, Mich.
When defensive end Lawrence Marshall (Southfield, Mich./Southfield) committed to Ohio State on Sunday, it caused a minor meltdown on the WolverineNation message board.
Marshall is just 40 minutes away from the University of Michigan campus and held an offer from the Wolverines.
In saying “yes” to the Buckeyes, Marshall joined cornerback Damon Webb (Detroit/Cass Tech) as Michigan natives headed to Columbus, Ohio, next year.
Cass Tech, incidentally, is the feeder program for Michigan much like Cleveland Glenville is for the Buckeyes.
Cass Tech is just a 50-minute drive down Interstate 94 as well.
But the Buckeyes are more than just nabbing players from the Great Lakes State as the other three commitments hail from Ohio.
Offensive tackles Marcelys Jones (Cleveland/Glenville) and Kyle Trout (Lancaster, Ohio/Lancaster) as well as running back Parris Campbell Jr. (Akron, Ohio/St. Vincent-St. Mary) certainly know what it means to play in The Horseshoe.
Trout and Campbell committed on Sunday. Jones was a Christmas Day surprise.
All said Ohio State was where it was at.
“It means everything to be a Buckeye!” Campbell said in his interview with BuckeyeNation. “Just to know that I’m a part of something special. I’ve been an Ohio State fan since I was kid. It’s always been a dream to go there.”
“It’s a dream come true,” Trout added. “I had to be a Buckeye.”
Malik McDowell (Detroit/Loyola) is the next in Ohio State’s sights with an unofficial visit set up for next week.
After that, Meyer and Co. will likely turn their eyes to Georgia, where 15 juniors have already been offered, or to Texas, where 11 Lone Star state superstars hold the same moniker with the Buckeyes.
The border is hardly secure with big names such as wide receiver Marshon Lattimore (Cleveland/Glenville) and Thaddeus Snodgrass (Springfield, Ohio/Springfield) out there, as well as outside linebacker Kyle Berger (Cleveland/St. Ignatius) still on the big board for Ohio State.
For the most part, however, Ohio State will be looking elsewhere as Meyer tries to top a third-ranked 2013 class.