Keep your friends close and your enemies closer, correct? As painful as keeping tabs on the Buckeyes and Spartans has been this year, Michigan fans should still be aware of the recruiting efforts of Urban Meyer and Mark Dantonio -- a pair of coaches who have their names on the minds of recruits across the Midwest and beyond. Besides, half the fun of recruiting is knowing what each and every player will bring to the table the second his name is announced on national television.
Ohio State was a recruiting power under Jim Tressel, and Urban Meyer has continued those efforts in even more impressive fashion. The Buckeyes came in at second place in 247 Sports' Team Composite Rankings in 2013, and they're currently on pace to finish in the top five in the class of 2014. These are the first two full recruiting classes for Urban Meyer, who is still largely playing with another man's talent. I'm so damn
scared excited to see how his classes perform together on the field.
In more specific news, Ohio State is in the same boat as Michigan right now, putting the finishing touches on its 2014 class while shifting the better part of its focus over to the class of 2015. One of their final 2014 prospects is five-star LB prospect Raekwon McMillan; Miles Joseph of LGHL believes he'll end up going to OSU:
I have maintained all along that Raekwon will be a Buckeye when it's all said and done. This news makes me feel even better about my pick. Alabama and Clemson will be the Buckeyes biggest competition here.
Buckeyes have been confident about this for quite some time, and I agree with them.
Urban Meyer and his staff put out four new offers not long after losing to Michigan State in the Big Ten Championship, and three of those offers went out to 2015 prospects. One of those prospects, California CB Iman Marshall, is a mutual recruit.
Finally, four-star Florida cornerback Jamel Dean became the second member of OSU's 2015 class on December 2nd. Highlights:
Dean has solid size for a cornerback and also shows the ability to burn corners as a receiver. Urban Meyer's ties to Florida paid off yet again.
Michigan State hasn't been recruiting on the same level as Michigan or Ohio State, but it's clear that their coaching staff knows how to identify talent that fits their scheme as well as possible. Five-stars or not, Sparty's prospects have come through with great production at the next level.
The Spartans are in the same situation as the Buckeyes and Wolverines, focusing mostly on the 2015 class as 2014 winds down. They're still after a few senior prospects, including mutual prospect Malik McDowell, and they just filled a hole at tight tight when Montez Sweat committed. He's quite the athlete, shining on the basketball court:
Combined with a 6'6" frame, Sweat embodies your typical Spartan commitment. He's raw, possibly underrated and could turn into a solid defensive end or tight end -- two positions the Spartans have had success at in recent years.
The Spartans' ability to recruit should get a boost following their Big Ten Championship performance, according to Sean Scherer of 247 Sports($):
Now with MSU being crowned 2013 Big Ten champions and the Rose Bowl invite gives those prospects even more reason to choose MSU over additional offers.
Also, MSU making it back to the Rose Bowl will have an impact as the MSU coaches look to try to recruit nationally. Keep in mind that MSU's victory over Ohio State had over 10 million viewers, and that statement win over the Buckeyes will help the Spartans recruit on a national level.
When the MSU coaches are out recruiting this week, look for them to be wearing plenty of 2013 Big Ten Championship gear.
Sean is right. The proverbial monkey has been removed from Michigan State's back, and many recruits will take them more seriously because of it. That isn't to say that MSU didn't deserve that respect before, but many recruits still considered Michigan, Ohio State and other schools over the Spartans because of reputations that are sometimes built on nothing more than tradition. For Michigan State, their reputation is changing for the better.