In several earlier articles, we've established that Kentucky recruiting has "crossed the river." Actually, the five Kentucky commitments in 2013 have established the fact. This amphibious assault is something that should've been done years ago. With that said, Kentucky poses no real threat to Ohio State because of Urban Meyer's strategic change to recruiting, which is to search out the most highly rated players from across the country rather than just from the Buckeye State.
70% (60 of 84 total) of Ohio State's Spring roster are from Ohio. That is followed by Michigan State (23 out of 93 players), Michigan (21 of 88 players) and Northwestern (14 of 83 players), Illinois (15 of 94 players), Indiana (12 of 95 players) and Purdue (3 of 91 players). Needless to say, we won't be discussing Purdue any further, and IU gets a mention only because they have 4 players from the Cincinnati area.
You would think Indiana would have more because of the close proximity to Cincinnati. Indiana is like every other Big Ten school in that they try to bring in players from Florida and Georgia in the hope of improving the performance. They've met with little success. They have eight from Florida and five from Georgia. They have ten players from Illinois. Their prospect list will seem very familiar. Unfortunately for them, they've not yet received a commitment.
Ron Zook is no longer the head coach. He tried to bring SEC style recruiting to the Big 10 before Urban Meyer. He was canned because of his lack of success and he's back at UF as an assistant coach. Second year coach, Tim Beckham, has a prospect list similar to Indiana's, but there is more emphasis on in-state recruiting. They have two Illinois recruits and one from Centerville, OH. All three recruits are Rivals 3 stars and are rated at 5.6, 5.5 and 5.5 respectively. The Ohio kid is one of the 5.5 rated.
If getting a great education is an important factor and you want to play in the Big Ten, Northwestern would be my school of choice. Northwestern has players from all over. They have three from the Cincinnati area and 11 from other areas of Ohio. Just for the record, the Wildcats have six from Florida. Northwestern's prospect list is a little more reasonable than Indiana's, and they've done better with their commitments. One is a non-rated player from Ohio. Northwestern's prospect list is probably the most reasonable in the Big Ten.
Michigan and Michigan State:
Indiana and Northwestern are not really all that competitive in Ohio. The competition gets a little stiffer when you look at Michigan and Michigan State. Michigan has 21 Ohio players on their spring roster of 88.
Of those 21, four are from the Cincinnati area. 32 players are from Michigan. Michigan and Ohio State have been rivals for decades and both recruit like big time schools because they are. Michigan's prospect List looks much like Ohio State's. Michigan has eight commitments and one of them is from Ohio (4 Star 5.9 rated Michael Ferns from Saint Clairsville).
Michigan State's roster of 93 for the spring consists of 44 players from Michigan and 23 from Ohio. Of that 23, seven are from the Cincinnati area. Both Michigan and Michigan State have 5 players from Florida. Michigan State has four players from Georgia compared to Michigan's one. The Michigan State prospect list looks like a repat of Michigan and Ohio State's. Michigan State has 6 commitments including one from Youngstown (3 Star 5.6 rated QB Chris Durken from Ursuline HS).
In Big Ten football, the Ohio kids trend toward Ohio State, Michigan and Michigan State. We'll all find out in February how UK fares against these Big Ten schools. Prepare to be impressed.
The final piece (Part 3) of this series will discuss the 2013 Spring rosters of UK, Notre Dame, West Virginia, Louisville, Cincinnati and Pittsburgh. We'll also include a brief discussion of Butch Jones and Tennessee.