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April 22, 2014
Recruiting in Ohio remains strong
Under head coach Brady Hoke Michigan has enjoyed tremendous success recruiting in Ohio but some fear the Wolverines' pipeline will dry up as Urban Meyer exerts more of his will.
Cause for concern comes from a 2014 class in which U-M secured just two Ohioans, its lowest tally since it failed to sign a player from Ohio in the 2007 class. However, this 2014 haul was unique in that its 16 total signees represented the Maize and Blue's fewest commitments in more than 20 years.
The Wolverines have already surpassed last year's mark, landing verbal commitments from three Ohioans among the six total 2015 offers they've extended to players that hail from the Buckeye State. And U-M is in strong position to secure at least two more - Cleveland defensive end Dre'Mont Jones and Cincinnati linebacker Justin Hilliard.
Hoke cleaned up in Ohio in 2012, signing nine players from the state, including four-stars S Jarrod Wilson, LB Joe Bolden and DL Tom Strobel, and five-star OL Kyle Kalis. Additionally, three-star DE Chris Wormley held an Ohio State offer (as did Kalis and Strobel).
Fans of the Scarlet and Gray expected Michigan's success within their borders to end with Meyer's arrival, citing the fact that U-M landed just a single player in the 2012 class - three-star DT Willie Henry - after Meyer was hired Nov. 28, 2011.
However, Meyer couldn't slow the Maize and Blue down in 2013, as U-M again signed nine players from Ohio among 18 offers. The Wolverines went head to head with the Buckeyes for eight players and came away with four commitments: LB Ben Gedeon, LB Mike McCray, RB De'Veon Smith and S Dymonte Thomas (a good number of other players that held both U-M and OSU offers went to different schools).
In the 2014 class, Michigan went 1-5 against Ohio State, again causing some panic, but the Wolverines are off to a solid start this year, grabbing a commitment from DB Shaun Crawford in their only head-to-head battle with the Buckeyes so far. If U-M lands Hilliard, it will take two of the state's top-four prospects and three of its top nine (DB Tyree Kinnel is ranked ninth).
Michigan's overall numbers in Ohio probably won't be significant this season because the program is again in position for a small class but in 2016 the Maize and Blue should have at 20 or more scholarships to offer, and Hoke has shown no sign of backing down (or losing on the recruiting trail) to Meyer.