Recruiting Comparison: OSU vs UM Since 2011 (ESPN)

Submitted by MGoStrength on November 24th, 2017 at 9:37 AM

Most of us know this already, but I was having a discussion on another thread and it appears some don't so I decided to post it here.  This is not meant to be a Debbie Downer, just meant to illuminate that OSU is and has been for quite some time, more talented than us.  Also, you can chose a different recruiting service and get a slightly different ranking, but the general theme will be the same.  This is just since 2011 to prevent it from taking too long to put together. Without further ado here is how we compare for the last 8 years.


OSU - 16
UM - 14


OSU - 7
UM - 30


OSU - 6
UM - 7


OSU - 3
UM - 6


OSU - 7
UM - 18


OSU - 6
UM - 40


OSU - 5
UM - 6


OSU - 2
UM - 6


OSU - 6.5
UM - 15.1



  • When OSU was going through Tatgate and had the coaching change they had the #16 class.
  • When we transferred from RR to Hoke we had the #30 class.
  • When we transitioned from Hoke to Harbaugh we had the #40 class.
  • OSU's coaching change costed them an average of 10 spots.
  • Our coaching changes costed us an average of 15 spots.
  • Our top classes were #6 and #7.
  • OSU's top classes were #2 and #3 (OSU does currently have the #1 class for 2018 which projects to be a down class for us).
  • Our current freshman and sophomores are more closely ranked to theirs however our current juniors and seniors are much less talented.
  • If we both continue to recruit this way we will be similarly talented in 2 more years, albeit still slightly worse.
  • Overall even when we have years of great classes, they also have great classes which outperform us, but when we both have down years our down years are down much further than theirs.


The original point was that we are not going to out-talent OSU.  We have never really recruited better than OSU in the modern era with any consistently and probably can't project to anytime soon.  They have many of the same resources we do, but with more recent success and fewer coaching changes.  We are likely going to have to do more with less through coaching, scouting, and development.  I am not sure this is currently happening, but to be fair we still have to wait another year or two to really tell assuming both Harbaugh & Meyer are still around.



November 24th, 2017 at 10:29 AM ^

A few things.  One, Hoke's only victory of OSU was after Tressell quit and they had an interim head coach.  That is the worst OSU season in the last 15 years.  Two, Harbaugh has come close as well, ie last year.  Three, OSU has a rivalry with us which is always built up, the last game of the year, etc.  So, they are always up for us.  It's harder for us to upset them than other teams.  We never have the advantage of being a trap game or having another difficult game afterwards.  We always get their best effort.  Finally, our average recruiting ranking of our current team (last 4 years) is #17.5, OSU's is #5.  From my perspective, that is not close enough to win, especially considering most of our talent is freshman/sophomore and their's is even distributed.


November 24th, 2017 at 4:21 PM ^

I really can't believe so many people in this fanbase can't look at the context when making statements like "well, psu, MSU and Iowa have beat them in the 3 years, we have no excuse." OSU under Meyers has played down to competition several times and has let overmatched teams beat them because they just did not come out to play. Then they get pissed a play up to their potential and look invisible.
With how good MSU has been I am not sure how they could let them sneak up on them, or not get up for the game. However, they have. The MSU vs OSU was probably the worst game under Meyers imo. Clemson was bad but Clemson was a very good team. Msu in 2015 was very close to losing 4 games that year and without their qb. But the player and coaches seemed to just call it in and took a very embarrassing home lose.
With that being said, msu got all of OSU attention this year after an embarrassing lose and got absolutely destroyed. If OSU played like that, which is how they look at the Michigan game, teams like psu (last year), MSU (2015) and Iowa (this year) would not beat them.
That is the biggest difference with Michigan and the other teams. They simply want to destroy Michigan and don't with the other teams allowing for the occasional very flat games.
This is not an excuse, it is a reality. They same thing happens in every "arch rivalry". It is harder for Auburn to beat bama than a Mississippi state; it is harder for Texas to beat Oklahoma than an Iowa State. These teams can sneak up on these teams where their rivals can't.


November 24th, 2017 at 11:06 AM ^

MonkeyMan, I agree...

There is a difference in talent but the talent difference is not so great that the result is a foregone conclusion. The players must still execute.

Also, Hoke was within one score in the 4th quarter in all 4 of his games. His teams were always ready to play.

In fact, Michigan has performed very well in Ann Arbor (up until '15) with no more than an 11-point deficit. The '13 game was 42-41, the '11 game was a Michigan win, even RichRod in Ann Arbor played a respectable 21-10 game. '07 was another 11-point game. '05 went down to the wire, '03 was a Michigan win, '01 was within a score and if there were 5 more minutes of game action Michigan probably would have come back to win. And then we go back to the Cooper era and the previous OSU win in Ann Arbor was '87. Until '15 happened, it could be said that Michigan definitively does not get blown out by OSU in Ann Arbor, the very worst of losses were 2-score games.

I expect Michigan's best game of the entire season tomorrow. Let's get it on!


November 24th, 2017 at 11:54 AM ^

For the purpose of assessing Harbaugh or where we are now, let's acknowledge that we won last year. What Harbaugh did with Hoke recruits was trUMendous [sic].

If tomorrow is a tire fire, don't forget how much of that is due to that transition class, which makes every key injury that much more difficult... and we've had more than our share this year.

Even with all that, I don't count us out at all. The future is BRIGHT, and the present ain't hopeless. GO BLUE


November 24th, 2017 at 12:33 PM ^

Two things about this argument that make it funny. Urban has come into Michigan and plucked kids Harbaugh wanted. Harbaugh has not done the same in Ohio. Secondly Urban isn't even recruiting the state of Ohio that hard anymore. Look at the numbers from this class and last class. The Ohio kids make up most of the bottom half of last years class and this years class will only have 4-5 in state players. We can talk about about instate talent, but Michigan's is going to be walking out the door in 2019 and 2020.


November 24th, 2017 at 9:46 AM ^

We are not going to out-talent them this year but you're right, the talent Harbaugh has brought in the past two years (his only full recruiting classes) has been on par with what OSU has done. 

Aside from the OL issues (which take time to grow and develop) the big issue I see is lack of experienced depth. I think Harbaugh will still be here, but I doubt Meyer is at OSU more than 2-3 more years, so we may not get many Full Harbaugh teams vs OSU (i.e., talent/depth is equal and it all comes down to coaching).


November 24th, 2017 at 10:37 AM ^

Meyer is not going anywhere. He, like Don Brown, are fantastic coaches whose offensive and defensive schemes work like crazy in the college arena but would not hold up in the NFL.

Urban is on a dream scenario. He pulls in top 5-10 classes regularly, wins Big Ten titles, contends for National Championships, and has crushed his rival...with that not looking to drastically change anytime soon. He will have a statue built in his honor at The Shoe once he retires. Literally.


November 28th, 2017 at 12:04 PM ^

I don't think Meyer loves coaching the way Harbaugh does. He had those "health issues" before and he just seems, to me anyway, like he's a guy who'll leave well before he should. As in he could still coach for several more years. I wouldn't be surprised to see Meyer leave after 3-4 more years. 

Harbaugh has said his goal was to play as long as he could, coach and then die. Now of course that may not always be at Michigan but he's far from accomplishing what he wants at Michigan and it seems like this is where he truly wants to be.. at least for another 7-10 years. 


November 24th, 2017 at 10:55 AM ^

For better or for worse, they handled their coaching transition in much more business-like, much more dispassionate manner.  They plugged Fickel in as a stop gap, and had no qualms about dumping him for Meyer. 

The circumstances were fortunate that Meyer was available, and him just missing the ND opening, sure.  But you compare that to UM not hiring Miles in 2008 (whether you like him or not, he would be the choice if it was purely a business decision), or hiring Hoke when it was clear he was over his head.

One view could be that Michigan is more respectable because it takes more into account than just winning, like morals and the character of the coach.  But Michigan has no one to blame but themselves for those down years.

Sten Carlson

November 24th, 2017 at 4:01 PM ^

“ ... Michigan has no one to blame but themselves for those down years.”

This is so clear, yet so many in here seem to completely refuse to accept the reality of the situation. Michigan was regressing while OSU (and MSU) were PROGRESSING. Rebuild the pipeline, then we’ll see how we stack up. Does it suck? Yep, it does! But, whining and complaining about it, or worse, ignoring the facts and insisting that Michigan should start the firing/hiring again, will do nothing but delay the rebuilding process. First thing Michigan MUST do is it STOP with the self-inflicted wounds. Recruit and develop, and things will turn around.


November 24th, 2017 at 11:19 AM ^

They'd just replace him with another top Coach. OSU is viewed as a destination job in college football. We'll just have to assume that they'll always have a great coach and prepare from there. (If you're hoping that they would ever hire someone similar to Hoke or RR, you're going to be disappointed)

Perkis-Size Me

November 24th, 2017 at 9:59 AM ^

Plenty of teams beat OSU with far less talent than what either Michigan or OSU have. Recruiting rankings be damned.

There is zero, and I mean zero reason for Michigan to not be able to field a team that can beat those guys.


November 24th, 2017 at 10:32 AM ^

There are only a few (not many) teams that beat OSU.  And, there are many reasons why it's harder to us to beat them than other teams not the least of which we play them the last game of the year, it's a rivalry game, we can't play a trap game against them where they have a difficult game the following week, etc.  We get their best effort every game ensuring the more talented team is more likely to win.


November 24th, 2017 at 12:32 PM ^

the impact those differing pipelines are having on the 2017 teams.  (Yeah, Hoke wasn't good at developing his talent.  That's old news.)

Meyer inherited the pipeline of a powerhouse, #16 in 2010 (only 19 signees), #7 in 2011 (pre-Tressel firing), and #6 in 2012 (Urban was out of football in the fall of 2011 and could focus on recruiting).

Harbaugh, on the other hand, inheirited a largely undeveloped #6 from 2013, an overrated #18 from 2014 (bolstered by Peppers, who's now gone), and busy with the 49ers until ~Dec 28, was able to pull off only a #40 in 2015.

It's why articles, posts, and sentiment like this annoy me so much.  I get irritated when the Chicken Littles try to move the Michigan community to commit program suicide.  Hopefully, the donor class knows better.

If I could do it, I'd start a Jim Harbaugh Appreciation thread to counter the negativity in the air.


November 24th, 2017 at 10:20 AM ^

That 2015 class is worse than #40. There were only half a dozen or so 4 star recruits, and Brian Cole was almost immediately booted from the team, while Newsome hasn't been available for almost two full years. Not to mention Shelton Johnson is also gone, and Malzone turned out to be incredibly overrated. And the class featured a kicker who apparently cannot kick.

To make matters worse, this was following the 2014 class which was approximately the same size, but featured even more flameouts, and one of the only good players in that class was TOO good, and he left after his 3rd season.


November 24th, 2017 at 10:26 AM ^

The only clear cut recruiting advantage we have is the quality of a MIchigan education. Unfortunatley this can also serve as a disadvantage for skilled kids who haven't taken their studies seriously. Stories like that of Newsome, one would think, should serve as a motivator. The mind of a teenager......... 

His Dudeness

November 24th, 2017 at 10:32 AM ^

This notion that Michigan has out-recruited OSU is false. It has almost never been the case. Maybe 1 out of 5 years does Michigan out-recruit OSU in the best of times for Michigan. We've always done more with less.


November 24th, 2017 at 12:27 PM ^

What's your time frame? Having followed this stuff for a long time, I'm pretty confident that from the mid 80s through 2004 class our recruiting was at least even with them for that 20 year period. Obviously recruiting rankings were not as reliable then but if you pulled old Lemming or Wallace ratings or whatever they'd demonstrate that things shifted slightly after the rivalry was flipped in 2001. What you're saying has been true for the last dozen years or so as that changed with the tail off at the end of the Carr years, complete lock down of OH after Tressel had built up the program, and the growing gap on the field. 


November 24th, 2017 at 10:48 AM ^

The Tatgate fall out happened in 2011.  The 2011 class was already signed before Tressel was let go in May of that it had no affect on that class.  The 2011 season is when Luke Fickell was interim coach and we beat them.  However, Meyer was named head coach at the end of the 2011 season and he came in and signed a great class in February 2012.  Tatgate had zero impact on their recruiting.  None.


November 24th, 2017 at 11:16 AM ^

Our transition(s) occurred with coaches on the hot seat and national media panning their future. Recruits and HS coaches were hesitant to buy-in with so much uncertainty. JH had 5 weeks to resurrect recruiting with a long break from HS relationships (and none in the MW and SE).

OSU never had that dip. Even Fickell's interim status was resolved in Nov so Urban had 11 weeks and all of his UF recruiting contacts plus Ohio HS coaching support.

Beyond the situational differences, it's also relevant to cite the fact that Urban is a fantastic recruiter and has a staff with more recruiting chops as far as relationship/selling. Coombs, Day, Alford and Johnson are highly regarded and enable Urban to be the closer. Right now, they are better at recruiting based on rankings, wins and the eye test.


November 24th, 2017 at 10:51 AM ^

Just making the point that OSU has had it easy.  They still signed top 6 or 7 classes in both 2011 and 2012 after Tressel had been cheating.  Doesn't seem right.


November 24th, 2017 at 11:05 AM ^

For comparison, here's what recruiting looked like in the '90s when we were dominating Ohio State, per Lemming/Prep Football Report:

1990 - MICH - #? Recrutitng Class Nationally (somewhere in the top 10)
1990 - OSU - #? Recrutitng Class Nationally
1991 - MICH - #1 Recrutitng Class Nationally
1991 - OSU - #? Recrutitng Class Nationally
1992 - MICH - #7 Recrutitng Class Nationally
1992 - OSU - #6 Recrutitng Class Nationally
1993 - MICH - #2 Recrutitng Class Nationally
1993 - OSU - #(Not in top 10) Recrutitng Class Nationally
1994 - MICH - #3 Recrutitng Class Nationally
1994 - OSU - #2 Recrutitng Class Nationally
1995 - MICH - #10 Recrutitng Class Nationally
1995 - OSU - #(Not in top 10) Recrutitng Class Nationally
1996 - MICH - #10 Recrutitng Class Nationally
1996 - OSU - #1 Recrutitng Class Nationally
1997 - MICH - #5 Recrutitng Class Nationally
1997 - OSU - #(Not in top 10) Recrutitng Class Nationally
1998 - MICH - #1 Recrutitng Class Nationally
1998 - OSU - #(Not in top 10) Recrutitng Class Nationally
1999 - MICH - #8 Recrutitng Class Nationally
1999 - OSU - #4 Recrutitng Class Nationally
2000 - MICH - #11 Recrutitng Class Nationally
2000 - OSU - #9 Recrutitng Class Nationally
2001 - MICH - #2 Recrutitng Class Nationally
2001 - OSU - #(Not in top 10) Recrutitng Class Nationally
It's a myth that we were beating Ohio State in the '90s with inferior talent. 
In fact, we were out-recruiting them. 
If you look at the years where there are head-to-head comparisions, and you give them an extremely generous ranking of #11 when they were not in the top ten, here are the average national class rankings:
MICH:  5.90
OSU:  7.70
If you factor in estimates for 1990 and 1991 when Michigan had extremely good recruiting classes - significantly better than what OSU had from memory - it gets even better.
Bottom line . . . you want to beat Ohio State, you have to recruit like Ohio State.