Two seasons ago, Michigan football had been on a losing streak of nearly a decade against their biggest rival, Ohio State. Now, the Wolverines are on a two-game win streak against the Buckeyes and are showing no signs of slowing down their momentum.
Still, one thing that has stayed steady for the Buckeyes is the ability to dominate the recruiting world. Every season, Ohio State ranks in the top five for its recruiting classes, and much of its success over the last decade can be attributed to this domination. They’ve blown through the Big Ten for what seems like forever now; who wouldn’t want to play for that?
Naturally, this continuous success has led to a slew of 5-star recruits wanting to play for the Buckeyes. Even as recently as 2021, Ohio State finished their class with seven 5-stars, good enough for No. 2 in the country per 247Sports.
Since that dominant 2021 recruiting class, the Buckeyes have brought in just three 5-stars in the 2022 and 2023 classes, with just one in the latter. What’s changed? Well, the Buckeyes might not be the dominant force they once were just two seasons ago. Michigan football is now the reigning Big Ten Champion, and some doubt might be creeping into the Ohio State football program.
Of course, 5-star recruits are challenging to gain the commitment of. If you look at the Wolverines, Michigan has only gained four 5-star commitments since 2018. Still, this drop in production from Ohio State on the recruiting trail is certainly a head-scratcher.
Numbers are not everything
If you’re a Buckeye fan, let me tell you, this is no reason to panic. Numbers ultimately don’t mean much if you can develop the talent you find. For instance, despite Michigan’s struggle to gain 5-star commitments, they’ve still found dominance within the conference these past two seasons. Some of the best production for the Wolverines have come from former 3-stars like running back Hassan Haskins or wide receiver Ronnie Bell.
At the end of the day, correlation does not equal causation, but it’s certainly interesting to note. Is Michigan the actual cause of the Buckeyes’ sudden “struggle” in recruiting? No, more than likely not. Still, if the Wolverines continue to find this kind of success within the conference, I would not be surprised to see a severe shift in momentum in the future.
The Michigan-Ohio State football rivalry is hot at the moment; it’s wild to think we still have to wait almost 10 months to see the two teams play again. In the meantime, recruiting battles will have to suffice. The Wolverines are set to face the Buckeyes Saturday, November 25, 2023, and it can’t come soon enough.
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