- Adam Rittenberg, ESPN Staff Writer
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Urban Meyer has made his presence known on the recruiting trail since becoming Ohio State's coach Nov. 28, and much of his success has come at the expense of other Big Ten schools.
Ohio State flipped several recruits who had made commitments or were learning to programs elsewhere in the league. The Buckeyes undoubtedly benefited from the turmoil at Penn State, and also landed defensive lineman Se'Von Pittman, who had committed to Michigan State but jumped at the chance to play for the Scarlet and Gray.
The trend prompted some fans to ask whether Meyer was violating an unwritten rule among Big Ten coaches not to poach another team's recruits. The fact is Big Ten coaches at multiple schools have flipped recruits for years. The quantity and quality might not match what has happened with Meyer at Ohio State, but the tactic is hardly new to the league.
The "rule" doesn't exist ... or does it?
Michigan State defensive coordinator Pat Narduzzi made some interesting remarks Monday at the Pro Football Hall of Fame Luncheon Club in Canton, Ohio. Narduzzi, never one to pull punches, addressed recruit flipping within the league and how things might be changing.
"[The agreement] has been between the coaches," Narduzzi said. "Jim Tressel and Mark Dantonio would never call or talk to each other’s commitments. People Coach Dantonio knows well don't come in and take players away. When you do, you lose friendships over that."
Narduzzi said he would not speak for Dantonio and declined to say if there were a friendly relationship between Meyer and Dantonio. However, he indicated, Michigan State’s coaching staff learned a lesson.
"It sets a tone and starts a recruiting rivalry," Narduzzi said. "I guess it's fair game. You don't want it to be that way, but that's how it is."
Tressel and Dantonio had a unique friendship that stretched back for years. Dantonio worked for Tressel at Ohio State and Youngstown State. Most Big Ten coaches aren't as close as they were.
But Narduzzi's comments make you think whether the policy was upheld more than it was broken. While there's enough evidence of recruit-flipping before Meyer's arrival, perhaps we'll see more in the coming years.
As Narduzzi said, that's how it is. The Ohio State-Michigan State recruiting battles should be interesting to watch.