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Monday, February 18, 2013
OSU-Michigan recruiting roundtable

By Tom VanHaaren, Chantel Jennings & Brad Bournival

Every other week, Tom and Chantel invite in an outside writer to give some of their thoughts on the state of recruiting. Today, since they’ve started their Michigan-Ohio State position-by-position comparison, they decided to ask BuckeyeNation writer Brad Bournival to weigh in on the rivalry and its recruiting.

1) Defensive end Lawrence Marshall (Southfield, Mich./Southfield) recently committed to Ohio State, then decommitted after visiting Michigan State and Michigan. Where does he eventually end up?

Tom VanHaaren: I think his commitment to Ohio State was a bit premature in the first place. I think he did like how aggressive the Buckeyes had been, coming up to his school and contacting him, but I know a lot of people were surprised by his commitment. His decision to take visits to Michigan State and Michigan only a few days after his commitment was a pretty good sign of that. Michigan is going to do all it can to land Lawrence, so I can see this being an Ohio State-Michigan battle in the end. It's too hard to predict where he'll end up right now, but I do believe Michigan has a chance.

Chantel Jennings: Despite what happened with OSU, I think it’s still really early in his recruitment. He’s going to spend this summer camping, and after a season of that I think he’ll pick up several offers. I would imagine Michigan and Michigan State would be the two leaders if he wants to stay close to home. But I could also see him picking up some national interest and choosing to go far away.

Mason Cole
Do the Wolverines have the edge in the OSU-Michigan battle for 2014 offensive lineman Mason Cole?
Brad Bournival: I think his days with Ohio State are over. Urban Meyer might push to get the defensive end to come to Columbus, but the number of linemen the Buckeyes have don’t make it that attractive of a choice. My gut says he ends up at Michigan State because the Spartans will be young and thin across the front.

2) Michigan and Ohio State are targeting similar players in the South as well, what battles do you see each school winning there?

VanHaaren: It looks as though Michigan is in a good place right now for offensive lineman Mason Cole (Tarpon Springs, Fla./East Lake), which would also put the Wolverines in a good spot with his teammates Artavis Scott and 2015 receiver George Campbell Jr.. Lorenzo Carter (Norcross, Ga./Norcross) is a big prospect from Georgia who is being targeted by both teams, and Carter has mentioned Michigan and Ohio State early on. Of the two schools I think Ohio State has the edge, if he decides to leave the South. Probably the biggest target in this class, though, defensive end Da'Shawn Hand (Woodbridge, Va./Woodbridge) has already put Michigan in his top five, and left out Ohio State. That list could change, but Michigan has the edge between the two schools for now.

Jennings: I think Cole is going to be the biggest battle. Both teams have made a point to get big, talented linemen, and Cole fits the bill. On top of that, he really likes the Midwest and has a ton of interest in both schools. Hard to say what exactly he’ll do but I think Michigan has the edge between those two schools.

Bournival: Ohio State and Michigan both get shut out for Carter and Hand. That said, Cole will end up a Wolverine, while wide receiver Demarre Kitt (Tyrone, Ga./Sandy Creek) is a Buckeye.

3) In Michigan and Ohio State's 2013 class, where is the greatest discrepancy in talent?

VanHaaren: Michigan's offensive line class in 2013 was light years ahead of Ohio State's. Michigan landed six total, five within the ESPN 300 and Ohio State only landed two total, with one in the ESPN 150. On the opposite side, Ohio State's wide receiver haul was very impressive and ahead of Michigan's. The Buckeyes' lowest ranked receiver, James Clark (New Smyrna Beach, Fla./New Smyrna Beach Senior), would have been Michigan's second highest ranked receiver in the class. Landing Jalin Marshall (Middletown, Ohio/Middletown) and Dontre Wilson (DeSoto, Tex./DeSoto) were a big deal for Urban Meyer's offense going forward.

Jennings: The line is pretty obvious, but one position group that has a lot of discrepancy but gets overlooked is definitely the secondary. It’s not a knee jerk reaction because it’s strange to say there’s such a discrepancy when Michigan did a really good job of getting defensive backs in the 2013 class. Only thing is Ohio State did even better. The Buckeyes have four defensive backs ranked more highly than the top ranked Wolverine DB, Jourdan Lewis (Detroit/Cass Tech).

Bournival: This one is easier than first-grade math. Ohio State swung and missed mightily on the offensive line, while I think the strength of the Michigan class is in the trenches. With just two linemen in the class for the Buckeyes -- Evan Lisle (Centerville, Ohio/Centerville) and Tim Gardner (Indianapolis/Lawrence Central) -- Ohio State tried to plug the gap so to speak late and couldn’t. The Wolverines on the other hand, had four ESPN 150 linemen and another ESPN 300 guard in the trenches. From a Buckeyes angle, Ohio State was rated the best wide receiver/athlete class by ESPN senior national football recruiting analyst Tom Luginbill.