- Adam Rittenberg, ESPN Staff Writer
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Just a hunch, but Urban Meyer won't be making many friends within the Big Ten, both on the field and on the recruiting trail.
Consider what went down Monday afternoon/evening. Meyer received commitments from two top recruits who had committed to other Big Ten programs: defensive linemen Tommy Schutt and Se'Von Pittman.
Both are ESPNU 150 selections. Both had been the highest-rated commits for Penn State (Schutt) and Michigan State (Pittman), respectively. And now both say they're headed to Columbus to play for Meyer at Ohio State.
Neither switch is a huge surprise. Schutt's pledge to Penn State seemed very shaky in light of the the recent troubles in State College. He considered several other programs and on Monday made the move to Ohio State. Pittman committed to Michigan State during the summer but had been rumored to be reconsidering. His high school teammate, Steve Miller, plays for Ohio State. Pittman also made the switch Monday.
It's certainly notable to have two top players switch commitments to the same school within the league on the same day. It shows Meyer will be aggressive in assembling Ohio State's class up until national signing day and likely will pursue other top commitments both within and outside the Big Ten.
But it also dilutes the ridiculous belief held by some Big Ten fans that there's some gentleman's agreement within the league not to pursue players who commit to other programs. This is a complete myth. Meyer isn't the first Big Ten coach to swipe a recruit or two. He's just the latest to do so. It goes on in every conference and with pretty much every coach. Meyer simply will get more attention because of who he is, where he has been and which team he now coaches. While the Big Ten might become "the SEC North," as Dan Wetzel tweeted Monday, the league isn't nearly as pure as some fans think it is.
There's also the NCAA waiver Ohio State received to have two coaching staffs working simultaneously: the existing staff under Luke Fickell and the new staff under Meyer, which also will include Fickell. This has infuriated fans of other teams and raised questions about fairness, but Ohio State surely won't be the only program to exploit the loophole (Illinois is trying to do the same). Blame the NCAA on this issue.
Our Twitter page blew up Monday night after I tweeted about what Meyer had done. Some thought I was glorifying him. Hardly. I simply pointed out a notable development on the recruiting trail by a new Big Ten coach. Go ahead and whine about it, but it's a part of today's recruiting.
Without an early signing date, all recruits are fair game until the first Wednesday of February. Whether it's wrong or not is beside the point. It's the way it goes.
It will be interesting to see who else Meyer pursues, and whether he can keep Ohio State's own commitments on board, particularly running back Bri'onte Dunn, a rumored candidate to bolt.
Fifty days till signing day ...
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