Nov 30, 2013; Ann Arbor, MI, USA; Michigan Wolverines wide receiver Dennis Norfleet (23) gets away from Ohio State Buckeyes linebacker Craig Cataline (49) on a kick off during the second quarter at Michigan Stadium. Credit: Andrew Weber-USA TODAY Sports

Hoke vs. Meyer: Recruiting battles an integral part of M-OSU rivalry (Part 2, Ohio State Commits)

 Here’s a link to Pt. 1 Hoke vs. Meyer: Recruiting  an integral part of M-OSU rivalry (Part I, U-M Commits) 


Since Coach Hoke arrived in Ann Arbor,  the Wolverines have been making inroads in the state of Ohio. and fighting Meyer nationwide.

But Meyer isn’t just satisfied flipping only players. His chicanery continued last month when he snatched long-time Penn State assistant coach and recruiter Larry Johnson..

Johnson, who spent the last 18 years with the Nittany Lions, will help Ohio State recruit the east coast.

J.C. Shurburtt , a recruiting director for 247Sports, told Eleven Warriors. “That’s huge, especially for a program that’s located within a top-five talent-producing state and is always going to get the lion’s share of the top talent in that state.”

It’s uncertain if hiring Johnson will hurt Michiga ‘s recruiting efforts.. Michigan has done well the last few years in Virginia (Derrick Green, Wilton Speight, Maryland (Henri Poggi, Brandon Watson and  Freddy Canteen).

When the faxes come in Wednesday morning,  Ohio should have eight commits that Michigan and Ohio State both offered.

As we did in part 1, we’ll look at players who were offered by both schools, only this time we’ll follow the recruitment of the ones who committed to the Buckeyes (instead of the Wolverines). Both schools were still battling for Southfield’s  Malik McDowell early Wednesday morning.

CB Damon Webb

One of the top 50 players nationally, Meyer was able to snag Damon Webb from a Michigan stronghold, Detroit Cass Tech.

“It feels real good,”  Webb said of his commitment to Ohio State.

The 6’0, 175-lb junior was named a four-star prospect and a top 50 national player in the initial Scout 300.

“He makes plays,” Cass Tech defensive coordinator Jermain Crowell said. “He causes a lot of turnovers. In the championship game alone, he forced two fumbles and had a pick. That kid makes plays.”

Cass Tech head coach Thomas Wilcher sends as many of his players to Michigan, but a few fit better elsewhere.

It just felt that since I went to Cass Tech that I was going to automatically commit (to Michigan) or stuff like that,” Webb said of the Wolverines. “When I committed to Ohio State, the next day the Michigan coaches came up to the school and tried to talk to me.“And to this day, they still think that’s the right place for me.”

CB Marshon Lattimore, S Erick Smith

Just like Michigan sees a welcome mat at Cass Tech, Urban Meyer has a huge advantage recruiting at Cleveland Glenville. After all, head coach Ted Ginn, Sr. mentored former Ohio State  stars Troy  Smith and Ginn,Sr’s son Jr.  Michigan has found the light on at  Glenville, where they landed Frank Clark in 2011 and Willie Henry in 2012. Michigan supporters thought they had a chance this year at a pair of defensive backs, Marshon Lattimore and Erick Smith.

Michigan is a great school, with laid back coaches,” Lattimore said.  “I was there last summer and had a great time. USC and Oregon would be schools I need to see in person to see what they’re all about.

“Lattimore decided where they (all three) were going at the U.S. Army All-American Bowl.  I’m going to the place I feel the most comfortable, and a place where I feel I can get on the field as soon as possible. Wherever I go I feel I can play early.”

“Erick (Smith) and I will be going to the same school (OSU), and so will Marcelys Jones,” he added. “We’ve been planning this since the ninth grade, so it’s great to be doing this with my brothers. We all talked it over last week, and we are ready to let everyone know this weekend.”

“I always wanted to go to Ohio State, and it was the right place for me,” Lattimore stated. “I always felt like it was home, and I felt the most comfortable there. I’ve been down there so much, and with Marcelys Jones and Erick Smith going with me it’s like Glenville is taking over down there.”

Considering the three player were to become triplets, Michigan never had a chance.

OLB Kyle Berger

Jake Ryan in 2010 is the last Wolverine to come out of Cleveland St. Ignatius. Like Ryan,  Kyle Berger will probably play outside linebacker.

Since Michael Ferns was the first player committed to Michigan’s 2014 class, he took on the duty of “recruiting” more players,  just as Shane Morris did a year ago.

Ferns had some  t-shirts printed that read “Building a Class one Member at a Time.”

“I was really on Kyle Berger showing up for the weekend,” said Ferns. “I’m going to stay heavily on him just because it’s a linebacker thing. Just looking at him as a potential roommate and someone looking at the same college major as me. It’s a lot easier for me to talk to him.

Berger sounded like he agreed. “Ferns is pitching the whole medical program and it’s a great academic and athletic school,” Berger said. That’s pretty much been his big pitch to me.”

Besides academics, Berger figured his relationship with college coaches is the most important. And then he scurried back to Ohio to commit.

“I really think my relationship with Luke Fickell was the single most deciding factor,” Berger explained. “He’s great with my family and me and is a tremendous coach. He’s coached great players and I want to be the next one.”

Fickell,  remember, was canned after replacing  Jim Tressel in an interim head coaching role. Fickell stayed on as the defensive coordinator when Meyer was hired prior to the 2012 season.

OT Jamarco Jones

The No. 6 rated offensive tackle came out of the “soft verbal column” by reassuring his commitment to Ohio State earlier today (Feb.4). Booker, who was seriously looking at Michigan early in the game, took an official visit to Michigan State this past weekend.

Back in June, Jamarco had Michigan, Michigan St. and Ohio St. as his top three: About Michigan he said, “The visit was good, I spent some time with the coaches and players. What stood out was how genuine the coaches are and how much they care about you as a person.”

About  MSU he said: “Their whole coaching staff has been coaching with each other for a very long time and expect to win but care even more about your progression as a person. I believe they can help me achieve all the goals I have set.”

Now, Jamarco is ready to become a Buckeye.  “I went back and forth for several weeks, and I switched my decision twice. I made the final decision yesterday.”

One of the top prospects in the Midwest, Jones is the nation’s number six offensive tackle, and also a great student in the classroom.

“He’s an intelligent kid,” Chicago De La Salle head coach Dan O’Keefe said. “He’s a 4.0, straight A, all advanced placement classes. He’s all upside. It’s hard to find any negatives. He’s still growing. He’s strong and getting faster every day.”

OLB Dante Booker

Michigan offered the 6-3, 217-lb outside linebacker, but it wasn’t long before Dante Booker chose Notre Dame and Ohio State as his favorites.

“It was a good trip and I had a good time,” Booker said of his recent visit to South Bend. “I got to check out Notre Dame, and see some of the differences between them and some of the other schools recruiting me. The coaches tell me how I fit into their system, and what type of player they see me as. It’s close between the two (Ohio State and Notre Dame), but Ohio State leads, I guess.”

When asked to name any other schools he is considering, Booker declined to mention anyone else.

“Everything kind of affirms it,” he said. “I’m a fan. It’s where I always wanted to go.”

WR/S Malik Hooker

At 6-3, 185, Malik Hooker could grow into  an imposing target.

On July 28, 2013,  he had a top six of  Pitt, West Virginia, Michigan, Ohio State, Penn State and Virginia Tech.

“With recruiting, I think you’ve got to commit to a school when you’re ready to, you’ve got to take your time because you don’t want to make the wrong decision,” he said. “It’s when you feel comfortable about when you want to make your decision.”

On July 29, he committed to Ohio State.

So much for the game plan.

OLB Sam Hubbard

From Cincinnati Moeller, the 6-6, 221 lb. linebacker could grow into a huge version of Jake Ryan. Hubbard was ranked the No.2 outside linebacker in the nation by

Hubbard was “thrilled” when the Wolverines offered. 

“It’s a big time and very exciting offer,” he said, adding “Yes, I will visit,” but he didn’t have a date set yet.

Well, it wasn’t that exciting, as Hubbard added to OSU’s fine recruiting class. Before Signing Day, Ohio was rated third by, behind Alabama and Tennessee. Because of Michigan’s relatively small class (16), the Wolverines are now in 23rd.♦

Stars*/Nat. Ranking
HIgh School
Kyle BergerOLB4/36-2, 215St. Ignatius HS, Cleveland
Dante Booker OLB4/46-3, 217St. Vincent-St. Mary Akron, OH
Malik HookerWR4/476-3, 185New Castle HS, PA
Sam HubbardOLB5/26-6, 221Cincinnati Moeller HS
Jamarco JonesOT4/66-5, 285Chicago DeLaSalle
Marshon Lattimore CB4/86-1, 180Cleveland Glenville
Erick SmithS4/46-1, 195Cleveland Glenville
Damon WebbCB4/66-0, 175Detroit Cass Tech

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Written by GBMWolverine Staff — Joel Greer



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