The roster of border-crossing Ohioans to play football at Michigan is legion. Charles Woodson, Desmond Howard, Jim Harbaugh, Elvis Grbac, Jim Mandich, Dan Dierdorf. The list goes on. Michigan football is not Michigan football without Ohio, and Brady Hoke knows this. The second-year UM coach is committed to mining Ohio. He makes public appearances in enemy territory -- Hoke spoke at this year's Ohio High School Football Coaches Association clinic in Columbus -- plays up his Dayton roots and recruits the state relentlessly. Capitalizing in part on the turmoil at OSU last year, Hoke reeled in nine Ohioans in his 2012 recruiting class and is poaching at a similar rate for his top-rated 2013 haul.
So consider Urban Meyer's appearance today at a high school football camp in Michigan a return shot across the bow. Meyer joined Hoke and several other coaches to address campers at the Sound Mind Sound Body Academy in Southfield. Asked at a news conference about Ohio State's ability to recruit Michigan, Meyer replied, "If we have not, we will."
With notable exceptions -- Craig Krenzel, Vernon Gholston, current defensive tackle Johnathan Hankins, etc. -- OSU hasn't traditionally relied on Michigan to replenish its ranks. The football relationship between Ohio and Michigan is hardly reciprocal. Michigan needs Ohio, a state that on average produces more than double the number of Division I prospects than its neighbors up north, far more than Ohio needs Michigan. But if Hoke plans to be a regular presence in Ohio, Meyer made it clear today the trespasses will not go unanswered.
"I got up at 3:30 in the morning to drive just under four hours here for a lot of reasons," Meyer told the campers. "The most important reason is this: I want you guys to see Ohio State in this part of the country."