10 February 2011
Buckeye Nation has been reveling in the recent string of victories over Michigan. When Rich rodriguez was fired fans held their collective breath as Buckeye Nation waited out Jim Harbaugh's decision. Once that he decided to go to the NFL the party started here in Columbus.
Brady Hoke's hiring had most Buckeye fans saying, Brady who? Usually followed by a head shake and a chuckle. I have been warning from the start that this was a far better hire than Les Miles would have been. Hoke has had an impact on every program he has touched. Before he left for San Diego State he had Ball State sitting on a 12-0 record going into the GMAC bowl. he left to take over San Diego State and Ball State went on to lose the game. San Diego State had gone 14-34 in the 4 years before Hoke arrived and had one winning season since 1991. Hoke won 9 games in his second year after taking over the program at San Diego State.
The biggest factor in why I believe the Rivalry is back will show up in recruiting. Hoke is an outstanding recruiter. Buckeye fans are not aware of it because obviously Hoke was not recruiting the same players as the Buckeyes. I got to see how good he is because I was still tracking Ohio players and talking to their coaches after the players fell off the Buckeyes radar. He has Ohio roots and just a couple of years ago he was sweeping the state, impressing Ohio high school coaches along the way. That impression will be fresh in the minds of those coaches. He got a couple of players from Ohio late, Keith Heitzman and Tamani Carter. I know you are wracking your brain trying to remember their names. You won't. They were not on the Buckeyes radar. I bet you know the names Hilliard Davidson and Pickerington Central. That is what those offers were about. Get a foot in the door at schools that are producing talent.
You say he will not be able to out recruit Jim Tressel? He won't have to. Not this year. There is so much talent in the state of Ohio next year that Ohio State will not be able to offer all the players who could be Buckeye caliber. Hoke is already being very aggressive. He has offered Pharaoh Brown, a DE from Brush who is one of the players that is shaking up my defensive line rankings.
It is the perfect storm, Buckeye Nation. A quality coach coming in at Michigan. One who knows the state, AND the coaches know him. Too much talent in the state for Ohio State to take them all, add to the mix that it is a short scholarship year for the Buckeyes. Ohio State has beaten Michigan so soundly in head to head recruiting battles in recent years that it is not worth discussing. 2012 is so deep that it can be the basis of turning the program around quicker than anyone imagines and Hoke will not have to win a single head to head battle to bring a key element of Michigan's former successful formula, which is go into Ohio and get players who rate an Ohio State offer.
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