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Wednesday, February 20, 2013
State of the Rivalry: Wide receivers

By Brad Bournival & Chantel Jennings

The writers at WolverineNation and BuckeyeNation put their heads together to break down the rivals’ 2013 classes. Position-by-position, they’ll give you a look at who Brady Hoke and Urban Meyer brought in and, ultimately, which class edged out the other. It’s too early to say what will happen over the next few seasons, and we won’t make any promises except that Hoke and Meyer are going to put talent on the field.

Dontre Wilson
Dontre Wilson's playmaking abilities will make him a dangerous weapon in the OSU offense.
Ohio State got: If there was ever a position where Urban Meyer proved he was one of the best closers in the game, it is the wide receiver position. The Buckeyes headed into the last week of recruiting with just Taivon Jacobs (Forestville, Md./Suitland) and Jalin Marshall (Middletown, Ohio/Middletown) in the fold. Meyer picked up junior college standout and former Akron (Ohio) Buchtel star Corey Smith (East Mississippi Community College) first before really closing the door. Dontre Wilson (Desoto, Texas/Desoto) was next to commit with James Clark (New Smyrna Beach, Fla./New Smyrna Beach) wrapping things up as a signing day special. It left no room for Jacobs, who stayed home to play with his brother at Maryland. What it also did was give the Buckeyes three four-star commitments in the final week and rounded out a position of strength that has four four-star signees to help Meyer and his spread offense continue to grow.

Ohio State certainly plugged a hole in picking up Marshall, Smith, Wilson and Clark and added some much needed depth for Braxton Miller and Co. Smith should see time very soon as he has three seasons to play two on the outside, while Marshall and Wilson will take on roles at the slot. Look for Clark to stay on the outside as the speed at wide receiver just became off-the-charts incredible.

Michigan got: The Wolverines didn’t pick up any huge names in the wide receiver category. While they seemed to lead for Ole Miss signee Laquon Treadwell (Crete Monee, Ill./Crete-Monee) for months, they never sealed the deal. Instead, they filled holes with under-the-radar recruits. Offensive coordinator Al Borges said he was happy with the players they fit into roles the Wolverines had. Players like 6-foot-3 Csont’e York (Harper Woods, Mich./Chandler Park Academy) and 6-foot-4 Jaron Dukes (Columbus, Ohio/Marion Franklin) add range and height which the Wolverines lose with Roy Roundtree. And then they picked up a later commitment from in-state speedster Da’Mario Jones (Westland, Mich./John Glenn) to be a smaller, fast, quick guy.

The Wolverines are definitely straying away from receivers like Jeremy Gallon or Drew Dileo and these commits definitely show that moving trend. In the perfect world, Borges would be able to have players that were both exceptionally rangy and fast and those type of players are already seen in the 2014 offer list. But for this class, the Wolverines did a respectable job after losing some big names.

Advantage: Ohio State.

The truth is in the numbers. Aside from the four-star status of all four Buckeyes wideouts, the accolades continue. ESPN 150 seniors Marshall (No. 49 overall and fifth at wide receiver) and Wilson (55th, 5th at athlete) headline the group, while Smith (No. 8 juco wide receiver) and Clark (No. 49 wide receiver) will impact Ohio State soon. There’s a reason ESPN national football recruiting analyst Tom Luginbill rated the Buckeyes as the best wide receiver/athlete class in the nation.