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Thursday, February 21, 2013
State of the rivalry: Tight ends

By Tom VanHaaren

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

Michigan got: Jake Butt (Pickerington, Ohio/Pickerington North) ended up ranked as the No. 4 Y-tight end in the class and Khalid Hill (Detroit/East English Village) as the No. 8 H-tight end.

Butt didn’t make it out to many camps or combines, so there wasn’t a whole lot known about him outside of his highlight tapes. Once he made it out to a camp over the summer he was extended an invitation to Nike’s The Opening, where he shined.

He showed off his receiving skills in the 7-on-7’s and wowed a lot of people. At 6-foot-6, 231 pounds, Butt has ideal size to help Michigan’s offense going forward.

Hill was a prospect whom Michigan got in on early, and since he was a lifelong Michigan fan Hill jumped at the opportunity to be a Wolverine.

He is a deceptively good pass-catcher and will be able to help Michigan in different ways than Butt. His size will be an aid in blocking, and his abilities will allow Michigan to disguise whether he is in to block or run a route.

Ohio State got: The Buckeyes hit the West Coast at the position, picking up Marcus Baugh (Riverside, Calif./John W. North) as the only tight end signee in the 2013 class. He committed on April 10 despite never having stepped on campus other than to take in a basketball game at Value City Arena with his cousins when he was younger.

Cut from the same mold as Aaron Hernandez, whom Meyer mentored during his days at the University of Florida, Baugh is a hybrid tight end/wide receiver type with excellent footwork and hand skills to stay in and block as well. He was an invitee to The Opening and was an Under All-Armour All-American. Baugh ranked inside the ESPN 150 and third at the tight end-H position after catching 38 passes for 610 yards and four touchdowns as a senior.

Advantage: Tie
While on the surface two tight ends should be better than one, Baugh could be a game-changer for the Buckeyes in the spread offense. His athleticism alone could put him on the field sooner rather than later. Butt, who is ranked fourth at the tight end-Y spot and 179th overall, is very good, as is Hill. But Baugh made up any ground he might have lost on the two when he went out to Florida in early January and won the Under Armour skills challenge for offensive and defensive linemen. Simply put, this one is just too close to call.