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Monday, February 25, 2013
State of the Rivalry: Offensive line

By Brad Bournival & Chantel Jennings

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.

Ohio State got: At a position Buckeyes coach Urban Meyer said Ohio State missed on a bit, the Buckeyes picked up ESPN 150 offensive tackle Evan Lisle (Centerville, Ohio/Centerville) and Tim Gardner (Indianapolis/Lawrence Central), who also plays tackle.

The 6-foot-5, 285-pound Lisle committed to the Buckeyes on Feb. 28 and remained a fixture in the Ohio State class as the 106th-ranked player in the nation and the eighth-ranked offensive tackle. Gardner committed on July 28 and is the 59th-ranked tackle.

Ohio State tried feverishly to pick up one -- if not two -- linemen late in the recruiting cycle but couldn’t land anyone. That left the trenches thin.

Every starter is back for the Buckeyes, but that doesn’t necessarily mean Lisle and Gardner will be redshirted. If either one proves his worth, Meyer isn’t opposed to putting them on the two-deep chart. As it sits now, they might be there anyways due to lack of numbers.

Michigan got: Michigan landed the top offensive line class in 2013 for the entire country, so this battle was easy. The Wolverines landed six total offensive linemen, five of whom are within the ESPN 300.

Michigan landed four offensive linemen in 2012 and to build depth across the line, the coaching staff decided to take six in this class.

Headlined by offensive guard David Dawson (Detroit/Cass Tech), who is the No. 2 guard in the country, Michigan also helped secure the inside of the line with the No. 3 guard, Patrick Kugler (Wexford, Pa./North Allegheny Sr.), and the No. 7 guard, Kyle Bosch (Wheaton, Ill./St. Francis).

Tackles Logan Tuley-Tillman (Peoria, Ill./Manual), Chris Fox (Parker, Colo./Ponderosa) and Dan Samuelson (Plymouth, Ind./Plymouth) round out the outside of the line for this class. One of the more impressive hauls in Michigan's recruiting history, this class will add much-needed competition along the line.

This class also allows Michigan to get back to what offensive line coach Darrell Funk called normal numbers at the signing day press conference. The coaches will be able to bring in around three linemen each year, rather than spending six scholarships to catch up.

Advantage: Michigan

Michigan wins this one by a lot. As noted, the Wolverines had the top offensive line class in the country and for good reason. Ohio State has been stockpiling defensive linemen and Michigan has been doing the same on the offensive side. Ohio State has only two linemen committed in the class and Michigan's top two offensive linemen are ranked higher than Ohio State's top-ranked lineman, Lisle.