Welcome to the fifth-and-final piece in our Social Distancing series detailing just how much better Ohio State’s recruiting has been than Michigan’s the last four or five years.
Both teams have been measured by the recruiting rankings of every scholarship player on their respective rosters. Many of the more jarring findings can be seen in this first piece.
Up next, however, is a look at Ohio State’s rush defense against Michigan’s rush offense. What that entails in our measures is the defensive front seven against the offensive line, tight ends, running backs, and quarterbacks.
As we all know, the team that runs the ball in this rivalry wins, as evidenced by the last 10 meetings, which are detailed below.
2019 Ohio State 56-27 ………. OSU 264 rushing yards – UM 91 rushing yards
2018 Ohio State 62-39 ………. OSU 171 – UM 161
2017 Ohio State 31-21 ……… OSU 226 – UM 100
2016 Ohio State 30-27 ……… OSU 206 – UM 91
2015 Ohio State 42-13 ………. OSU 369 – UM 57
2014 Ohio State 42-28 ………. OSU 233 – UM 121
2013 Ohio State 42-41 ………. OSU 393 – UM 152
2012 Ohio State 26-21 ………. OSU 207 – UM 108
2011 Michigan 40-34 ………. UM 277 – OSU 137
2010 Ohio State 37-7 ………. OSU 258 – UM 182
Here is the diagram with the OSU rush defense lined up against Michigan’s rush offense. The number in parentheses is the respective position ranking of each player, while the number to the left of that is their overall rank as a recruit in their respective recruiting class.
Let’s Talk Top 10s
Throughout this entire series, the number of Buckeyes ranked in the top 10 at their respective positions as recruits has been overwhelming when compared to the Wolverines.
In fact, Ohio State has 42 Top 10 players compared to 19 for Michigan.
When it comes to the respective OSU run defense against the UM run offense, that disparity holds firm as well.
The Wolverines have eight players in their running game listed as Top 10 players — and three of them are quarterbacks, which doesn’t really help the overall depth because only one of them will generally be a part of an Ohio State game.
The Buckeye run defense, meanwhile, has 14 players ranked as Top 10 recruits.
Ohio State has as many Top 10 players on its defensive line as Michigan does in its entire offense.
Now What About Top 100s?
Things get a bit more bleak for the Maize and Blue when we look at Top 100 players because Michigan has just one in their running game. Sophomore running back Zach Charbonnet is the lone Top 100 guy on the entire offense — running game or passing game.
Fixing to stop that Michigan running game are 12 Top 100 players in the Ohio State front seven, led by 5-star defenders like sophomore defensive end Zach Harrison, redshirt sophomore defensive tackle Taron Vincent, and senior linebacker Baron Browning.
The average rank of the top two players at each position in the front seven for the Buckeyes is 73. The average rank of the top two players at each position in the running game for Michigan is 249.
How Is It In The Trenches?
If games are won in the trenches, it’s no wonder why Ohio State has done so well against the Wolverines over the years.
Michigan does have three offensive linemen who ranked in the Top 10 at their respective positions. Two of them were 2020 signees and the third was a 2019 signee. Will they be able to help this year? They may need to.
The Michigan running game will be contending with an Ohio State front four with eight Top 100 players, all of whom also ranked in the Top 10 of their respective positions.
Six of those eight contributed extensively last season and the other two — defensive tackles Taron Vincent and Antwuan Jackson — will likely do the same this year.