Football Recruiting The Rivalry

Josh Gattis’ Tweet And Ohio State’s Recruiting Hot Streak

Ohio State football Ryan Day press conference

With the addition of four-star CB Andre Turrentine on Tuesday, Ohio State has now added four players to its class of 2021 in the past three days.

The Buckeyes now have 14 commits already in for 2021, and it’s entirely possible that more could follow soon.

That’s more commits than any program in the nation other than Florida, which also has 14. In fact, no one other than the Buckeyes and Gators has more than 10 players currently committed.

Nine of the 14 players currently pledged to the Buckeyes are ranked as one of the 10 best at their position in the entire nation.

They have the No. 1 guard, No. 2 defensive end and inside linebacker, No. 3 pro-style quarterback, No. 4 and No. 6 corners, No. 6 running back, and No. 8 wide receiver and defensive tackle.

They also have the No. 12 wide receiver, the No. 15 tackle, No. 16 tight end, No. 18 safety, and No. 31 corner.

Ohio State already holds commitments from 11 of the top-150 players in the nation. The entire rest of the Big Ten has only three at the moment. And while it’s still relatively early in the cycle, the Buckeyes’ current list of 11 is almost as many as the entire rest of the league brought in (15) for the 2020 class.

It’s tempting to dismiss recruiting rankings as something that doesn’t really matter. “You stop being a five-star the minute you enroll” and all that.

And it’s easy to point to examples where the rankings didn’t turn out to be right. “AJ Hawk was a three-star while Mike D’Andrea was a five-star,” etc. But as the old saying goes, the plural of anecdote is not data.

Here’s what the data says: No one has won a national championship in the modern recruiting era (2005-present) without signing classes made up of at least 50 percent 4-star and 5-star prospects. This concept is known as the Blue Chip Ratio, and was pioneered by Bud Elliott, who now writes for 247.

Only a tiny fraction of FBS programs (16 of 130) recruit at that level, and many of them are only barely in the club. The 2019 Buckeye team considered one of the most talented in school history was atop the 2019 list with 81 percent blue chips.

When players like Chase Young, Jeff Okudah, and JK Dobbins leave for the NFL, you need to keep replacing them with similarly-talented recruits or your results start to trail off.

OSU has done that, and is in the process of lining up replacements for next year’s departing stars now. The Buckeyes had the No. 5 overall class in 2020, and are on track to finish far higher than that in 2021.

From 2011 until now, Ohio State has finished with the highest-ranked class in the Big Ten in every season but one.

All it took for that single outlier to happen was a combination of Urban Meyer’s tumultuous final season, plus a smaller-than-usual class size. Even then, the Buckeyes finished with the highest average player ranking in the league.

You can see the results on the field. The Bucks have now won three straight outright conference titles, something no other program in Big Ten history has ever done.

They are 68-5 in conference play since Meyer arrived in 2012, including 7-1 against Penn State, 7-0 against Wisconsin, and 8-0 against Michigan.

That brings us to Michigan offensive coordinator Josh Gattis’ tweet from Monday evening.

He had a play from last November’s Ohio State vs. Michigan game on the TV and wrote in part “2019 is over but the lessons learned live on! 2020 we won’t be so kind to beat ourselves …”

As a reminder, the Wolverines barely lost that game by a mere four touchdowns. A year earlier, the Buckeyes just squeaked past Michigan by 23 points.

After the 2019 nail-biter, a reporter asked Michigan head coach Jim Harbaugh, “Is this a talent gap? Is it a preparation gap? Is it a coaching gap? What is the biggest difference between you and Ohio State at this point?”

Harbaugh replied, “I’ll answer your questions, not your insults.”

It’s a fair question, and the fact that the series is now so lopsided is an indication that there is more than one answer.

It’s pretty clear the Buckeyes have done a superior job preparing their players for the NFL. If you’re not sure whether that’s true, just ask… well… the NFL. From 2016 to 2019, the Buckeyes had 35 players selected in the NFL Draft, including 12 first-rounders. In the same period, Michigan has produced 21 overall draft picks and four first-rounders.

The Wolverines just graduated a quarterback who entered college as the No. 1 pro-style passer in the country, and who after two seasons with Harbaugh is now likely to go undrafted.

NFL.com judges Patterson as having a “chance to make end of roster or practice squad.”

One scouting report: “He will struggle to roster in the NFL but if placed in an ideal situation which highlights what he does best, he could challenge for a 3rd QB role by year 2.”

Even many of Michigan’s biggest recent successes haven’t exactly been big development wins. Jabrill Peppers went from the No. 3 overall recruit in 2014 to the No. 25 overall pick in the 2017 NFL Draft.

Rashan Gary was the No. 1 overall recruit in 2016 and then the 12th pick in the 2019 Draft.

But the biggest gap between the programs isn’t coaching or development, it’s just plain ol’ talent. That’s the real answer that Harbaugh either couldn’t or wouldn’t give to that reporter’s question.

Michigan didn’t lose the 2019 edition of The Game because of mistakes it made on game day. It lost it in living rooms and high school coaches’ offices years before then.

Go position-by-position around the field and compare the guys wearing scarlet and gray to those wearing maize and blue. How many of Michigan’s starters would be clear starters for Ohio State? A couple?

We did a position-by-position look at both teams during an episode of The Buckeye Weekly Podcast last summer, and ended up concluding that OSU had pretty clear advantages at most positions on the field. A listener wrote us a two-star review titled “Extremely Bias” taking issue with that episode. Then Ohio State went out and more than doubled-up Michigan in Ann Arbor, 56-27.

Reality is what it is. The results are right there for everyone to see.

While Gattis is sitting in his basement looking at why Michigan lost to the Buckeyes in 2019, Ohio State is busy assembling a remarkable class that will go a long way toward ensuring the Wolverines continue to lose The Game for years to come.

6 Responses

  1. So for a headline. . .(I used to be an intense follower of all things Ohio State). While admittedly I’m not at that level anymore . . .I still think I should mention that I have no idea who Josh Gattis is.

    Isn’t it sad that a fan who sits well above “casual” in terms of fanmanship level but no longer by any rating an expert, doesn’t recognize the name of the guy who is leading the Michigan offense.

    I find that to be a more detrimental commentary on Michigan than of me.

  2. Through nefarious sources I would rather not divulge I have received a copy of the blue print. It is mostly in stick figures and the gist of it revolves around kidnapping key members of the OSU coaching staff and brainwashing them “manchurian candidate style” so that at key moments in the game preselected offenses and defenses can be “called” just because it was tacked on a fridge with magnets doesnt mean it’s not brilliant. We should be very afraid!

  3. Typical ttun blow hard coach. They think they can talk themselves into a W against us. Remember big Don Brown last year? They better be careful referring to the buckeyes. Good thing we were careful or we might have hung 70 on their dumbasses. All they can do is talk. We will kick their ass again in Columbus this year assuming we actually get to play by then.

  4. Ohio State starts Justin Fields, a Heisman candidate, at quarterback this fall. The Team Up North’s starting quarterback is either Milton or McCaffery, two very unproven quarterbacks who barely played last year as Super Shea’s backup. So they can beat us, eh????? Buckeyes have a HUGE! advantage at quarterback and likely in most if not all positions.

  5. excellent article, the value of which can only be understood and appreciated, by seeking and finding our strengths and weaknesses in that very same mirror.

    IFi we treat feedback, as “insults”, we’d get about as far…

    as ‘they’ are.

    1. OSU fans need to all remember 1969 and 2007 Title game. Nothing breeds the flames of an upset with the words of why we can never lose a game or to that team. Worse than that mindset is being the King of Denial, “We won’t be so kind to beat ourselves.” Gattis learned that from his head coach, who said following MI’s can kicking last year in the Big Louse that we just didn’t play that well. Keep with that Gattis and Harbaugh, and chances are for more lopsided butt whippings.

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