Ohio State Recruiting: Comparing Urban Meyer's and Brady Hoke's 2012 Classes

Urban Meyer shakes the hand of one of his prized pupils, the class of 2012's Taylor Decker.

2012 was a year in recruiting unlike most where within a few months Buckeye fans went from worrying whether or not the fence around their state was knocked down to suddenly having the best recruiter in college football not named Nick Saban.

Urban Meyer's arrival two days after Michigan's first win over Ohio State since 2003 — which no doubt shortened their long-awaited celebration — quickly pushed the Buckeyes back into the national spotlight.

They have nothing to play for this year other than pride, but don't tell that to Meyer who pulled off one of the greatest recruiting efforts in recent memory.

On the other side of the Ohio-Michigan border, the Wolverines had built an amazingly strong class, and all but five players in the class committed before the start of the season.

Meyer, on the other hand, wrangled up 10 commits after his hire, and grabbed all sorts of national attention along the way — as well as the ire of conference rivals by "flipping" most of those last ten.

So which is better? That's what we're here to answer.

Defensive Line: The defensive line was the biggest emphasis of Meyer's first class, as he reeled in three five-star linemen according to Scout.com's rankings.

Noah Spence and Adolphus Washington are not only the prized gems of this class, but might be the best one-two punch of any one position in the entire class of 2012. Tommy Schutt and Se'Von Pittman are just the icing on the cake.

Michigan does have some pretty good defensive linemen as well when you look at DE Tom Strobel and DT Ondre Pipkins — who hasn't been shy about his opinions towards the Buckeyes on Twitter before he deleted his account.

But in reality, not too many defensive line classes in the country could stack up to Ohio State's.

Advantage: Ohio State

Linebackers: This is as close as it gets between the two classes as far as depth and talent are concerned.

Michigan opened up their recruiting season by getting four talented linebackers: Royce Jenkins-Stone, Joe Bolden, Kaleb Ringer and James Ross.

Each of them are expected to play big roles early on for a Michigan defense which was better, but still nowhere near where they used to be.

At Ohio State, they already landed Josh Perry and Luke Roberts before Meyer came in. All he did was bring in three studs in Camren Williams, Jamal Marcus and David "Boom" Perkins — who should be this year's Ryan Shazier.

Perkins was more of a surprise addition to this class, but is probably the most athletic player in the recruiting class, even more athletic than Spence and Washington. He is pure speed and explosiveness, both of which should make him very tough to keep off the field.

Advantage: Ohio State

Offensive Line: Brady Hoke's biggest emphasis in recruiting in the last two classes — whether or not it's prompted by what Ohio State has done on the defensive line under Meyer — has been about bolstering the offensive line.

Michigan brought in a whopping five offensive linemen, including infamous OSU decommit Kyle Kalis, who since had gone out of his way to deface the program he had originally verballed to.

Meyer also brought in some good linemen, including OT Taylor Decker, a Notre Dame decommit, and Jacoby Boren, who may be the backup center going into this season.

Unfortunately for Ohio State, the Wolverines may just be better up front in this class than the Buckeyes, mostly because of the better collective whole of linemen they brought in.

But it is very, very close.

Advantage: Michigan

Best of the Rest: When you look at the classes at a whole, both teams filled most of their needs.

Michigan hit their defensive woes head on, landing 14 commits on that side of the football. They did so much to improve the front seven, and hope to land some gems in the secondary.

Urban Meyer worked to bring SEC-caliber athletes to Columbus, and although small portions of this class were not highly regarded and may have not been Buckeyes under prior circumstances, this class is full of big-time athletes.

They still need to fill their void of a big-time Percy Harvin-esque playmaker, but they boosted their offensive line and added significant talent all across the defense.

Whether players like Frank Epitropoulos or Ricquan Southward become the next Dane Sanzenbacher as far as unheralded recruits that become stars at the college level remains to be seen.

The biggest difference that makes Ohio State's recruiting class better than Michigan's is simply star-power (no pun intended).

The big names that they landed — Spence, Washington, Perkins, Bri'onte Dunn — are rivaled by few teams all across the country.

Michigan is on their way back to being a Big Ten championship contender, but their window to close the gap on Ohio State lasted only a few months.

When it comes to recruiting between Ohio State and Michigan, just sit back and enjoy the wars these two will have for years to come.

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