URBAN RECRUIT! URBAN SMASH!
The Dude Abides. Or, depending on your perspective, he's climbin' in yo windows, snatchin' yo kids.
Urban F. Meyer has hit the ground running in the Great Recruiting Wars of 2011, and he is changing the way recruiting will be done in the B1G. I'm not going to go all dramatic and add the word 'forever' to the end of that previous sentence, but what he has done in just a couple of weeks is almost unfair.
And the wailing and lamentations of the other schools is getting to the point of hysteria...or hysterical. There is a lot of bitching and moaning about Meyer poaching recruits this, and having two coaching staffs that, and it's even coming from the likes of Michigan AD Dave Brandon.
And he's the last guy I expected to hear it from. Brandon? Michigan?
I know he wasn't the AD when Michigan hired Rich Rodriguez, but Rodriguez did the exact same thing when they were transitioning to him from Lloyd. Illinois has applied for, and will likely receive, the same exception that OSU received. And UCLA got a waiver, too.
And I eagerly await Mr. Brandon's sternly worded email to the Associated Press screaming to the heavens about the unfair advantage Illinois and Tim Beckman will now have on Michigan.
Maybe it's me, but this really comes off as sour grapes with a whiff of...not fear, but angst, maybe?
And that angst is getting amped up, as Meyer is starting to work his magic and lure big time recruits to Ohio State and away from other B1G schools. And for OSU fans, this is the biggest, and most exciting difference between Meyer and Jim Tressel, at least on the recruiting trail.
Tressel was a guy that let OSU and the school sell itself (must...not...take...cheap...shot), and never really put the hard sell on guys. This isn't to say he wasn't a good recruiter; on the contrary he brought in an incredible amount of talent and the on field results are a decade of excellence that Meyer will have a hard time living up to.
But Tressel's demeanor and attitude was more of 'you're not really interested in OSU? Well, okay. Good luck to you and just make sure you pick a school and a program that you really want to be at.'
Tressel's soft sell approach made it tough to close the deal on these last few guys, and it seemed as every signing day came and went, three or four top guys that OSU was on the short list for always seem to sign somewhere else.
Meyer is the exact opposite. He'll reach out to a guy that doesn't seem to have an interest in OSU and make him take an interest in OSU, through persistence if nothing else.
"HEY THIS IS URBAN MEYER AND IMMA COACHING AT OSU AND YOU REALLY WANNA COME TO OSU BECAUSE WE'RE GONNA USE THE SPREAD AND KICK ASS AND PLAY FIERCE DEFENSE AND IF YOU DON'T COME HERE WELL YOU ARE COMING HERE OKAY CAN I COME OVER RIGHT NOW AND GET YOU TO COMMIT HEY PUT YOUR MOM ON THE PHONE AND THEN LEMME TALK TO YOUR GRANDMA AND THEN YOUR DAD AND HEY IS YOUR LITTLE BROTHER AN OSU FAN I HEARD HE'S GOOD AND WE HAVE OUR EYE ON HIM TOO."
Meyer doesn't quit. Ever. Guys that had no or little interest in Ohio State are now interested. And he doesn't stop bugging them until they either sign with OSU or he loses out on signing day. He's as relentless as a sandstorm and won't quit until you're either a Buckeye or there is sand on everything.
Is it right? Eh, debatable. Every school poaches kids and every school gets a kid poached from time to time. Is it illegal? Nope. It's a coach's job to try and bring in the best talent available, and until somebody sign a Letter of Intent, it's not over. Is it something that's been going on in the B1G before Meyer got on scene? Yes, and let's not kid ourselves that it wasn't. Poaching of recruits happens a lot, and Meyer is one of the best in the business at it.
And that's why Dave Brandon sent an email to the AP, and why he won't send one over Tim Beckman. I don't think Brandon and Michigan are scared of Meyer raiding their class, but I do think that they realize giving Meyer a few weeks to do nothing but recruit means he had a very good chance to close the gap between them and Ohio State, and anything to slow that train down Brandon was going to try and do. And Meyer is doing just that.
And heck, I would've done the same thing had I been in the same spot. But his effort didn't work, and Meyer has been left alone with nothing but idle time and high school players to recruit. What Meyer is doing right now isn't going to affect Michigan's class this year, but moving forward Brady Hoke will have to work just as hard to keep a kid in the fold as opposed to just getting him in the fold.
And this is just the opening salvos in a series of pitched recruiting battles between Meyer and the rest of the conference, and in the long run, it's going to make the conference a lot stronger. Meyer is going to start an arms race, and with any race, other participants will be forced to adapt and keep up or fall off to the wayside and irrelevancy.