Meyer Making Presence Felt in Rival Territory
By Brandon Castel
Ohio State football coach Urban Meyer had to be at Great American Ballpark on Wednesday evening to throw out the ceremonial first pitch in the “Battle of Ohio” between the Cincinnati Reds and Cleveland Indians.
Photo by Jim Davidson
That didn’t stop him from making a quick trip up north for the Sound Mind Sound Body Camp in Southfield, Mich.
Entering enemy territory is something that might have made Woody Hayes a little queasy back in his day, but Meyer embraced the opportunity to share his message with young football players from “That State up North.”
“I want you guys to see Ohio State in this part of the country,” Meyer told the campers at Southfield High School, explaining why he was up at 3:30 a.m. Wednesday morning to make the 3 ½ hour drive from Columbus.
The camp, sponsored by Adidas, is in its eighth year and has featured such prospects as William Campbell, Nick Perry and Joseph Barksdale in years past. It has typically been a big event for the University of Michigan and Michigan State University to interact with the community in the “Wolverine State” (also called the “Mitten State”).
In fact, Meyer was shocked to find out he and his staff could even participate in the event.
“This is so unusual. I can't believe we're allowed to do this,” Meyer said Wednesday.
“When I first heard of this ... I started laughing. I said, 'You can't do that.' And then our compliance said, 'You sure can.'”
Meyer’s message to the campers at the SMSB Football Academy was simple. He told them if they are willing to work as hard as they can — in the classroom, on the field and in the weight room — for the next 4-5 years of their lives, it will pay off for the rest of their lives.
“You're set for the next 40-50 years of life,” he said.
It’s not often Ohio State coaches have focused much of their attention on recruiting the state of Michigan. In fact, it has historically been the other way around.
Michigan coach Brady Hoke, who was also in attendance Wednesday, already has verbal commitments from seven seniors out of Ohio. That includes receiver Jaron Dukes out of Marion Franklin, Jake Butt and Taco Charlton from Pickerington and OSU legacy Mike McCray from Trotwood-Madison.
Ohio State does not have a commitment from any players out of Michigan in the 2013 recruiting class. They didn’t have one last year either, but there are a handful of guys from the state up north on the current roster in Columbus.
Most notably, that includes offensive tackle Reid Fragel (Grosse Pointe Farms) and defensive tackle Johnathan Hankins (Dearborn Heights). The Buckeyes have also had some success in the past with guys like Thomas "Pepper" Johnson, Vernon Gholston and Craig Krenzel — the quarterback who led Ohio State to its first National Championship in over three decades.
“I know we have some very good players from this area,” Meyer said during his news conference.
“If we have not (recruited well here), we will.”
Other coaches in attendance for the Sound Mind Sound Body Camp on Wednesday included Eastern Michigan’s Ron English, Alabama-Birmingham coach Garrick McGee and Michigan State defensive coordinator Pat Narduzzi.
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