Mark Dantonio was once on Jim Tressel’s national championship staff at Ohio State. Since leaving, he turned around a crumbled Cincinnati program and has already excelled during his brief tenure at Michigan State. There’s no question Dantonio’s got Michigan State on the rise. The Spartans hadn’t seen the postseason for four years before Dantonio’s arrival and have since been to five straight bowl games. Dantonio (below) knows his program is at the top of the Big Ten, but that was before a new coach was hired in Columbus. How do you think he feels about Urban Meyer becoming Ohio State’s new coach? The two were once friends, but according to Dantonio’s defensive coordinator, Pat Narduzzi that is no longer the case.
Meyer (below) has long had a reputation for stealing recruits going back past his Florida days and he’s wasted no time carrying out that practice at Ohio State. Meyer has already taken Dantonio’s once committed recruit (last summer), Se’Von Pittman. There are no laws in recruiting wars- all is fair game and you can bet your ass Dantonio is embracing himself for the race.
In the wake of National Signing Day, Narduzzi found himself in the town of Canton where the NFL Hall of Fame is. On the recruiting trip he was hopeful the Spartans could nab Marlington’s Zach Higgins and McKinley’s Jermaine Edmondson to sign with Michigan State. That still seems to be the case, but Narduzzi knows the tactics Meyer is capable of pulling as he did in the case of Pittman.
Narduzzi told a local newspaper, CantonRep.com:
“The agreement has been between the coaches. Jim Tressel and Mark Dantonio would never call or talk to each other’s commitments. People coach Dantonio knows well don’t come in and take players away. When you do, you lose friendships over that.”
Narduzzi (left) goes onto say that the Michigan State coaching staff has already learned their lesson in the case of Pittman, asserting, “It sets a tone and starts a recruiting rivalry. I guess it’s fair game. You don’t want it to be that way, but that’s how it is.” Somebody sounds bitter, huh? Sounds that way, considering Dantonio has tacked on a 5th recruiting coach onto the staff for the Ohio territory.
Of course Michigan State is bitter about losing a top recruit like Pittman, but as you’d expect they’re turning it into a positive for the media:
“We don’t worry about a guy we had and didn’t get,” Narduzzi said. “We want guys who want to be with us. Our philosophy is to take our time and recruit the right way.”
Pittman himself was a bit of a flip flopper, having indicated initial interest at Ohio State before the Jim Tressel circus began and ended. He then shifted interest to Michigan State, until Meyer made it a strong point to recruit the 4-star defensive end away from East Lansing.
Narduzzi claims Dantonio’s focus has now shifted towards “blue-collar recruits” because he’s aware they’re going to lose recruits in the national spotlight nine times out of ten to guys like Meyer.
“I think it’s a good thing we don’t get those guys,” Narduzzi said. “They end up being the ones who cause you chest pains for four or five years.”
Say what you will about Meyer’s recruiting ability, but facts are facts and everybody knows he’s dirty when it comes to the recruiting game. While it’s not by any means illegal, it’s certainly not acceptable and the longer he continues to practice it, the more uneven the playing field will be in the Big Ten for the forseeable future. Brett Bielema and Brady Hoke better watch their back too because The Meyer is a ‘comin for you!