“Brady Hoke recruited Ohio very well, but the results on the field in Ann Arbor – and the incredible success the Buckeyes have had in the last 17 years of the rivalry – haven’t given Michigan much of a leg to stand on with players both schools wanted,” said recruiting analyst Jeremy Birmingham, who writes for the Ohio State-centric website

The Ohio High School Football Coaches Association conducts a clinic in February that Ohio State coaches attend annually.

“The Ohio State coaches have always been great about having at least one or two representatives coming to our meeting and keeping us informed,” said France, who’s the president of the OHSFCA. “Coach Tressel was the one who developed a special closeness with us. … Coach Meyer and his staff have continued that. Several of his staff members are former Ohio high school coaches and were in the coaches association. They do a lot of things for us, and we try to help them out whenever we can.”

Michigan State head coach and Zanesville product Mark Dantonio has made recruiting Ohio a priority during his tenure.

When Mark Dantonio – raised in Ohio and a former coach at Ohio State and Cincinnati – was hired by Michigan State in 2007, he immediately emphasized the state of Ohio.

In all, Michigan State’s signed 75 recruits from Ohio and 83 from Michigan during Dantonio’s tenure.

Matt Dudek, Michigan’s director of recruiting, added: “It’s a conscious effort that coach and I have talked about, of getting back into Ohio and Pennsylvania. We have three or four coaches recruiting Ohio now.”