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Dan Coughlin: Time for Ohio State to secure its borders and keep Michigan out


Once again, the Buckeyes brought the poachers to justice.

They`re all poachers in the Big Ten, especially Michigan. They cross state lines into Ohio to heist football talent, something that`s been going on for years.

Jim Tressel`s father, the great Baldwin-Wallace coach Lee Tressel, first brought this to my attention four decades ago. I`ve mentioned it to you before. I think I`m starting to repeat myself.

"Count the players from Ohio on every Big Ten roster," Coach Lee Tressel said. "The teams with the most Ohioans will usually win."

I got in the habit of counting and the old coach was invariably right.

Today every college must recruit speed in Florida and California, but in the Big Ten little has changed. Iowa coach Kirk Ferentz virtually camps out in the Glenville High School coach`s office.

Illinois coach Ron Zook, an Ohioan from Loudonville, comes back home to recruit. He already has landed Mayfield`s Ashante Williams, a two-way running back and linebacker, who will enter Illinois in January.

Northwestern`s leading rusher is former Ohio Mr. Football Tyrell Sutton from Akron Hoban. Michigan State quarterback is Brian Hoyer from St. Ignatius. The list goes on. Minnesota has become a disaster, and I`m guessing they have a shortage of Ohio kids.

Even Notre Dame is waking up the echoes. When Charlie Weis got the Notre Dame job, he said his first priority was to recruit in the Midwest, especially Ohio, something Notre Dame has not done in many years. Charlie looked like a genius when he had quarterback Brady Quinn, an Ohio kid that he inherited. This year his quarterback is a freshman from California and Charlie suddenly got dumber.

The most egregious example of this plunder is Michigan. The Wolverines are notorious for sneaking into Ohio and kidnapping our players. You can go back to the late 1950s when they recruited all-Big Ten receiver Gary Prahst from Berea. In the 1960s their All-American tight end was Jim Mandich from Solon. In the `70s their star running back was Rob Lytle from Fremont, and later John Kolesar from Westlake broke the Buckeyes` backs.

One of the Browns` all-time best safeties was Thom Darden from Sandusky who played at Michigan. You need no reminder that Heisman Trophy winner Desmond Howard and quarterback Elvis Grbac were recruited together by Michigan from Cleveland and St. Joseph High School.

Today Michigan`s best receiver, Mario Manningham, is from Warren. A backup running back, Mike Milano, is from Rocky River. The Wolverines` punter is from Twinsburg.

Michigan`s best coach, Bo Schembechler, was from Barberton. With speculation that Lloyd Carr has coached his last game at Michigan, our worst fear is that they`ll steal their next coach from Ohio. I propose that we tighten our borders.

And, whatever you do, don`t give them Les Miles` phone number.

Dan Coughlin is a columnist for The Chronicle-Telegram and a sportscaster for Channel 8. Contact him at

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