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Posted on Thu, Aug 9, 2012 : 10:15 p.m.

Michigan beats Ohio State for 1st member of 2014 recruiting class, LB Michael Ferns

By Kyle Meinke


Brady Hoke, shown addressing the media in February after signing one of the nation's best 2012 recruiting classes, is off to a good start for 2014.

Melanie Maxwell I

The Michigan football team bagged a top-10 recruiting class for 2012, and is on its way to securing a top-five class for 2013 thanks to a fast start.

It appears the Wolverines are up to their same old tricks, after linebacker Michael Ferns decided to become the first member of Michigan's 2014 class. The Saint Clairsville, Ohio, prospect committed to Michigan on Thursday night, according to WolverineNation.


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It's too early in the cycle for Rivals and Scout to release rankings, but Ferns' impressive offer list includes elite national programs such as Notre Dame, Penn State, Oklahoma, Stanford -- and rival Ohio State.

Midwest recruiting analyst Allen Trieu, who ranks Ohio players for Scout, said he expects the 6-foot-3, 235-pound Ferns to be a four-star prospect.

"At this early point in time, he has to be considered one of the top guys in Ohio," Trieu said. "He had early offers from some of the elites, like a Michigan and Ohio State and Oklahoma, even before the summer started, so that speaks highly of him even at this early point in time.

"It's a good get, for the first one. Michigan continues to do well in Ohio. They continue to recruit top-end linebackers -- and you continue to beat your rivals on this one, which is the cherry on top."

Ferns' commitment signals continued recruiting success in Ohio for Brady Hoke.

The second-year Michigan coach said upon his hire last year he would concentrate his team's recruiting efforts in the Midwest footprint, and named Michigan and Ohio as the key battlegrounds.

Hoke, who hails from Dayton, has been immensely successful. His first full recruiting class in 2012 included nine players from Ohio, the most of any state -- even Michigan (eight) -- and his unfinished 2013 class features nine more.

Hoke benefited early in his tenure from the gifts scandal that rocked Ohio State and cost coach Jim Tressel his job. In fact, one of the Wolverines' two five-star recruits for 2012, Kyle Kalis, flipped his commitment from the Buckeyes to Michigan in the aftermath of Tressel's forced resignation.

But even since the hire of Urban Meyer, a heavyweight in recruiting, the Wolverines have continued to soar. They now have pledges for 2013 from Ohio's No. 1 player at safety (Dymonte Thomas), tailback (DeVeon Smith) and tight end (Jake Butt), as well as the top two players at linebacker (Ben Gedeon, Mike McCray).

Now, Ferns -- who held an Ohio State offer -- has extended that trend into 2014.

"It's going to cause Ohio State to try to build an even stronger fence around the state, around the top kids," Trieu said. "For a while, Ohio State was getting all the top kids. I think Michigan and Brady Hoke have been able to come in and win some battles, which didn't seem likely to happen before he got in there.

"Urban Meyer doesn't strike me as the type of guy who gets nervous about anything, but they've surely taken notice. It's poured a little more gasoline on the fire -- maybe a lot more gasoline on the fire."

Kyle Meinke covers Michigan football for He can be reached at 734-623-2588, by email at and followed on Twitter @kmeinke.


Steve McQueen

Sat, Aug 11, 2012 : 1:37 a.m.

Bo Recruited Ohio like Crazy. Bump Elliot did as well. Where do you think Dan Dierdorf..Lytle.. our 2 latest Heisman winners etc etc etc came from? Ohio has always supplied Michigan's best players...and for good reason...if you grew up in that cesspool, you'd want desperately to get out of it. Coach Hoke and staff are offering these kids an out, and they are taking it. This is status quo. This is Michigan.


Fri, Aug 10, 2012 : 5:30 p.m. one says of any other degree at Michigan..."Well, they are really from Wisconsin, they aren't a Michigan product. They are from Canada....why do we need people from Canada??" Pretty simple that if you are in Ohio and like football, there is a real good school up north that is an easy drive for your family to visit you. Mix 'em up from all around is a great philosophy for a "global" institution. Amara Darboh is from Sierra Leone!


Fri, Aug 10, 2012 : 4:28 p.m.

Hoke is doing more than recruiting players from Ohio since his main mission is to rescue those players from a brief eternity into the hellhole that is called tSIO. TiM.


Fri, Aug 10, 2012 : 1:12 p.m.

Let's see, a 6-3, 235 pound linebacker who runs on his H.S. 4x100m relay team, is an excellent student, and wants to go to medical school - YES please! Welcome to the Michigan family Mr. Ferns. Michigan's linebacker recruiting has turned around 180 degrees since Hoke took over. One reason Michigan's D has struggled in the last 5 years was poor linebacking. Hopefully, all these good players combined with great coaching will turn Michigan into "Linebacker U" in the coming years.


Fri, Aug 10, 2012 : 8:28 a.m.

Why is the state of Michigan so bad at football that we need Ohio players do much, yet hate OSU? Expectations are high(er) for this program but we still don't know if Hoke can get it done. What thing of importance has he won, outside beating acc, big east or wac schools? Its been how long since UM has won a big ten title even?? Im just saying don't count your chickens before they hatch. With OSU, being in Ohio and in the middle of the best football breeding grounds in the midwest, I don't see how UM can topple the great advantage OSU and a 2x NC coach Meyer brings. We should probably focus on beating MSU and winning a big ten title for once before we worry bout dethroning the decade long top dog OSU.


Sun, Aug 12, 2012 : 1:56 a.m.

Lets get one thing straight Meyer didn't lead that team to 2 national titles Tim Tebow did! Ohio is not going to get a player like him for meyer to ride! On top of that let's not forget what happened to Florida and Urban the last time we played em!

Robert Granville

Fri, Aug 10, 2012 : 11:29 p.m.

He's trolling... it worked.


Fri, Aug 10, 2012 : 2:39 p.m.

When the culture of your state revolves around whether or not it produces great football players, there is a big problem. No problem here with getting players from Ohio. That tradition goes back 100 years.


Fri, Aug 10, 2012 : 1:39 p.m.

mike. . . your top dog"a.k.a the vest" cheated for that decade (YOU MUST BE SO PROUD)!! I guess you can say he put himself and the o$u footall program in the DOG HOUSE!! GO BLUE. . . BEAT o$u!!!

Ted Bundy

Fri, Aug 10, 2012 : 12:54 p.m.

"We should probably focus on beating MSU and winning a big ten title" Who's "we"? You are not a UM fan, you just created your account early this morning to troll Michigan articles... Nice try though Buckeye! Oh and your cover is blown, you guys are cheaters, and the whole nation knows it now.

Latavis Thompson

Fri, Aug 10, 2012 : 11:32 a.m.

First off, its Hokes second season. And second, Do you even know who owns the series between Michigan and Ohio? Also Michigan is 20-5-1 vs. The SEC and their overrated speed.


Fri, Aug 10, 2012 : 9:25 a.m.

The Michigan Football Program's success will always be primarily judged by its success rate against our biggest rival, Ohio State. If we fall prey to all the reasons we are at a disadvantage for beating Ohio, then we never will have a respectable rate of success against them. I also question your assumption that beating Ohio and beating MSU are mutually exclusive. Actually, if we field a team that has success against MSU, it is more likely that we also field a team later that season that will have success against Ohio. Its what you call having a good team.


Fri, Aug 10, 2012 : 3:24 a.m.

FERNS is a great get and it's always great to take a 4* recruit from ohio away from o$u!! the 2014 class just might be better then the 2013 class. . . great job coach HOKE!! GO BLUE. . .BEAT bama!!! welcome to MICHIGAN. . . MICHAEL FERNS!!


Fri, Aug 10, 2012 : 5:43 a.m.

Ted- they just gave Al a raise big enough to choke an elephant with. Face it, he's here to stay. But your constant critiques have made him consider the faults of quarterbacks as mobile as a concrete blocks.


Fri, Aug 10, 2012 : 4:37 a.m.

Stunning commentary Ted. Compelling.


Fri, Aug 10, 2012 : 3:21 a.m.

Coach Hoke must work 20 hours a day. And to think there were people who didn't think he was experienced enough to coach at Michigan. How fortunate we didn't get Mr. Miles or Mr. Harbaugh. Roll Wolverines.

Ghost of Tom Joad

Fri, Aug 10, 2012 : 12:59 p.m.

so true. I was one of the haters at the announcement of Hoke, but I will gladly eat crow on this one.


Fri, Aug 10, 2012 : 4:21 a.m.

scott. . . ditto. . . we got the better guy!! GO BLUE!!!


Fri, Aug 10, 2012 : 3:16 a.m.

All your five stars are belong to us, ohio. Hail!