Fact or Fiction: Michigan is closing talent gap on Buckeyes
National recruiting director Mike Farrell and national recruiting analyst Adam Gorney tackle three topics daily and determine whether they believe the statements or not.
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1. Michigan is closing the talent gap on Ohio State.
Farrell’s take: FICTION. Michigan is now No. 5 in the country in the Rivals.com Team Recruiting Rankings after a few solid commitments, including linebacker Junior Colson, but the talent gap between two recruiting classes remains as large as it is on the two rosters. While Ohio State recruits difference-makers and high four- and five-stars, Michigan continues to recruit well but it's just not good enough to make up the difference.
Gorney’s take: FICTION. The last time Michigan had a higher-ranked recruiting class and a higher average-star ranking than Ohio State in the same recruiting class was in 2004. That’s hard to believe, but it’s true. It’s also unfair to constantly compare Michigan to Ohio State. I know they’re rivals, but Ohio State is playing some of the best football nationally and should be compared with Alabama, Clemson, Oklahoma, LSU and Georgia. In their rivalry, the Wolverines have lost eight in a row, nine of the last 10 and 17 of the last 19 matchups. The Buckeyes are a legitimate title contender and Michigan is just not there yet.
2. LSU was a flash in the pan last season.
Farrell’s take: FICTION. Many people are claiming that LSU will take a major step back this season and the Tigers were only national champs because of Joe Brady and Joe Burrow and that is so incorrect.
While the Tigers lost a ton of talent on offense and defense with so many taken high in the NFL Draft, this team is still loaded. The wide receivers are elite, the offensive line is solid and the defense will be good as always. The quarterback position is the question mark, but don’t sleep on LSU in the SEC. This was not a one-year wonder.
Gorney’s take: FICTION. LSU tied the NFL Draft record with 14 players taken, so a lot of talent is gone from Baton Rouge. A whole lot. The star quarterback. The star running back. Arguably the team’s best receiver. The star tight end. A ton on defense as well. With all that being considered, the Tigers have a ton of talent coming back and a ton coming in from the 2020 recruiting class including tight end Arik Gilbert and cornerback Elias Ricks, who could both start from Day 1. Quarterback is the biggest question and a lot of positive things have been said about Myles Brennan but the proof will be in the pudding. The schedule is definitely challenging. Does LSU repeat as national champs? I say no, but they could be in the playoff discussion until the end.
3. Jake Fromm should have stayed another year at Georgia.
Farrell’s take: FACT. Obviously hindsight is 20/20, but Jake Fromm was a fifth-round draft pick and clearly could have used another year in college. And if he were back, Georgia would be in the playoff discussion. Jamie Newman is a good player and a very intriguing dual threat with a high ceiling, but Fromm is more of a sure thing and his experience would have been key this season. Instead he’ll start his career as an NFL backup in Buffalo.
Gorney’s take: FICTION. I’m in the camp that Fromm got a raw deal and that the narrative around him was misplaced. Sure, his arm strength was not the greatest in this draft (especially since Jacob Eason and others have a cannon) but come on - Fromm’s stats at Georgia were excellent and he was not exactly surrounded by a ton of outstanding receivers like Burrow and Tua Tagovailoa were.
Coming back to Georgia wouldn’t have done Fromm any good because the arm strength questions weren’t going away. And I actually think Newman could give the Bulldogs a dual-threat option in the offense that Fromm didn’t provide. If given the chance, Fromm could be a quality starter in the NFL. Picking him in the fifth round was way too low.