Take Two: Who leads Michigan-Ohio State battle for Berger?

Mike Farrell, Adam Gorney, Rivals.com
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Take Two returns with a daily offering tackling an issue in the college football landscape. Rivals.com National Recruiting Analyst Adam Gorney lays out the situation and then receives takes from Rivals.com National Recruiting Director Mike Farrell and an expert from the Rivals.com network of team sites or a regional analyst.

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Michigan and Ohio State are bitter rivals on the football field and also in recruiting and once again the Big Ten powerhouses will be battling it out for another top prospect.

Recently, four-star running back Jalen Berger said the Wolverines and the Buckeyes are his top two teams, but the Ramsey (N.J.) Don Bosco Prep standout will visit LSU, Alabama and Oregon before making a decision at the All-American Bowl over the holidays. Other regional programs could stay in the mix as well.

As it stands now, it looks like a Big Ten battle for Berger, who saw former Bosco teammate Tyler Friday pick the Buckeyes in their 2018 recruiting class. Michigan has had a lot of success in New Jersey over the years landing the top player in the state in the classes of 2014, 2016 and 2017. Ohio State has also dipped in there to land top prospects.

Does one Big Ten school hold an edge for Berger, and are the SEC schools a threat?

FIRST TAKE: Adam Friedman, Mid-Atlantic analyst

“Michigan is in the better spot of the two schools and I don’t think he ends up at an SEC school. It depends on how those visits shake out. I would think he’s a better fit in the Big Ten and Michigan would hold a slight lead at this point. But there is a lot of time left and official visits are going to tell the story.

“With Michigan, there is a little bit more of a connection with the coaching staff there. You can bring up that argument, but there are also the players at Ohio State he’s close with like Friday. Their families are very close so the Buckeyes are very much in the picture.”

SECOND TAKE: Mike Farrell, National recruiting director

“I think he stays in the Big Ten. Michigan does a great job recruiting New Jersey. They’ve gotten a lot of big-time kids out of there like Jabrill Peppers, Rashan Gary, so you have a lot of connections to the state and the kid has liked Michigan for quite some time.

“You can’t eliminate Ohio State, and he’ll go down on these SEC visits and be impressed, but I just don’t see him being a kid who’s going to leave the Big Ten footprint.”

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