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Q&A with Ohio State’s Urban Meyer

Ohio State's Urban Meyer (Photo by David Phillip/AP)

Ohio State’s Urban Meyer (Photo by David Phillip/AP)

Ohio State coach Urban Meyer did a Q&A with the AJC a few days ago. The Buckeyes are the reigning national champions of college football.

What type of impact has winning the national championship had on Ohio State’s recruiting? “Obviously we had about a two-month infomercial on Ohio State. It certainly has helped us. Last year’s recruiting class by the time we won the championship was pretty well wrapped up. We’ve got some commitments now. And if we took a lot of the (other kids who want to commit), we’d probably be filled up right now. I’m actually trying to slow it down. So it certainly did have an impact.”

Your top three quarterbacks are Cardale Jones, J.T. Barrett and Braxton Miller. Do you think that’s the deepest a college team has been at quarterback since Miami had (NFL first-rounders) Jim Kelly, Vinny Testaverde and Bernie Kosar in 1982? “You know, I’m trying to think. We had Tim Tebow, Johnny Brantley and Cam Newton one year in 2008. That was pretty deep. This is a unique situation. I can’t imagine more depth at any spot.”

Everybody talks about your top three quarterbacks. The fourth is Stephen Collier from Lee County High School. He got a lot of playing time this spring with the injuries to Miller and Barrett. How is Collier doing? “He’s working hard. He is a great young man. But he has got a ways to go. He’s not in that mix yet.”

AJC Super 11 LB Raekwon McMillan, who enrolled at Ohio State this week (Curtis Compton/AJC)

AJC Super 11 LB Raekwon McMillan (Curtis Compton/AJC)

Last year, you signed the top linebacker out of Georgia, Liberty County’s Raekwon McMillian. How is his development coming along after his freshman year? “He’s aces, man. He’s an even better person leading than a player, and he’s a hell of a player. So that tells you what we got in that one. He’s a guy that shows up every day (in football), and he does great in the classroom and in the community. He should be a team captain one day at Ohio State.” So he’s living up to the recruiting hype? “Yes. We bought into the hype when we recruited him. He’s a little better than (he was being hyped). He has got all the intangibles that you hope to get with a player. We got them with this guy.”

You recently said that some colleges throw out scholarship offers “like Pop Tarts.” What’s Ohio State’s stance on offers? “When I was in certain places other than Ohio State, you do have to offer in masses just to get into the game (with a recruit). Sometimes, if you’re one of the first offers, (you might have a better chance). At Ohio State, we’re much different. I want to do it really right. Our coaches want to do it right. So we really don’t offer you until we meet you, spend time with you, and make sure you know what you’re really getting involved with. And then you know sometimes, especially in our own home state, people around the kid will be saying ‘This school has offered him. He’s got 20 offers so far, but you guys (at Ohio State) haven’t offered yet.’ Then we’ll ask them, ‘Have you ever met that school? Have you guys been there and have talked to them yet?’ They say, ‘No, they just sent an offer.’ And I will be like ‘Now what is that? You just gave out a scholarship worth $30,000 per year to someone you never met?’ I think some schools have to do that. (But) we’re not into that business at Ohio State.”

One of your former players at Florida, Aaron Hernandez, made worldwide headlines after his conviction. What do you say to recruits when they ask you about Aaron Hernandez? “I have never been asked about that. But I just answered that question earlier (from other reporters). My thoughts are that it’s a terrible tragedy for all the family members involved. That was many, many years ago (when I coached him at Florida).”

Congrats on the engagement of your daughter, former Georgia Tech volleyball player Nicki Meyer, to former Tech football player Corey Dennis. “I love him. He has already been a member of the family for a few years. He’s a typical Georgia Tech athlete – he’s first-class and an intelligent guy. We’re happy to have him. He’s actually interning with our coaching staff right now.”

Do you think that colleges should be able to pay for the travel of one parent to accompany their son on an official visit? “We are big proponents of that, and we voted in favor of that. That was actually brought up at our Big Ten meetings. You should be able to pay for at least one parent to come on a visit.”

Is there any recruiting rule you’d like to see the NCAA change to make it better for the colleges and the recruits? “I think we need eliminate all these little mini-camps — these satellite camps and going out and working other people’s camps. I don’t think that’s good for anybody. I think everybody should take care of their own house, and all that stuff should be off-limits. They need to come to your campus. That will help eliminate the middle men as well.”


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