Theory vs. Testimony: For Ohio State, the World is a Stage as It Looks to Sustain Momentum

By Patrick Maks on January 21, 2015 at 8:35 am
Urban Meyer on the Late Show with David Letterman last Friday night.

On Friday, less than week after claiming his third National Championship in less than a decade, Urban Meyer appeared on the Late Show with David Letterman in New York City.

After Letterman introduced the Ohio State head coach, Meyer, who stood backstage, walked on to the set as a live jazz rendition of Hang on Sloopy played. He gave Letterman a hearty handshake and slid into a big and comfortable-looking chair.

He sat down, tugged at his gray sport coat briefly, folded his hands together, looked around the room and mouthed something along the lines of, “Wow.”

Then came the first question.

“I’m told you, sir, are already out recruiting young athletes to come to Ohio State,” Letterman said. “Am I right about that?”

Meyer smiled.

“Yeah I try to — we gave our coaches off until noon one day — I get up and my son goes to school, my wife goes to work out and I’m sitting around the house so I go in about 6:30, 7 o’clock in the morning," he said.

“That was our day off and we’re back at work.”

And really, this whole moment is work, too.

With Ohio State’s first national title in 12 seasons comes a tidal wave of momentum and exposure.

Because of this, the world is stage for Meyer, who is regarded as one of the nation’s fiercest recruiters, to parade a program that’s currently on top of the college football world. 

"It's not theory, it's testimony."

“The doors open,” he said last week in Dallas. “You move to the front of the line.”

More so than normal, there appears to be a certain extra allure about Ohio State to prospective players mulling over their futures. Such distinction, of course, comes with the territory of winning the sport's top prize. 

If the Buckeyes are the nation’s hottest band, Meyer is the rock-star lead singer. If the Buckeyes are One Direction, Meyer is Harry Styles.

Consider the following exchange on Letterman:

“Say you’re recruiting me?” Letterman said.

“OK?” Meyer said, still smiling albeit a bit confused as to where all this is going.

“I’m a linebacker,” Letterman said.

“Can you run?” Meyer said. “That’s what I want to know.”

So Letterman asked Meyer how Ohio State’s recruiting process works.

“We have nine coaches that identify prospects and once they fit what we’re looking for then we get into a plane or car and go to the home, visit with the families, tell them about what a great school Ohio State is how you fit and then try to get you,” he said.  

Now here’s the part that matters.

“I see Urban Meyer — ‘look who’s on the front porch!’ — I’m signing as you walk in.”

“So now,” Letterman said, “I see Urban Meyer — ‘look who’s on the front porch!’ — I’m signing as you walk in.”

Because Meyer transcends college football right now and he seems to know.

And a quick jaunt to New York to banter on a famous late-night show or, most recently, a very-public appearance at the Cleveland Cavaliers’ nationally-televised game against the Chicago Bulls Monday night only helps bolster that notion.

For Meyer, who once said that success in recruiting “makes the food taste better,” it's a critical time to capitalize on momentum— whether it's navigating through a slew of hit-or-miss jokes on the Late Show or taking center stage at halftime at Quicken Loans Arena.

“There's just so much going on in our program right now on the positive side,” he said, “and it's not theory — it's testimony.”

After all, some coaches can tell you how they want to win a national championship and how they plan on doing so.

For Meyer, a roomful of trophies and hand lined with rings speaks for itself.

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