Wishful Thinking: Why Urban Meyer Wants Recruiting to Pump the Brakes

By Eric Seger on April 6, 2015 at 8:35 am

When Urban Meyer takes the podium after closing the book on another spring practice with his Ohio State team, he's initially pretty guarded.

"It wasn't a good day, but it's spring practice."

"Thanks for coming. I know everybody's got a job to do but there's just not much news going on."

Opening statements like those are what reporters have grown accustomed to hearing from Meyer as his team drags its way through spring drills, plodding over the basics time and again after winning the first ever College Football Playoff not even three months ago.

Meyer drones on as he answers questions regarding his embarrassment of riches at quarterback, various injuries surrounding key cogs to his team and the new additions to his coaching staff. He looks at those speaking him kindly and listens intently, even though he knows he'll discuss the same topics.

After all, like he says, it's spring practice.

There's one item, though, that always causes his eyes to light up: recruiting.

People offer scholarships now like Pop Tarts. It's unbelievable.– Urban Meyer

It is the lifeblood of a college program, a big reason games are won and championship banners get raised.

Just like anything, recruiting happens in waves and changes with the times. It's demanding on the men who's job it is to sell their programs to high school kids as to ensure success in future seasons.

But while the ages of players who are getting contacted by the top college coaches in the country keep getting younger and younger, you can count Meyer as someone who wishes that wasn't the case.

"The calendar has already been moved up and we have a bunch of commitments already and I'm not a huge fan of that," Meyer said Tuesday. "I kind of liked it last year where we could get to know the players better."

The Buckeyes already have a huge jump on the class of 2016, earning pledges from eight of the nation's best players after running back Demario McCall's commitment March 28. Ohio State's earned nods from four players in the class of 2017, more than any other school as of Sunday evening.

So why are Meyer and Co. offering scholarships so early? They can't afford not to.

"People offer scholarships now like Pop Tarts. It's unbelievable," Meyer said. "This kid's like ‘this school's offered me, and this school. This school’s offered like 40 kids in the state of Ohio,' and I’m like (jumps back a bit). I don't know where you get 40 times whatever and have 120 scholarships to give out."

Meyer didn't elaborate on what flavor of the delicious breakfast pastry lines up most with a football scholarship, but you get his point.

The pressure to win is so great that college coaches know they have to get the most talented players no matter where they're from or how many scholarships they have available that specific year.

Spring is huge for scheduling visits with kids on campus to begin establishing relationships with them, which Meyer understands — "Spring football and camp, that's a big part of recruiting ... huge part," he said.

He just isn't a fan of the direction it's all going.

"I’d like to slow down, the recruiting process. I want to watch them go to camp. In a perfect world you watch them go to camp and see them play three or four games their senior year and say 'we'll take you. He's a perfect fit,'" Meyer said. "It's just, the calendar's been pushed up so far."

So while Meyer hates his team during spring sessions, just know he's always got his mind on recruiting. Whether it be about his next trip to the deep south, his most recent class or how fast everything's going nowadays, it's on his brain.

He just wishes it would slow it's road a bit.

"We're a little bit slower and I'd like to be much slower than that," he said.

View 40 Comments