Urban Meyer calls out rest of Big Ten for shoddy recruiting

With a consensus top-three recruiting class1 under his belt after just one full year with the Ohio State Buckeyes, the university’s head coach of football is now attempting to light a fire under the rest of the Big Ten who did not bear as much fruit on the recruiting trails.

“It’s not only important, it’s essential,” Meyer said of improved conference recruiting in a radio interview with 97.1 The Fan out of Columbus. “It has to happen.”

Brady Hoke and the Michigan Wolverines fared well with a top-10 class, the Nebraska Cornhuskers were the only other Big Ten school to amass what many considered to be a top-35 group of incoming freshmen. In contrast, the SEC — Meyer’s old conference — racked up 14 of the 33 five-star recruits in the country which led to 12 of the 13 schools being listed among the top 30.

Among the bigger signings of Meyer’s National Signing Day were wide receviers James Clark, Corey Smith and Dontre Wilson. The school also nabbed running back Ezekiel Elliot, the St. Louis native who runs the 40-yard dash in 4.4 seconds.

“I don’t know enough about what goes on in the other programs,” said Meyer. “I know I have a lot of respect for the tradition and their historical success they’ve had,” Meyer said. “But we do need, as a conference, to keep pushing that envelope to be better. […] And I think all our conversations, we’re going to have a Big Ten meeting here in a week … and our whole conversation needs to be, ‘how do we recruit?’ When you see 11 of the SEC teams in the top 25 in recruiting, that is something we need to continue to work on and improve.”

[Related: Ohio State Buckeyes ranked second in 2013 AP Poll projections]

  1. Ohio State is ranked No. 1 by Scout.com []
  • SDA

    Gotta love Urban calling out the league. He says it like it is and it shows hes not afraid. Awesome

  • mgbode

    when a nuetered Penn State is 4th (5th some places) in your conference in recruiting, then you obviously have some issues.

    also, we now know why Bielema fled to Arkie. he apparently knew this was coming (Anderson kept most of the class outside of Ball’s younger brother)

  • MrCleaveland

    I agree completely. This is brass, and it’s good for the entire conference.

  • maxfnmloans

    yeah I’m sure no one was trying before. Now that Urban has chimed in, NOW its a priority for Nebraska, Wisconsin and everyone else. Not like Nebraska is one of the most storied college football programs of all time. Naah, they don’t really care.

    Life’s a little different when everyone plays by the rules, Urb. Maybe the SEC should look into it.

  • SDA

    or maybe the big ten has been resting on its reputation for way to long

  • Garry_Owen

    Do you disagree that something is wrong with the Big Ten’s recruiting?

  • architrance

    The Big Ten is a shadow of it’s former glory. Something is clearly not working.

  • mgbode

    it’s a few things working against the region, which is why I think the Big10 really wants to add a Clemson & UNC if it can.

    1. more jobs are available in the South. people have been migrating there (population decreasing in OH and booming in the Southern states).

    2. 7on7 year-round football has taken hold. Whether it’s flag or tackle, people are able and willing to play football all year when the weather is nice.

    3. That 7on7 mentality (spread-out, opened up football) has taken hold in much of the country and changed how teams play the game.

    4. Outside of all of that, NFL DL come from the South (and Texas). The DL is the best way to force spread-teams to change how they play and those guys are in the South. You have to have “big men who can run”


  • The_Real_Shamrock

    Damn Northwestern about time they got their priorities straight!

  • The_Real_Shamrock

    Losing bowl games? (Sorry gotta keep it real)

  • MrCleaveland

    Max, Meyer didn’t say they weren’t trying, he said they weren’t producing. Results matter.

  • architrance

    Lol. Nice work.

  • Steve

    I feel this is somewhat related to Bielema leaving. He left because Wisconsin wouldn’t pay top dollar to keep his assistants. I’m sure that Wisconsin also isn’t paying top dollar to recruit (as in paying for the best recruiters, building better facilities, etc and not situations like LaQuon Treadwell tweeting out pictures of hundreds of dollars in cash while visiting Ole Miss).

    That’s the problem for the Big Ten. Despite having all this money, the older generations are skimping on important things.

  • Steve

    There certainly are some programs who aren’t spending like they should, but this is important too. Big Ten schools don’t get to treat recruiting like the Wild West or oversign.

  • The_Real_Shamrock

    One more: Sure the Chinese might be good at math but can they play sports?

  • maxfnmloans

    no, but I think Urban Meyer is doing this to get attention for Urban Meyer. I went to BG, I have known about Urban Meyer and his ego for quite a while.

    If he really wanted to talk about this with the coaches at their upcoming coaching meeting, he would do just that. By announcing it on the radio a week ahead of time, he got his name in the news cycle, just as signing day ends and there is really no CFB news until spring practice starts in March.

    I know lots of people dont want to hear this, but keep an eye on Urban. He only cares about Urban.

  • SDA

    yeah but they are still considered a top conference. But not for much longer.

  • The_Real_Shamrock

    Depends who you ask I don’t think so anymore certainly not compared to the juggernaut SEC.

  • Garry_Owen


    1) His name was already “in the news cycle” for pulling in arguably the best recruiting class of the year. He was being interviewed about it and was asked a direct question. I guess some people like “coach speak” that doesn’t say anything. That’s fine, but I’ve always thought that his candid talk, whether at BGSU, Utah, Florida, or OSU, is refreshing.

    2) We all know that Urban Meyer’s ego is huge. It’s fairly obvious that he lives for Urban Meyer. Indeed, I’ve banked on having him as OSU coach for only 5 short, but splendid years that end with him eschewing OSU for some other Urban-centric pursuit. Who cares? Urban advancing the Urban agenda means success for my alma mater, and Urban advancing the Urban agenda also means generally going about it the right way – as Urban above all other people doesn’t want Urban’s reputation to be harmed. In this case, Urban being about Urban is also about the Big Ten becoming a better conference, so that Urban’s name and ego can get even bigger.

    I just don’t see what the beef is, here. (Well, I do; but I would think that even a Michigan fan could appreciate Urban trying to improve the conference, even if by doing so he’s only trying to improve his reputation.)

  • http://www.facebook.com/cb.everett.9 CB Everett

    Love it. Urban Meyer is the kind of guy who would sleep with a man’s girlfriend and then afterwards tell the guy that he’s terrible in the sack.

  • maxfnmloans

    I am saying this as a BG alum, not as a Michigan fan. I know we root for different teams on Saturday, but on Sunday we are all on the same team. So, I figured I’d just throw out my perspective on Urban Meyer for people to do whatever they wish with.

    Lots of OSU fans are gung ho about Urban, and the on field results have been stellar so far. I’m just trying to help everyone stay grounded so when he does leave you for whatever his ego decides to do next, you won’t come crashing down too hard.

    Actually, why am I bothering? Lap it up, pretend the good times are here forever, blind yourself to the past history. Go ahead, enjoy.

    Urban Meyer cares more about Urban Meyer than he cares about OSU. For people who really care about OSU, the University and not just the football team (like my Wife, OSU class of ’03), this could be something to keep in mind. Not anything to start calling him out about, but it could be indicative of a pattern of self serving behavior.

    I just can’t think it’d be a good feeling dating someone when you have the thought in the back of your mind that they might jump ship at the first opportunity they fell is better for themselves.

    He could even be setting his exit up, just in case, by starting the line of thinking that “the Big Ten isn’t up to the level of competition I had hoped. That’s why I’m going to the SEC/NFL/Notre Dame.”

    Not that I’m saying any of those jobs are better or worse than Ohio State, but he may perceive them to be.

    But again, I shouldn’t have bothered. Of course, the automatic assumption is that I’m sour because I’m a Michigan fan.

  • mgbode

    honestly, I do think Urban Meyer said it to get attention. But, Urban Meyer getting attention has proven to help him in recruiting.

  • mgbode

    yes, but granting 4 year scholarships to athletes was supposed to be a recruiting boon where other schools are only offering 1 year guarantees.

  • Garry_Owen

    Well, it’s a fair assumption, given “past history” of conversations here. I certainly didn’t mean to attack.

    One counterpoint, though: I care far more for the university than I do the football team. That’s why I can say what I do about Meyer. He’s the football coach, and just the football coach. Fortunately, I’m not dating him. That would be gross and weird. He’s just a football coach. I view this as a business transaction, which it is. I’m glad he’s going to give however many years to this job that he’s going to give, which will hopefully bring the football team a championship or two as a return. As I said, I don’t think the good times are here forever. That would be foolish. I also don’t for a minute think that Meyer bleeds scarlet and grey. Given that, I think it’s right and healthy to expect him to do what is in his best interest.

    You’re right, we’re definitely on the same side here, and more than just on Sundays. As fans, I would think that we’re also on the same Big Ten side; thus my question regarding your opposition to his comments. That’s all.

  • maxfnmloans

    ‘m just hoping he doesn’t leave OSU hamstrung like he did Florida, because in the long term that could be to everyone’s detriment. I haven’t trusted him since he left BG, and maybe I let my Freddie Falcon fly a little to high today.

    mea culpa

  • mgbode

    by the time Urban’s set to retire again, Chip will be looking for a college landing spot

  • Garry_Owen

    Reply to edit: I was indeed strongly and vociferously in favor of keeping Shurmur. He had a 5-year contract that I thought should be honored and given a chance to play out. 5 years. Same with 5-year expectation for Meyer. As my translator in Iraq used to say, “same same.” Moreover, the importance of 5-year continuity for a team like the Browns, that has no basis of success and no tradition of winning, is far, far more important than it is for OSU. We’ve had continuity for decades of success. When Meyer leaves, even if after 5 years or less, OSU will have NO problem whatsoever of finding a top notch replacement, not to mention the players to reload. The same cannot be said of our Browns. But, again, “same same.”

  • Garry_Owen

    Not at all. You’re good. I apologize for casting quick Michigan stones where such casting was not justified.

    (For the record, it took me a long time to figure out that you were a Michigan fan. Until you confessed as much, I just assumed that your avatar was depicting the time wherein you shot the Michigan deer to teach him a lesson. I still like to think that’s what it is.)

  • Natedawg86

    Oh crap Urban is leaving after this year?!?!

  • Garry_Owen

    It’s looking like ol’ Chipper might be carrying the Jim Tressel Scarlet Letter (pun intended) of automatic suspensions with him, though.

  • Garry_Owen

    You heard it here.

  • SDA

    I agree but they are still one of the top few

  • maxfnmloans

    Haha, that’s Fred. I grew up on an apple farm and got him in the orchard when I was 15. He has a Browns helmet for Sundays.

  • Steve

    Not if you’re paying attention to what the Alabama’s and LSU’s are doing. They were already using medical hardships and transfers to add room for more scholarships. Those can be used equally as well against four or one year deals.

  • maxfnmloans

    but Mary Kay had me convinced Chip Kelly is the future of NFL coaches…I’m so confused

  • maxfnmloans

    fair enough. After what I’ve been through with the non-existent Lloyd Carr replacement program, I now think continuity at the college level is more important than I ever did before.

    I’ll bet when Woody left (I was 1, so I dont remember) everyone thought that anybody could step in and continue the run of success. Earle Bruce was a good coach and from all accounts an even better person (I now live near C-bus, and my wife is in Politics, and she is also a member of the OSU Alumni association, so we have been at some events with him). But, he ended up not being good enough.

    My point is, when your expectation is Big Ten Title, Top 10, in the hunt for the Mythical National Championship every year, I would not think you would want to be hiring a new coach every 5 years, because it’s not going to end up with a 2 time national champion every time.

    Then again, college football is an entirely different animal than it was in the 80’s or even the 90’s. It is entirely possible my thoughts are archaic.

  • tamaimbo

    Just as a note, Indiana had its best recruiting class since they began keeping track of classes. Considering IU has been to 3 bowl games in the last 25+ years, they are doing well. It’s great to want the conference to do better, but expectations have to at least partially line up with reality.

  • mgbode

    he’s not Bobby Petrino. he’ll go the Saban route and look for an exit in year2.

  • maxfnmloans

    I saw somewhere that, at Wisconsin, Bielemas budget for his entire staff was around 2 million per year. The offensive coordinator at Clemson (who was a HS coach as recently as 2009) makes 1.3 Million a year.

    When you factor in all the money each school gets from the Big Ten Network, the disparity between Big Ten coaching salaries (on the whole, some schools stepped it up) and other coaches around the country is mind numbing.


  • Garry_Owen

    I guess when I think of the OSU coaching position, I think of all of the big name coaches that are from Ohio that ostensibly would look to come back. Granted, that’s a broad assumption, but during the search that eventually led to hiring Jim Tressel, it proved to be true. (I think Urban Meyer was always the Tressel replacement plan – but it had to be implemented earlier than anticipated.) In that way, OSU really is unique in the bigtime college football world. The number of coaches that grew up being Buckeyes fans really is staggering.

    As for your Skunk Badgers, I really think that the problem was in WHO they hired, not in the process itself. On paper, Rich Rodriguez was a great hire. He just turned out to be a bad, bad, really bad coach. That, and his unnecessarily dramatic offensive scheme change-up is what did you in. (Really? He couldn’t find a way for Ryan Mallett to be on the field? Here’s the box, Rich. Now think outside of it a little bit.) As you said earlier, as much as I loved the App State Era, it was not a good thing for OSU or the Big Ten for Michigan to be so bad for so long. It is possible that the down period for UM has had as much impact on the Big Ten’s current awfulness as anything else. (Well, that and OSU getting destroyed in two consecutive National title games. When OSU and UM are “bad,” the whole conference is bad.)

  • DE Williams

    You write:
    “Urban Meyer cares more about Urban Meyer than he cares about OSU. For people who really care about OSU, the University and not just the football team (like my Wife, OSU class of ’03)”

    So.. it would logically follow that your wife cares more about OSU than she does herself and you? Right?

    C’mon man. You can troll better than that

    Seems like all the pot shots against Meyer are coming from schools we play against… Just the way we like it.

  • NoVA Buckeye

    That was before she heard about Pat Shurmur’s new job.

  • NoVA Buckeye

    You heard it here first, Indiana’s winning 9 next year. Don’t know who they’re beating (hint: Purdue is one of them), but it’s gonna happen.

  • NoVA Buckeye

    Just my two cents, and probably not true, but here are problems I see with each team when it comes to recruiting:
    Illinois: Beckman is still at Penn State trying to convince other players to transfer

    Indiana: Actually doing well by Indiana standards. Should be dangerous this year.

    Iowa: Not sure what’s going on here. Lost foothold in Illinois and Texas, which could prove to be disastrous.

    Maryland: Very few in Maryland wants to actually play for the Terps. Joe Haden, Maryland’s best HS player arguably, played for Meyer’s Gators, not the Fridge. (Also to point out, MD forgot to hire current Vandy Coach James Franklin)

    Michigan: Hoke uses archaic recruiting techniques that will work in Ohio, but fail miserably south of the Mason-Dixon Line

    Michigan State: Assistants still whining about Urban Meyer and making excuses for the other losses. Lame.

    Minnesota: Had a negative PR letter from a player come out this past year, may have scared a lot of recruits.
    Nebraska: Still adjusting to recruiting the midwest and not the southwest. Give them a few years.
    Northwestern: Does not emphasize recruiting based on scouting systems because Fitz was a 1-star prospect out of HS who turned out to be an All-American. Essentially the anti-Meyer.
    Penn State: Self-Explanatory
    Purdue: Hired Jim Bollman as an assistant. Let me repeat, JIM BOLLMAN. That speaks for itself. #OccupyWalrusball
    Rutgers: Plays in the Big East.
    Wisconsin: New coach from the WAC. Recruiting big conferences in the eastern US is almost like a foreign concept to these kinds of coaches.

  • maxfnmloans

    uhhh did your read any of the rest of my conversation with Garry? Wasn’t trolling a bit. My history with Urban probably goes back farther than your does. But go ahead, make assumptions. Best of luck.

    And nice try parsing my English. Unfortunately, you took it out of context to try and prove your point, and you’re wrong. Try reading the MLA handbook sometime.

  • maxfnmloans

    I was so hoping they were going to name him something like “Offensive Quality Control” coach, if only for the 10 out of 10 on the irony scale.