Urban Meyer told AJC that the so-called Big Ten “gentlemen’s agreement” to not recruit each other’s commitments was “nonsense” on Wednesday.
“It’s nonsense,” Meyer said. “First of all, there’s no agreement. And then a kid has the right to go to school wherever he wants. If a kid is interested in a school, he has the right to go look at that school — and that will never change.
“I really don’t worry about anybody else. I just worry about our football team and the way we do things. We do it the right way here.”
In the two-month span after being hired at Ohio State, Meyer convinced eight players committed to other schools to change their minds and sign with the Buckeyes, according to CBSSports. Meyer’s aggressive style of recruiting –perfected from his days in the SEC — angered fellow Big Ten coaches.
Michigan State’s Mark Dantonio said it was “unethical” to try to poach another school’s commitments but later said his statements were “completely taken out of context.” Wisconsin’s Bret Bielema was so hot and bothered by the situation that he picked up the red hotline phone by his desk to speak directly with Meyer.
The idea of a “gentlemen’s agreement” in recruiting was so comical in college football coaching circles that even one of Meyer’s archenemies was more than happy to defend the recruiting tactics.
“I just had someone call me about things being said about this ‘gentlemen’s agreement’ in the Big Ten, how Urban came in there and shouldn’t be recruiting guys who were committed,” USC coach Lane Kiffin told the AJC on Wednesday.
“For me, as a head coach, I work for the school and the athletic director. I’d hate to ever go to my athletic director and say ‘Hey, there was a great player that hadn’t signed his LOI [letter-of-intent] yet and we might have a chance at … but we’re not going to recruit him because he’s committed somewhere.’ I would think that there are some athletic directors that would fire you for that. I know some coaches over there were upset about him going after their kids but I think that just shows what a great competitor he is.”
Meyer has assigned one of assistants, former North Carolina interim coach Everett Withers, to recruit the state of Georgia for Ohio State.
“Well there has to be a reason for Ohio State to go down there and recruit against Georgia and Georgia Tech,” Meyer said. “There has to be some type of tie. It may be a certain kind of quarterback that fits our system, or maybe it’s a Percy Harvin-type of player that wants to be in our offense. Or you could have a prospect related to someone who went to Ohio State, or you may have a kid who wants to play in front of a stadium of 105,000 people. There would have to be a reason. Coach Withers knows Georgia well and will be spending a lot of time down there. To say we’re going to saturate Georgia with our recruiting efforts, we’re not. We’re going to ‘cherry pick’ and go after the best players. If someone in Georgia is interested in Ohio State, we’ll go after him.”
IT’S RAINING RECRUITING STORIES
INSTANT AJC RECRUITING CLASSICS
– By Michael Carvell, AJC Recruiting Blog
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