Ahhh, the good old recruiting trail. Anyone who says it's boring at any point in time isn't paying attention. Now, earlier today we hear one of the more interesting and "unprecedented" stories of the 2013 offseason as it's being reported that Urban Meyer – yes, that Urban "squeaky clean" Meyer – is playing hardball on the recruiting trail once again.
UPDATE: According to a new report by ESPN.com on Wednesday afternoon Meyer denies being the one to turn in the UF assistant coach, rather it was the OSU compliance department. Gotta love symantics, huh? Anyone else wonder how OSU's compliance department would've heard about the alleged violation?
This time he reportedly turned in a former assistant coach he HIRED at Florida for a "bump" violation (which is a secondary violation according to the NCAA) as both staffs were recruiting Curtis Samuel of Erasmus Hall High School in Brooklyn, N.Y. The UF assistant in question was Brian White – again, a guy Urban HIRED to his staff at Florida.
Now, this wouldn't be a big deal if it turned out Meyer was doing the right thing, but according to the report White, a 35 year coaching veteran, was investigated and no violation was found. It also wouldn't be a big deal except that Florida was left off Samuel's top 5 list, which he recently announced. Of course, since UF was being investigated, contact became scarce. Oh, and in case you haven't figured out who did make his top 5 list….. You guessed it, Ohio State!
Was this the "step your game up" message that Meyer tried to deliver upon his arrival in the Big Ten? If so, count me out. Look, if you see major violations or whatever on the recruiting trail fine, but you better have your own house in tip-top shape as well. Talk about burning bridges in the coaching fraternity, huh? Nothing like a little fleeting loyalty to the guys you hire to remind us all just how sleazy the world of recruiting can be.
One thing is for sure, don't get in Meyer's way on the recruiting trail, he isn't going to hesitate to run anyone over to get what he wants. Anyone who knows the coaching fraternity knows how close these guys usually all are and if you need an example of just how much karma comes back to bite you, take a look at Illinois' favorite coach – Bruce Pearl – who pulled a similar move in reporting a coach for a violation to win a recruiting battle and now where is he? On his own ban from the NCAA for recruiting violations.
It's hard to blame Meyer for going hard after Hall, after all the guy does run a sub 4.4 40 yard dash and has over a 40 inch vertical jump. Samuel is currently competing at the prestigious The Opening on the Nike campus in Eugene, Oregon where he ran a 4.36 40 yard dash time and a 40.7 inch vertical jump on Monday.
Now, it's time to look out and see how Meyer can knock off Alabama, Rutgers, Notre Dame, and Miami for Samuel's commitment.