Football Recruiting

Reader Mail: Is Urban Meyer Lying to Recruits?

Urban Meyer Ohio State Football Buckeyes

It has been a very busy week or so in the Ohio State recruiting world, and that’s just counting the guys who have actually committed to the Buckeyes. There has also been some drama with a couple of players who didn’t commit to Ohio State, which is at the center of this edition of Reader Mail.

Hey Tony,

Okay, that’s the second time in the past week that I’ve read that OSU coaches have allegedly lied to recruits. First, Devontae Dobbs and and then that QB Maurer?

What’s up with that? Have you heard anything about any validity to that? We certainly don’t need potential recruits hearing that kind of garbage.



Let’s start with some background.

Devontae Dobbs is a 5-star offensive lineman out of Belleville, Michigan who committed to Michigan State one week ago today. Doing an interview on a radio show, Dobbs was asked about the recruiting process and he said he didn’t really care for it.

As it regards Ohio State, he said the following.

“I didn’t like recruiting because coaches lied to me. They did stuff that wasn’t ever going to happen. Places like Ohio State had coaches that told me, ‘You’ll come in and play a ton as a freshman.’”

So that’s half of the question.

The other half came this weekend when reporters spoke with Florida quarterback Brian Maurer down in Dallas at The Opening. Maurer received an offer from Ohio State a week ago Saturday, but then lost the offer when Michigan State commit Dwan Mathis flipped to the Buckeyes last Sunday.

“When Dwan showed up it made me mad because they said ‘you’re the only kid here, you’re the guy we want, we’re gonna work you out and then offer you,'” Maurer told “When that happened, there were some mixed emotions there.”

So that’s the second part. Let’s tackle that one first.

Did the Ohio State coaches lie to Brian Maurer? I don’t know. What I do know is that Dwan Mathis’ visit was a complete surprise because even the guys who only cover recruiting were surprised to see him. How much notice did OSU’s coaches have and did their conversation with Maurer happen before they found out Mathis would be in town?

If you want some plausible deniability for OSU, you could say that Maurer was the only 2019 quarterback they were looking at at Friday Night Lights because he was the only one working out. They had already offered Mathis a month or so ago, so he wasn’t working out, he was on an official visit.

Despite being angry, Maurer still went out and performed well enough to earn an offer. He left that Friday night not knowing if an offer was coming, but when he spoke to Urban Meyer on Saturday, he was told there was an offer for him. And then Maurer went home without accepting the offer.

Dwan Mathis accepted his offer on Sunday and the rest is…presently…history.

Maurer understandably feels a bit like he was left at the altar. He committed to Tennessee this past week, by the way, but you can’t help but wonder what would have happened had he accepted the offer that Saturday.

Yes, it sucks that there is generally only one quarterback spot per recruiting class, but that’s why both quarterbacks and offers are at a premium. If you get the one you want, you might not want to wait too long to take it.

And if you think about it, that’s life as a quarterback. You never want to put the game in another quarterback’s hands. To me, that’s what happened here.

If Maurer feels like he was misled, I can understand that. Recruiting is a rough business and it’s rougher for quarterbacks than anyone else. But, unless he comes out and says otherwise, he had an opportunity to accept the offer he wanted and he didn’t do it. It’s unfortunate, but everybody moves on the next day.

Now to Devontae Dobbs.

Is it lying to a recruit to say that they will play as a true freshman?

Well, let’s talk this one out.

First of all, Ohio State isn’t going to tell an offensive lineman that they’re going to come in and ‘play a ton’ as a true freshman. That’s a recipe for a s*** sandwich with extra nuts.

They’ll tell them there is always an opportunity to play, however.

For instance, here is what 2020 OSU quarterback Jack Miller said of his conversations about playing time with the Buckeye coaches.

“They don’t like to lie too much. They’re really straightforward and I love that too. They don’t just tell me what I want to hear like a lot of these other schools. So they’re just super straightforward. They say like, ‘Hey, you’re going to come in and compete for the job. We’re not going to say you’re going to start because you might not. We don’t want to let you down like that.’ So yeah, they just say you’re going to come in and compete and if you win the job, you win the job.”

Yes, it’s funny that Miller said OSU coaches don’t like to lie too much, but let’s stay on track here.

Sometimes problems are created because recruits hear “will” when some — or most — coaches actually say “could.”

But that doesn’t mean it would be a lie to say that a freshman could come in and play at Ohio State. Even on the offensive line.

Last year, offensive tackle Thayer Munford played in 10 games as a true freshman. In 2016, Michael Jordan started every game as a true freshman. One year earlier, Isaiah Prince played in 13 games as a rookie. In 2014, Jamarco Jones was the backup left tackle as a true freshman. Even Taylor Decker was splitting reps with Reid Fragel as a true freshman in 2012.

Nobody promised Michael Jordan he was going to start as a true freshman. Hell, the kid came in as a tackle and he plowed his way over to guard. He saw an opportunity to play and he took it — because he was told that if he’s the best player, he would play.

There is also the depth chart that a 2019 offensive lineman is going to come into. The Buckeyes could be graduating three starters and possibly losing a fourth early to the NFL after this season. That’s the kind of situation made for early playing time.

And is there even any reason to mention the non-offensive linemen? Did anybody miss what J.K. Dobbins did last year? Or Nick Bosa the year before? Or Raekwon McMillan and Curtis Samuel in 2014, or Joey Bosa in 2013, or really any given Buckeye team in any given year?

If a player feels like he is being lied to when the coaches said he could play a ton as a true freshman, then that player probably knows something that the coaches don’t.

If a player doesn’t think he can come in and play as a true freshman, then he is 100% correct.

Urban Meyer has said the best players will play, regardless of how old they are. And as he likes to say, it is no longer theory — it is testimony.

Just look around.

6 Responses

  1. Obviously I am not sure If coaches are lying or not to recruits but everyone needs to be vigilant at all times of protecting the Ohio State brand.

  2. Thanks Tony for a good summary and to all who commented.

  3. If 4 games equates to “a ton” – then they can safely say everyone will play a ton.

  4. OK, Orr and Gerd used he same quote from Jack Miller. With the exception of the line about “They don’t like to lie too much.” Clarification please!

    1. I added the quote to Tom’s piece because we’re a team (Hi Tom). The lie part wasn’t pertinent to the commitment story, but I thought it was interesting given the reader mail, so I included it in the other piece.

  5. The CEO is artful with the way he addresses people, but I seriously doubt if he lies to recruits for the sake of lying to them, OR for securing a commit from them. If any recruit believes he’s been lied to by this staff……….they are full of it. End of story. Perhaps the recruit felt scorned because the staff didn’t sit around babysitting their commitment offer to the kid.

    If some of these HS kids are as good as the think they are, they should be mature enough to know first, that the world doesn’t revolve around them. If top tier schools are interested in you they need to settle things in their own mind that there are hundreds of other kids who are hungry for the same spot on that team, so he better have the mindset that if the school offers and he delays his commitment the chances are that school is going to move on. Next, the top tier schools are the world the RECRUITS should be revolving around. TOMORROW is promised to NO ONE. Entitlement isn’t really an option for coaching staff’s except in very rare exceptions. Places like Ohio State, Alabama, Texas, USC have rosters filled with so-called blue chip talent already BEFORE kids get a chance to get an offer. IMHO some of the development process isn’t what it could or should be at some positions, but even those blue chip freshmen already on Campus for a year is probably going to be that year better, or at least more prepared both mentally and physically to actually play. That’s not ALWAYS true but if we did a research of every program in the Country. I feel confident that for the majority, even down into the FCS, that development year is a huge plus to the kids already in the program for any length of time.

    If a recruit has an opportunity to join a roster he covets, perhaps he should stop with the self entitlement aggrandizing. In ANY recruiting class at the top tier schools a 4 star is just that……..another 4 star waiting for the “world” to decide whether that kid is a fit for their program among literally hundreds of 4 – star and 5 – star kids vying for a spot. If they aren’t prepared to make a decision maybe they should avoid attending camps because if they play good enough during that camp the school just might offer them. But if they hesitate, perhaps the school won’t have the patience to sit around and wait. Coaching staffs have a job to do, so if the recruit feels scorned after any given staff has offered them, and they have sat around basking in the entitled glow of being offered, and then, set aside for another kid who DOES want that same spot and proves it by committing…….then purely BooHoo for the kid who feels left at the altar. If you have to hesitate pulling the trigger, perhaps that school isn’t a good fit anyway. NO staff can afford to have a roster of spoiled brat like children. They’re headed for college, it’s time to become a man.

    Everyone here is at least reasonably familiar with how the Buckeyes recruit. They have their flaws, but watching on Saturdays the freshmen who have earned early playing time actually find reps during live action. I suspect the CEO says that they “could” earn early playing time, but he’s not going to lie and say it’s guaranteed. That’s just nonsense.

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