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Urban Meyer’s will to win burns with such competitive fire that he won’t allow anyone to stand in his way on the recruiting trail.
Including, evidently, his former school and a former assistant coach.
Outkick the Coverage has learned from sources in New York that Meyer and Ohio State turned in Florida assistant coach Brian White for an alleged improper "bump" violation related to the recruitment of Curtis Samuel, a running back/defensive back from Erasmus Hall High School in Brooklyn, N.Y.
Investigations into Ohio State’s complaint this spring uncovered no wrongdoing, the sources said, but Samuel subsequently revealed Florida no longer is in his top five schools — while OSU is.
Meyer’s willingness to turn in a former coach — one he hired — as well as the program he led for six seasons is unheard of in college athletics. Indeed, no one Outkick the Coverage talked with could recall a former coach turning in his former program and a former assistant coach.
A bump violation — a secondary NCAA offense — prohibits contact between coaches and players during non-contact periods of the recruiting calendar.
An email to Ohio State seeking comment was not immediately returned Tuesday night. Meyer acknowledged on Wednesday that Ohio State reported violations against Florida in an article on GatorSports.com but denied he had any personal involvement.
Samuel, rated a top prospect by many recruiting services, is a 6-foot, 185-pounder who is being pursued by many of the top football programs in the country — including Ohio State and Florida. According to Scout.com, he ran for 1,047 yards and 13 touchdowns on 91 carries, and caught 12 passes for 187 yards and three touchdowns as a junior. He also had 33 tackles and intercepted one pass on defense.
He’s currently at The Opening, a gathering of the top high school prospects in America at Nike’s Oregon campus. He wowed those present with a blazing 4.36-second 40-yard dash time as well as a 40.7-inch vertical leap on Monday.
Samuel, who received a scholarship offer from Florida on April 17, is considered to be a Percy Harvin type. Erasmus Hall football coach Danny Landberg, who told the New York Daily News that he talks with Meyer weekly, said the Buckeyes coach envisions using Samuel in the same way he used Harvin at Florida — as a dynamic playmaker at both wide receiver and running back.
Florida’s scholarship offer was originally well-received by Samuel, who said at the time he planned to visit the Gators during the summer.
“I’m interested in Florida and what they have to offer,” Samuel told the website Gator Country in April. “I have watched them play since I was young and I was excited to have a coach from Florida come all the way to New York just to see me and offer me. I want to visit Florida so I’m going to try my best to set something up maybe for this summer.”
“Florida is a good program,” Samuel continued. “They have won national championships and they always have winning seasons and good players. I know that Florida has put a lot of players into the (NFL) and coach (Will) Muschamp continues to do that.”
The lead recruiter for Samuel was White, the current Florida running backs coach whom Meyer hired to coach tight ends at Florida in 2009. White, a 27-year coaching veteran, was one of two assistants retained by Muschamp when he took over the Gators program from Meyer in 2011.
Meyer’s unprecedented move may have left incredibly raw feelings at Florida, but things seemed to have worked in his favor.
While no wrongdoing was uncovered based on White’s alleged violation, the top recruit that both Ohio State and Florida were pursuing recently announced his final five choices: Alabama, Notre Dame, Miami, Rutgers and Ohio State. No Florida.
For the moment, Meyer — who won two BCS National Championships in his six seasons with Florida — has won another recruiting battle, but in so doing has he burned bridges?
Evidently, Meyer thinks this Harvin clone — you can watch his highlight tape below — is so good it’s worth it.