Urban Meyer is headed to the NFL.
The longtime college head coach is leaving his job as a Fox analyst and agreed become the next coach of the Jacksonville Jaguars. The Jaguars made it official Thursday evening. Meyer won three national titles as a college head coach, and went 187-32 over 17 seasons in four different head college jobs.
Meyer will join the Jaguars, who have emerged in this coaching cycle as one of the more attractive NFL openings. The team has the No. 1 pick in the draft, which is expected to be former Clemson star Trevor Lawrence.
The Jaguars have 11 total picks in the upcoming draft and close to $100 million in salary-cap space to attract a strong general manager who can lay out a solid foundation to rebuild. Jacksonville went 1-15 under former coach Doug Marrone, who was fired after the season.
For Meyer, the decision kicks off a fascinating experiment of whether one of the greatest coaches in modern college football history can translate to the NFL. Meyer has no NFL experience, and his ability to transition to professional football will be one of the most compelling stories of the 2021 NFL season.
Meyer, 56, announced in December of 2018 that he was stepping down from Ohio State, partly because of health issues, as he spent most of that season in pain on the sideline because of an arachnoid cyst, which caused him aggressive headaches throughout the year.
After leaving Ohio State, Meyer spoke skeptically about transitioning to the NFL. In college football, he went undefeated at Utah in 2004, won two national titles at Florida and another at Ohio State. He went 83-9 in seven years at Ohio State, including a record of 54-4 in Big Ten play.
“I could never work at a place … I see some of these guys’ records because the NFL is so even,” he told Yahoo Sports in 2018. “Some of these guys, their record is 74-58. I could never do that.”
One of the appeals of Meyer, according to sources, is his ability to build an organizational culture. Meyer evolved as a head coach during his two decades in college football from a scheme-driven coach to a culture coach. He wrote a leadership book after Ohio State won the national title and became fascinated with picking the brain of top leaders and CEOs about building organizations.
Since retiring from college football, Meyer has thrived in his role as an analyst for Fox and continued to work at Ohio State in a role mentoring coaches in the athletic department.
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