As long as Urban Meyer’s tenure with the Jacksonville Jaguars looks like anything short of a total success, his name is going to come up when big college football jobs open up. That is the case this week, after the USC Trojans moved on from Clay Helton, at long last.
Meyer was one of the hottest names for the USC job when it looked like Helton would be fired in recent seasons. It was easier to see him making the jump after he had stepped down from Ohio State and was working as an analyst for FOX. Now, he is in his first NFL season, and has the chance to develop Trevor Lawrence with the Jags.
That hasn’t started the rumors from popping up. Meyer was asking about the Trojans today, saying there’s “no chance” he makes the leap. He may be telling the truth, but he’d be far from the first coach to say something similar, and take the job he was asked about days or weeks later.
ESPN’s Jeremy Fowler thinks Meyer is committed to the NFL, though. He says that he was “told multiple times” in the lead up to Meyer taking the Jags job that changes to the college game, including the advent of players’ receiving NIL deals, the widespread transfer portal, and other things have “turned off” the three-time national champion.
With #Jaguars coach Urban Meyer saying ‘no chance’ on USC, something to keep in mind: Was told multiple times before Meyer took Jax job that he was turned off by recent challenges of coaching in college (NIL, transfer portals, recruiting calendars, etc). NFL was welcome change
— Jeremy Fowler (@JFowlerESPN) September 15, 2021
You can certainly take exception to someone choosing the NFL—where players have always been paid and free to pursue outside endorsements and opportunities—over college in part because the younger players now have those same opportunities. Even so, it wouldn’t be a huge surprise if this is the case for Meyer, as it is with many long time head coaches.
Fans and members of the media are already citing Nick Saban’s abrupt reversal on staying with the Miami Dolphins to taking the Alabama job, and Bobby Petrino leaving the Atlanta Falcons in the middle of his first NFL season to take the job at Arkansas.
Time will tell if Urban Meyer joins a pretty small group of elite college coaches that also found a ton of success in the NFL.