COLUMBUS, Ohio — Urban Meyer flexed for the college football world again, and Ohio State got stronger.
Just as he did last month in response to a rule change by going out and landing one of the deepest, most-talented recruiting classes in the country despite his opposition to the early signing period, Meyer again maxed out with the chance to add a 10th coach to his staff by landing one of the most coveted defensive coordinators on the market.
If there is anybody out there worried that Meyer is on the back half of his career or losing his edge, put those doubts aside. He’s as competitive as ever, and now he’s got Alex Grinch on board — the latest piece of evidence that he has no interest in letting the Buckeyes slip after solidifying their spot among the game’s elite programs.
Was the sales pitch to Grinch the most difficult Meyer has had to make in his years as a recruiter? Certainly not, particularly since there were natural ties to Columbus for Grinch as a native of nearby Grove City.
But the 37-year-old secondary guru could have gone just about anywhere in the country if solely wanted a bigger check than those he cashed as defensive coordinator at Washington State over the last three seasons. There were other suitors at big-time programs who could have allowed him to compete on a bigger stage as he works his way up the coaching ranks. And he also could have jumped somewhere that didn’t require him to potentially share the spotlight as a co-defensive coordinator, as it’s expected Grinch will be doing with Greg Schiano when the program officially confirms his role.
“I am pleased to announce the addition of Alex Grinch to our coaching staff,” Meyer said in a news release. “I am very impressed with his body of work while at Washington State, as many others were, and am happy he chose to come home to Ohio to become a part of our Buckeye coaching staff.”
This is the power, the draw and the strength of the Ohio State brand right now under Meyer. Maybe Grinch would have come home to the Buckeye State regardless, but he wouldn’t be the first coach to admit that working for Meyer is a springboard to leading his own program down the road.
Tom Herman. Chris Ash. Luke Fickell.
Even Schiano can reasonably be thrown into the mix despite his prior history as a head coach, since he also could have taken a different path instead of choosing to revitalize his career by working under Meyer. He would have been the fourth guy on the list of Ohio State assistants to move on to a top position elsewhere after the 2017 season if not for the fiasco with Tennessee, although Meyer surely won’t complain about having Schiano around to keep leading one of the nation’s best defenses.
Having Schiano on staff means Meyer could have simply gone out looking for an up-and-coming position coach to fill out the extra spot, maybe somebody a little cheaper or with less competition for his services than what there was with Grinch. But that wouldn’t match up with the expectations he has set for the Buckeyes to maximize every opportunity and win at the absolute highest level. It feels like a good bet that Grinch will wind up being the most significant hire of any No. 10 when the NCAA rule officially goes into effect on Tuesday morning.
Mark that as another win for Meyer at Ohio State.
And probably another the Buckeyes wouldn’t have without him.