Urban Meyer backs Kasich -- not Trump

Ohio State University head football coach Urban Meyer endorsed Republican John Kasich for president.

"Shelley and I would like to tell you and Karen the leadership that you have shown the state of Ohio since we've been back and even before, your friendship, as a friend and as a true supporter of what you stand for - now that I really know what you stand for - we'd like to tell you we really wish you the best. Go win this darn thing," Meyer told Kasich in a video released by the campaign on Thursday.

Last week, Republican presidential front runner Donald Trump praised Meyer during a campaign rally in Columbus, claiming that Meyer has said "awfully nice things" about him. Trump said he wasn't sure if Meyer had endorsed him or not but added: "He's an amazing guy. And when you think you come from one school and you had some success and then you come to Ohio State and you have some success, you just don't see that. That's called talent. That's what we need in our country – we need talent."

Ohio State Football spokesman Jerry Emig responded with this statement: "Coach Meyer was asked about politics last month during interviews and his response was he didn’t think it was appropriate to share his beliefs publicly. He said his focus was on coaching and mentoring the young men within his football program," said Ohio State Football spokesman Jerry Emig.

Kasich, who faces a must-win Ohio primary on Tuesday, is also enlisting the help of former OSU head football coach Jim Tressel, who is expected to make campaign appearances with Kasich this weekend. Tressel is currently president of Youngstown State University.

Kasich also won endorsements from The Cleveland Plain Dealer and Akron Beacon Journal but one of his most powerful endorsements is from the Ohio Republican Party, which is using its machinery to help Kasich win his home state.

Credit: Anthony Shoemaker

Credit: Anthony Shoemaker

Polls show it will be a close contest for the GOP primary where the winner takes all 66 delegates. A Fox News poll of likely voters shows Kasich ahead by six points over Trump and U.S. Sen. Ted Cruz finishing third with 19 percent and U.S. Sen. Marco Rubio with 7 percent. But a Quinnipiac University poll of likely Republican primary voters shows Trump beating Kasich by six points, Cruz getting 16 percent and Rubio coming in fourth with 9 percent.

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