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Urban Meyer: A look at his career at Ohio State

Urban Meyer has been one of the most successful coaches in college football history, but a late-summer scandal led to a three-game suspension and could affect the way his career is viewed when all is said and done. 

Here is a look at the Ohio native’s time at Ohio State. 

1. Meyer’s first college job was at Ohio State.

He served as a graduate assistant for Earle Bruce in 1986 and ’87 then went on to work as an assistant at Illinois State, Colorado State and Notre Dame. 

He was head coach at Bowling Green, Utah and Florida (where he won two national championships) from 2001-10. 

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2. Ohio State made Meyer the 24th football coach in school history Nov. 28, 2011. 

The Ashtabula native returned to his home state after a broadcasting games for ESPN. 

His hiring came just days after the Buckeyes dropped a thriller at Michigan, salving OSU’s only loss to the Wolverines in the past 14 years. 

 

3. He hit the road recruiting right away. 

Although Luke Fickell held together a sizable group of verbal commitments while he was interim coach of the Buckeyes, Meyer found he had lots of work to do on the recruiting trail when he was hired. 

He ultimately secured 11 new commitments and signed a national top-five class. 

Several players flipped from prior commitments, including Vandalia Butler standout offensive lineman Taylor Decker, who was set to go to Notre Dame after Jim Tressel’s staff neglected to offer him a scholarship. 

GLENDALE, AZ - JANUARY 01: Offensive lineman Taylor Decker #68 of the Ohio State Buckeyes holds the Fiesta Bowl trophy after the BattleFrog Fiesta Bowl at University of Phoenix Stadium on January 1, 2016 in Glendale, Arizona. The Ohio State Buckeyes beat the Notre Dame Fighting Irish 44-28. (Photo by (Jennifer Stewart/Getty Images)) (Jennifer Stewart/Getty Images)

4. The Buckeyes went 12-0 in his first season. 

With Wayne High School star Braxton Miller running the 2012 offense, Ohio State posted the sixth perfect season in school history. 

They were ineligible for the postseason as part the fallout from the NCAA scandal that cost Tressel his job, but Meyer later said the stellar season was a key aspect of continuing to build recruiting momentum, including signing a 2013 class that was the backbone of a national championship team. 

 

5. The Buckeyes won the national championship in 2014. 

After a disappointing end to the 2013 season (losses to Michigan State in the Big Ten Championship Game and Clemson in the Orange Bowl), Meyer led the Buckeyes to the eighth national title in school history in his third season back in Columbus. 

The team overcame an season-ending injury to Miller, an early season loss to Virginia Tech and the death of a teammate by suicide to win the ultimate prize. 

6. They have been close but fallen short three times since. 

The 2015 Buckeyes were heavy favorites to repeat as champions, but a late-season loss to Michigan State kept them out of the Big Ten Championship Game and the College Football Playoff. 

In ’16, they made the playoff despite missing the conference title game again. However, a 31-0 shellacking from Clemson in the national semifinals ended that campaign with a thud. 

Last season, Ohio State won the Big Ten again but saw Alabama get the fourth playoff spot and go on to win it all. 

 

7. What’s next? 

Ohio State is No. 3 in the preseason coaches poll, No. 5 in the Associated Press poll and projected to be the No. 1 team in the country by at least one measure, but they have been going through preseason practice without Meyer. 

He was suspended for the first three games of the season after an investigation into how he handled allegations of domestic abuse by assistant coach Zach Smith. 

An independent working group found he did not violate any rules or regulations in that instance, but he was charged with failing to properly manage Smith, who committed numerous transgressions during his six years on Meyer’s OSU staff and is the grandson of Meyer’s mentor, Earle Bruce. 

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