Two of Scout.com's experts weighed in on their recollections of how FNL impacted recruiting at Florida under Meyer.
BOB REDMAN. Managing editor of FightingGators.com: "I saw every one of them under Urban at Florida, and it really turned into something special. A lot of the appeal was getting so many big-time players together, a lot of them for the first time. It's a little bit different today because of social media, where kids talk so much, but getting them all together in one setting is still great. Getting players on campus is still the name of the game in recruiting, and FNL served that purpose and still does today."
"Putting these kids in that atmosphere is amazing, where players are in the stadium, working out on the field, with music blaring. There are highlight videos playing, and the players rise to occasion, where they love competing. Getting great players hyped up, on the home field, in a camp setting is something to see. You have the coaches on the field coaching up the players, which is great for these prospects."
"What we saw happen under Urban Meyer was that FNL was more about setting things up for the next year, and much like Florida today, this will probably be more about the 2014 class. I can remember the excitement of seeing Tim Tebow and Percy Harvin at FNL, and that continues today. Seeing the players compete against each other, and they also bond together as friends, was quite a benefit to Urban and Florida over the years. Coach (Will) Muschamp has continued that tradition, and it's still a big thing at Florida. Having current team players there to watch is also permitted, as well as former players are allowed to be on the field to mingle with the coaching staff. That adds to the excitement as well."
"Everybody does it now, but back in the early years it was amazing. Meyer also did this at Bowling Green and Utah, but he attracted a different breed of athlete at Florida. The key is getting these great players together competing, and you hope they build relationships and friendships, where they want to play college football together."
JASON HIGDON. Regional Recruiting Analyst: "This year will be my fifth FNL at Florida, and I remember the first one like it was yesterday. The big recruit was Will Hill, who at the time was a five-star, Mr. Everything. When he showed up it was like a rock star entered the stadium. It was Friday night, under the lights, in the stadium, and at the time major colleges weren't doing anything like this. Urban turned it into a happening, and Coach (Will) Muschamp has embraced that tradition and kept it going just as strong. A lot of the players coming to Ohio State this week will be blown away by the atmosphere, competing in the stadium where they've seen games on television since they were young kids."
"It really grew into a larger than life event, and as I look back and remember the players that actually attended, I would guess maybe 75% of the next year's recruiting class would have been at FNL. That number could be higher. The numbers were staggering the last few years under Urban in who attended, and who ended up in the class, and that has continued under Coach Muschamp."
"This has now shifted to a junior-dominated event, and I'm sure Urban will have it that way at Ohio State also. The recruiting calendar demands that you get your current class nearly filled by summer's end, so I would guess the Ohio State event will be more exciting for the 2014 prospects. Coach Muschamp has that philosophy today, and I expect Urban to do the same at Ohio State. Once Urban gets this established, it will blow up in Ohio, trust me. Florida's goal for FNL right now is to impress the 2014 and 2015 players."
"I actually spoke to some players yesterday from the Tarpon Springs area that are going to Ohio State, including wide receiver Artavious Scott. Once Urban gets that built up it will be the premier event in the Midwest. Once that stadium starts rocking with the music blasting, the players really get into it, and the fans will love it. I wish I could be there to see Urban blow that up, but I will be in Gainesville for Florida's FNL. Urban will make it special at Ohio State, and once he gets it established it will be a huge recruiting tool, as big as the spring game is at Ohio State. It will be great for the fans to come out and watch."
Although Ohio State cannot promote the event, it is open to the public. There is no charge and the gates will open at 5:30 PM on Friday.