Carlos Hyde might not have been on that list.
Hyde didn't have anything against the former Florida coach and his two national championships, but attending high school in Naples, Fla., he got to watch Meyer's famous spread offense in an up-close-and-personal fashion. What the bruising back saw didn't exactly encourage him.
"No, I didn't think I would be successful in Coach Meyer's offense," Hyde said. "I went to high school in Florida, and when I saw Coach Meyer at Florida, it was Jeff Demps and Chris Rainey and those little dudes running around.
"I was like, ‘I don't see any big dudes running the ball except for Tim Tebow, and he's the quarterback and I don't play quarterback.' "
It didn't take Hyde all that long to realize that things would work out after all. As it turns out, Hyde's physical nature and ability to run through arm tackles – not to mention his ability to fall forward at the end of runs – fit in perfectly with Meyer's philosophy.
"It actually works out pretty good, though, you know?" Hyde said. "The spread is like a power spread, so it's actually good for big backs. I don't have a problem with it at all."
That was proven time and again as Hyde became one of the most productive backs in the Big Ten and the country. The between-the-tackles yin to Braxton Miller's on-the-edges yang, Hyde ran the ball 185 times for 970 yards and 16 touchdowns in just 10 games thanks to an early-season sprained MCL.
He was at his best in the Big Ten season, topping 130 yards vs. Nebraska, Indiana, Illinois and Michigan. In all, he averaged 107.6 yards per conference game and had 14 touchdowns in eight league contests.
"Carlos matured and it became more than just about Carlos and that was the difference in his burst onto the football field last year," running backs coach Stan Drayton said. "He cared more about his team, became more of a teammate and that is definitely the main reason he had the success that he had."
With that success, Hyde did consider leaving for the NFL draft this offseason, but he did not to get feedback on what round he might go from the league's draft advisory board. Not knowing what his professional chances might be, Hyde chose to return for his senior season.
"I thought about it, but I didn't really talk to anybody about it," he said. "I didn't have anybody that I could talk to about it, so then I thought, ‘Well, I'm already in college, so I might as well stay here and get my degree.' The NFL will always be there."
So far, Meyer is happy that Hyde made that choice.
"Carlos had a good day today," Meyer said after practice Tuesday. "I think he is 3 for 3 (in having good practices). We're calling it ‘grade the day.' We walk into each meeting room and grade the kids by the day. I know he was 2 for 2.
"If he's right and he goes like he did in certain games last year, I think he's a good as there is in the country."
Hyde's goal is to live up to that boast by adding the one part to his game that was missing last year – the ability to break the long run. He didn't have a carry of 30 yards or more last season, with his longest run topping out at 29 yards. In an offense that is designed to score quickly, Hyde knows he has to do better.
"When I did watch film of myself, I was like, ‘Man, if I could have just made this dude miss, I would have been gone. Maybe if I would have made a different read on a run, I could have been gone.' But that's why I have another year for it."
To get to that point, he plans to drop a few pounds. Currently listed at 6-0, 242 pounds on the roster, he said he's actually at 235 and wants to get to 230 before the season, and he's working with Drayton in drills to add some shake to his game in the open field.
"This year I want to just take my game to the next level," he said. "I want to make people miss instead of trying to just run people over. I feel like people are going to expect that this year coming up. My whole mind-set in the spring right now is making the safety miss and making those big runs, those 60-, 80-yard runs."
If those are added into the equation and he can stay healthy, Hyde believes big things are possible. Suddenly, the guy who didn't know if he'd excel in Meyer's offense now hopes to be the first guy to rush for 1,000 yards under the head coach.
"That would be huge," Hyde said. "I feel like later on in life, when they talk about 1,000-yard backs with Coach Meyer, they're going to mention me first. ‘Well, Carlos Hyde was the first guy,' and they'll go on with everybody else."