He relayed a story of going “100 miles per hour” from an Ohio State practice to see him play, and mentioned the pride he felt at seeing his son play in a state that he believes has the best high school coaches in America.
But for all that pride he feels toward his home state, he still believes there’s work to be done in the little corner of Ohio that he loves most. Speaking to Ashtabula County-area high school coaches following the camp, Meyer extended an invitation to join him at the Woody Hayes Athletic Center any time they wanted.
“My thoughts are this: This is my home. I love this place. Anything we can do, the answer is yes,” he said. “Unfortunately I don’t see you guys very often. If I do, you’ve got an open invite. To be honest, I’d like to see more of you from my home city. You guys should be down at our place all the time, just learning some football.”
The fourth-year Ohio State coach is not shy about his own fondness for coaching development, and he routinely visits NFL and college teams to see what the Buckeyes can be doing better. He wants his hometown coaches to be doing the same thing, and he was adamant in his pitch to local high school coaches to come to Columbus to learn from the Ohio State staff.
His own high school, Ashtabula St. John, brought back football in 2014 after a six-year hiatus. The Heralds’ head coach, Dom Iarocci, was sitting in the room and was the subject of a personal plea from Meyer to come down to Ohio State to meet with the OSU coaches.
“He’s a national championship coach. To be able to have that resource and have him say we’re welcome to come down any time, that’s hard to beat,” Iarocci said. “I think he’s a very genuine guy. He’s a graduate of St. John, so when he comes up to me and says I want to see you guys do good, I think he’s very genuine and very sincere about that. I know he’s good friends with (Sister Maureen Burke), our president, and he does a lot for our school. A lot.”
The concept of having high school coaches visit the program is nothing new, and powerhouse programs in Ohio do it all the time. But two words can get a coach from the very northeast corner of the state the best treatment they could possibly afford down at the WHAC.
“I’m here to motivate you and get you going and let you know you have incredible resources two and half hours down the street,” Meyer said. “All you have to say is Ashtabula County, and you’ll go right to the front of everybody else. I give you my word on that. If it doesn’t happen, find me.”
Ohio State has long pulled players from cities like Akron and Cleveland and has also signed kids from Lorain and Elyria in recent years. But Meyer wants to start seeing Ashtabula County players winning on Friday nights and then wearing scarlet and gray on Saturdays.
“We want to see Northeast Ohio just start hammering people the way they should,” Meyer said. “There are good players up here, and we want to recruit them. We want them to come to our camps. I love this place and I want to see this place win, get this thing going.
“You have my commitment. But we have to go. We have to go.”