“Now we know why Urban Meyer is such a great recruiter,” sneers the South Florida Sentinel’s Mike Bianchi. ” Because he doesn’t just offer scholarships to players. He apparently offers scholarships to their girlfriends, too.” I guess this is Bianchi’s way of saying he doesn’t believe in romance.
There are reports that junior college WR Carl Moore likely wasn’t going to attend UF unless Maranda Smith (above) — a gymnast who had competed for UCLA in 2006 but quit because of an injury — came to Gainesville, too.
Can you guess what happened next? That’s right, Meyer reportedly contacted the girlfriend, he contacted UF gymnastics Coach Rhonda Faehn and — voila! — Moore and Smith are both on scholarship and already enrolled at UF.
In fairness, Smith was one of the top high school gymnasts in the country and could have signed with other collegiate gymnastics teams. She even competed in a meet this past weekend when the No. 1-ranked Gators met No. 2-ranked Georgia. But let’s be honest, shall we? This is college football recruiting we’re talking about. Smith could have been Tony Siragusa in drag and probably would have been given a scholarship to UF.
Moore, after all, is considered the No. 1 junior-college prospect in the country. He’s a 6-foot-4, 220-pound wide receiver who runs a 40-yard dash in 4.4 seconds. “A freak,” according to Jamie Newberg, a national recruiting analyst for Scout.com.
It’s no wonder Meyer recruited Moore to be a UF football player. But the question everyone wants to know is: What business did Meyer have recruiting Moore’s girlfriend to be a UF gymnast?
Obviously, it wasn’t because he was impressed with her back handspring. In fact, I’d love to hear Meyer’s recruiting pitch to Smith. I’m betting it went something like this:
Meyer: “Can you do a cartwheel?”
Meyer: “Say no more — full ride!”
One of the things that make Meyer such a phenomenal recruiter is that he works every angle. If it meant getting a star recruit, he’d promise the kid’s father a spot on the UF golf team. If a stud recruit were really close to his grandmother, Meyer would offer granny a knitting scholarship (“What, no knitting team? We’ll start one if your grandson becomes a Gator.”)
Meyer’s zeal for recruiting is all well and good — as long as it’s being done within the rules. If it’s not then somebody needs to have the guts to give UF’s coaching prodigy a reprimand and a firm slap on the wrist.