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Urban Meyer: selecting Trevor Lawrence is "the direction we're going"

Jaguars first-year head coach goes in-depth with NBC Sports' Peter King

If anyone was questioning the Jaguars' intentions with the first-overall selection in this April's NFL Draft, there's no need for debate. If head coach Urban Meyer has any say, the Jaguars will be selecting Clemson quarterback Trevor Lawrence. 

NBC Sports' Peter King asked Meyer point-blank about selecting Lawrence in this week's Football Morning in America column and podcast.

“I’d have to say that’s the direction we’re going. I’ll leave that up to the owner when we make that decision official," Meyer told King. "But I’m certainly not stepping out of line that that’s certainly the direction we’re headed.

“Trevor checks all the boxes, you know?” Meyer continued. “The number one common quality of every great player, not just quarterback, is competitive maniac. He’s 34-2. Won a national title as a true freshman. Is a winner. I’ve seen him up close and in person compete. And then character. I see him and I witness with my players, when the guys get drafted high, a lot of people get . . . They have influences in their live. Like, whether it be social media, whether it be other things that really don’t pertain to winning. What I’m really pleased with and I don’t want to say surprised, but him, his agent, his family, they’re focused on one thing. He wants to become the best version of himself for the National Football League, which is, well, it is somewhat refreshing.”  

King was also very direct in probing Meyer about his decision to stand directly behind Lawrence at his Pro Day, a move not often -- if ever -- seen by an NFL head coach.

“I was as close as I could be,” Meyer told King. “I’m that way at practice, though. I like to be near a quarterback. I like to hear him talk. I like to hear a ball come out of his hand. I like to hear—”

“Do you really hear [a difference]?” King interjected. “You can really tell something by hearing the ball come out of a quarterback’s hand?”

“Oh, absolutely,” Meyer responded. “Absolutely. The violence, the snap that the ball comes out with, the grunt or the effort. Some guys throw a ball effortless and some people have to really rear back and throw it. Absolutely. Someday, Peter, I’ll have you stand there and let you listen. I’ll have an average guy throw one and then I’ll have him throw it. You tell me if you can hear the difference.”

Lawrence announced Sunday that he will not attend the NFL Draft in Cleveland, opting to instead watch the Draft with a close number of family and friends at his alma mater, Clemson University.

King and Meyer's conversation stretched beyond Lawrence and into the first-year head coach's transition from college to the pro's. He reiterated to King that he is committed to coaching in the National Football League; there will be no "jumping ship" like Nick Saban did from the Miami Dolphins more than a decade ago, prior to taking the head coaching vacancy at the University of Alabama. 

"Zero chance at that happening,” Meyer said. “What Coach Saban went through, I don’t know. That’s Coach Saban’s business. I’m not quite sure. At some point, I might talk to him about it . . . he’s a friend of mine and I got great respect for him. It is different. It’s completely different. My mind is set. There’s gonna be some losses . . . That’s gonna be miserable. I hate losing. We all do. But the reality is that you’re gonna lose. Hopefully you win more than you lose. But that’s something that’s gonna be new to me. I have to get my mind right and I’m working on that.”

King also probed Meyer on the hire and then resignation of controversial strength and conditioning coach Chris Doyle. Doyle parted ways with the University of Iowa in August 2020 after allegations of racial insensitivity. He resurfaced on Meyer's initial staff in February, only to resign a little over 24 hours later. 

Meyer also dismissed any health concerns. He retired from the head coaching post at the University of Florida in 2010, citing health concerns. He also revealed to King that his departure from Ohio State in 2018 was not due to more, outstanding health concerns, but, rather, a passing of the torch to his heir apparent, Ryan Day.

Peter King's entire, Football Morning in America column can be viewed here. 

King's full conversation with Urban Meyer will drop in podcast form later this afternoon.