Ohio State Football Recruiting: Urban Meyer's 5 Best Victories over Nick Saban

Cory McCuneContributor IIIJune 9, 2013

Ohio State Football Recruiting: Urban Meyer's 5 Best Victories over Nick Saban

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    Urban Meyer was named the head coach of Sports Illustrated's All-Decade Team for the 2000s. He earned that honor by winning at all three stops he made during that decade. 

    First he won at Bowling Green, then he busted the BCS with Utah and followed that up with two national championships at Florida in his first four seasons there.

    Nick Saban was successful during the 2000s himself. He won a national championship at LSU and then closed out the decade winning a second title with Alabama. 

    Meyer and Saban coached together in the SEC for four seasons. They met on the field three times, two of those in the 2008 and 2009 SEC championship games 

    Meyer got the best of Saban in 2008 and went on to win his second BCS title. Saban flipped the script in 2009. 

    After that loss, Meyer's Gators weren't the same. He took a leave of absence, came back for a disappointing 2010 season and then retired.

    But Meyer is back at it with Ohio State. But during his year away and his bowl absence last season due to Ohio State's sanctions, Saban has built Alabama into the best program in America.

    Meyer knows Alabama is the gold standard right now and is trying to build his program to the level that Saban has the Crimson Tide's.

    If Ohio State is going to reach that level of success, it's going to have to start with recruiting. 

    Despite being in close proximity, Meyer and Saban didn't battle over many offensive players because of their contrasting style. However, Meyer has scored several victories over Saban on the recruiting trail.

    Meyer's best victories are judged regarding the players recruiting ranking, not their collegiate or professional careers.

     

    Recruiting information is courtesy of Scout.com, Rivals.com and 247Sports unless noted otherwise.

Jaylen Watkins

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    Jaylen Watkins is one of many elite recruits Urban Meyer brought into Florida's secondary.

    Watkins was a top-50 player in the nation when he chose to play his college football in Gainesville.

    Going into his senior season in the Gators' secondary, Watkins has been tabbed as an All-SEC performer by Phil Steele. The Gators will need him and the rest of the defensive backs to step up with the loss of All-American Matt Elam.

    That is something the former high school All-American should be able to do. There's a reason Meyer had to battle Nick Saban to get him to Florida.

William Green

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    William Green is one of the few recruits Urban Meyer got out of the state of Alabama during his stint at Florida.

    The 4-star linebacker/defensive end had offers from both Alabama and Auburn, yet he chose to leave the state of Alabama and join the Gators' 2008 recruiting class.

    Dee Finley was another 4-star member of the 2008 class who turned down his home-state's school to play at Florida.

    In 2010, Solomon Patton, a 4-star receiver, was the third—and final—Alabama native to spurn the Crimson Tide in favor of the Meyer's Gators.

Chris Dunkley

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    Chris Dunkley redshirted and didn't see game action during the 2010 season, Urban Meyer's final season at Florida.

    So the high school star never got to play a down for the coach that recruited him out of Pahokee High School.

    Dunkley has since transferred to South Florida where he only saw action in four games last season.

    But make no mistake about it, keeping this 5-star receiver in Florida and away from Nick Saban was a big get when it happened.

Joey Bosa

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    During the SEC's recent dominance of college football, it has been their talent in the trenches that has separated their teams from the rest of the country.

    Joey Bosa is that type of player.

    Urban Meyer has been great recruiting just about every position at Ohio State, but his defensive lines recruits have been elite.

    Guys like Noah Spence, Adolphus Washington and Tommy Schutt in 2012 and now Bosa, Michael Hill and others in 2013 should give the Buckeyes an elite defensive line in the near future.

    I expect a guy like Bosa, who had an Alabama offer and attended one of their camps, to be a big part of that defensive line.

Vonn Bell

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    If there was one big surprise in Ohio State's great 2013 class, it was Vonn Bell.

    Even some of the biggest Ohio State supporters expected Bell to stay in the south right up until he committed to Urban Meyer.

    After committing Bell went on to say he thought Meyer was "bringing the SEC [to Columbus.]" 

    He also said a major reason he came to Ohio State was to beat Alabama and win national championships.

    It's pretty clear, Bell understands what Nick Saban has built at Alabama. Instead of being a part of that, he wants to be a part of the team that challenges the Crimson Tide.

Urban Meyer vs. Nick Saban in 2014

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    Raekwon McMillanAndrew Brown, John Smith, Marshon Lattimore, Elisha Shaw and Tony Brown are a few of the big-time recruits that have offers and high interest in both Ohio State and Alabama.

    McMillan looks to be favoring Ohio State at the moment, but Alabama always has a chance with elite linebackers.

    Brown figures to stay in the state of Virginia, but if he leaves Alabama and Ohio State could be the landing spot for him.

    Lattimore is from Cleveland Glenville and for those not aware that is Ohio State's main high school pipeline. Getting Lattimore out of Ohio would be hard for anyone, even Alabama.

    Alabama and Ohio State both trail for the likes of Smith, Shaw and Brown. However, with arguably the best two recruiters in the country in Urban Meyer and Nick Saban never count them out,