Tim Tebow may still be looking for a job as a quarterback in the NFL, but the latest media frenzy surrounding the free agent might make him realize he could make a career out of recruiting prospects for top-tier college programs.
Tebow was thrust back into the spotlight recently when it was revealed that Ohio State University self-reported a number of recruiting violations, including a 2013 phone call between the signal-caller and Clifton Garrett—a 5-star linebacker who was then still undecided on where he would take his talents after high school.
According to Doug Lesmerises of the Cleveland Plain Dealer, Sports Illustrated had dug into the Buckeyes’ secondary NCAA violations over the past year and unearthed the eight-second conversation between the former Heisman Trophy winner and Garrett.
It happened when the recruit called OSU head coach Urban Meyer, who coached Tebow at Florida from 2006 through 2009, on March 9, 2013. Meyer informed the young man that he was having lunch with Tebow, who then asked if he could speak to the two-time national championship-winning quarterback.
The coach handed the phone off to Tebow and the pair spoke for approximately eight seconds, with no recruiting conversation or intent involved. The entire report of the incident can be found here, courtesy of Cleveland.com.
Garrett was understandably thrilled upon concluding the call, taking to Twitter to share his excitement:
@leGrandeMama Lol you have nooo idea how im feeling right now!! lol— Clifton Garrett CG3™ (@CG340) March 9, 2013
As you can see by his initial tweet and follow-up messages, it was a big deal for the Illinois native to have a chance to speak with Tebow, even if it was for only a few seconds.
While Garrett, the No. 2 outside linebacker in the Class of 2014 (as per 247 Sports), eventually chose to sign with LSU and play for head coach Les Miles, the response that Tebow elicited was undoubtedly impressive and impactful.
While the 26-year-old Tebow hasn’t seen meaningful NFL action since taking one snap as a member of the New York Jets against the Buffalo Bills on Dec. 30, 2012, he is still a wildly popular player.
ESPN’s Darren Rovell reported that he was the most-searched athlete on Bing in the United States in 2013 and he recently joined ESPN as an analyst to bolster the viewership of the soon-to-be-launched SEC Network.
With one eight-second call, he proved he possesses the ability to make a lasting connection with a recruit. Many of these coveted 5-star prospects grew up watching Tebow star at Florida and lead the Denver Broncos to an improbable playoff win back in January 2012, the highlight of his NFL career.
However, it seems that Tebow isn’t willing to make a full-blown transition into a post-playing career just yet. If he has his way, his presence on “SEC Nation” will only last a few months.
Tebow has not given up on his dream of playing in the league, telling the Associated Press (via ESPN): “I feel like I'm the best that I've ever been as a quarterback right now. I hope I get the opportunity to show that.”
If he doesn’t get that chance, perhaps he should consider joining forces with Meyer for a second time and becoming his secret recruiting weapon. Judging from his impact on Garrett, Tebow’s presence on the recruiting trail could push Ohio State to new heights.