Yep, the Terry McLaurin-Urban Meyer recruiting story is real.
Shortly after the Commanders’ star wideout signed his contract extension to stay in Washington, a story told by disgraced ex-Buckeyes receivers coach Zach Smith about McLaurin's first workout at Ohio State went viral.
McLaurin, who at the time already had other offers, was recruited to attend a camp at Ohio State by then-defensive backs coach Kerry Coombs. McLaurin impressed and was the fastest player at the camp, but when he got to Meyer’s office, thinking an offer was awaiting him, he instead was told his hands weren’t good enough.
“He really said your hands aren’t good enough right now to feel comfortable enough to extend you an offer,” McLaurin said on the “Pardon My Take” podcast. “But (Meyer said), ‘This is what I’ll tell you: You go home, catch 200 footballs a day, come back in two weeks, you’ll work out in front of me as soon as you get here and we can go from there, there’s a chance you could have an offer.’
“At first, I’m not going to lie, I was disappointed because I felt like all the boxes I needed to check at that moment based on what Coach Coombs was telling me, the feelings I was getting from the coaching staff, I thought I was getting an offer. So at that moment, I had a choice of either I’m going to go and accept one of these other offers that I had at the time, or I’m going to take this and let it fuel me and just get challenged in a new way.”
Fuel him, it did. He utilized the services of anyone willing to throw him passes, from his high school quarterback to his mom and dad, and he really did catch 200 balls a day.
He wasn’t just checking a box to placate Meyer, and unsurprisingly he grew as a receiver from reeling in thousands of passes in a short amount of time.
“When you’re in high school football, there are challenges but a lot of the time those guys playing at D1 schools are the better kids on their team, the better kids in their area. So I felt being challenged that way helped me honestly take my game to another level. So when I came back, it took probably five routes and Coach Meyer was like ‘Yo, you’re done. You’ve got an offer.'
“Not only was that a challenge, and it was disappointing at the time, but also I had a decision to make as a young man. I’m 17, 18-years-old at the time, am I going to quit and go take another offer, which I felt like I had other good offers, or was I going to take this challenge and come back better? And not only that, I came back better and blew him away and I got the offer. Honestly, it was setting the foundation for what my career, what my character, what my legacy was going to be there.”
McLaurin went on to have a successful run as a Buckeye before getting selected in the third round of the 2019 draft by Washington, where he since has become a top-10 receiver in the NFL.