Urban Meyer Explains How Utah Football Became NFL Pipeline

Mar 23, 2024, 7:07 PM


Former Utah football coach Urban Meyer, right, talks with Utah football coach Kyle Whittingham during a Utah practice at Rice-Eccles Stadium in Salt Lake City, Utah, Thursday, March 17, 2011. (Courtesy of Deseret News)

(Courtesy of Deseret News)

SALT LAKE CITY – Former Utah head football coach Urban Meyer explained how the Utes football program became a strong pipeline to the NFL in the past two decades.

Urban Meyer says Utah’s “development” key to putting players into NFL

The former college football and NFL head coach spoke at the 2024 Utah Football Coaches Clinic on Saturday, March 23. Meyer was the keynote speaker at the event held at Rice-Eccles Stadium.

During his time at the stadium, Meyer spoke to a group of coaches and media members. The former coach discussed his coaching career, gave advice on the profession, and told stories from his time at the University of Utah.

Following his keynote address, Meyer spoke with members of the media. Meyer discussed Utah’s strong ability to put players into the NFL over the past 20-plus years.

“Development,” Meyer told KSL Sports as the main reason so many Utes have gone into the league.

The former NFL head coach said that Utah is one of the top programs in taking a player and turning them into a draft pick. “Coach Whitt has an uncanny ability with his staff to make good [become] great,” Meyer told KSL Sports.


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In the 2005 NFL Draft, Meyer saw five of his former players get selected, including quarterback Alex Smith, who was the No. 1 overall pick by the San Francisco 49ers.

Following Meyer’s departure from Utah after the 2004 season, Kyle Whittingham took over as the Utes’ head coach. During the Whittingham era, 51 former Utah standouts have been drafted into the league, including four selections in the first round. In 2023, three former Utes were picked in the NFL Draft.

RELATED: Stevenson Sylvester Loves Versatility Of NFL Draft Prospect Jonah Elliss

More Utah products will look to hear their name in the 2024 NFL Draft, which will be held from April 25-27 in Detroit, Michigan.

Urban Meyer’s coaching career

Meyer served as Utah’s head coach from 2003-04 and led the Utes to a 22-2 record in two seasons.

In his final year with the Utes, Meyer led Utah to a Fiesta Bowl victory.

After his time in Salt Lake City, Meyer led Florida to a pair of titles before taking a job with the Buckeyes. Meyer won a title with Ohio State in 2014.

During his time as head coach at Bowling Green, Utah, Florida, and Ohio State, Meyer had a record of 187-32.

Meyer last coached in college in January 2019 at Ohio State. After leaving the Buckeyes, Meyer worked as a college football analyst for FOX Sports.

In 2021, Meyer was hired as head coach of the NFL’s Jacksonville Jaguars. He spent 13 games with the franchise before returning to FOX Sports’ Big Noon Kickoff show.

Kyle Ireland is a Sports Producer and Locals in the NFL Insider for KSLSports.com. Listen to Ireland on Yards After College: An NFL Podcast. Follow him on X (@kyleireland), Threads (@kyleirelandksl), and Instagram (@kyleirelandksl).

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Urban Meyer Explains How Utah Football Became NFL Pipeline