The Dallas Morning News interviewed current Texas head coach Tom Herman and assistant Stan Drayton about recruiting Ezekiel Elliott when they were Ohio State assistants.
Herman and Drayton said the Buckeyes nearly let Elliott walk when Missouri was pushing him hard before Signing Day.
“We were debating on just whether to take him,” Herman recalled to The News. “It came down to the 11th hour with Missouri. We were like, ‘Maybe we should just let him go’ because we had another running back in that class.
“Stan said, ‘No, we’re going to fight for this one.’ We got him. Credit Stan Drayton for that one.”
They also said there was “a moment when Urban could have walked away” doubting the caliber of Missouri high school competition.
Meyer: “Well, how good is he, really? Man, Stan. We’re fighting Mizzou. Ohio State doesn’t recruit against Mizzou. I’m sitting here looking at this kid. He’s a man amongst boys. Is he Ohio State caliber.
The two raconteurs may have injected a bit of drama and adversity here. Elliott was a Top 100 overall recruit who had a committable offer quite early on in his recruiting. Ohio State blogs expected Elliott to make an “instant impact” as a freshman.
Per this account from 2015, Meyer went after Elliott hard as a primary recruiter and convinced his parents he thought Elliott could be in the Heisman discussion.
There may have been a strong late push from Missouri. Elliot is from there. Both his parents were Missouri athletes. But, Ohio State being hesitant and unsure about what they were getting or being willing to give up on him seems a bit of a stretch.
[HT Eleven Warriors]