Urban Meyer has made it clear that his top priority for the next week or so will be building the best staff possible as he takes over the reins for the Jacksonville Jaguars. On Friday, it appears he got off to a fast start.
Meyer has reportedly already made three additions to his Jaguars staff, according to multiple reports. Among those additions is a former captain from his Florida Gator teams, as a former defensive coordinator.
ESPN's Jeremy Fowler reported that Ohio State Assistant Athletic Director Ryan Stamper would be leaving his player development role with the Buckeyes to join Meyer in Jacksonville. According to Fowler, Stamper's role in Jacksonville will be as "director of player assessment".
It is a homecoming for Stamper, who appeared in 41 games for the Gators from 2005-2009 and is a Jacksonville native. Stamper attended school at First Coast High School in Jacksonville.
"He was promoted to the position of assistant athletic director for player development in July 2018. This role requires Stamper to be an administrative resource for players in all areas of their development," Stamper's Ohio State website profile reads.
"Chief among Stamper’s responsibilities is running the football program’s highly successful and proactive “Real Life Wednesday” initiative that puts business and athletic leaders in front of Ohio State athletes for real world education on life after football. The program includes resume writing and concludes each spring with a job fair that typically draws 50 to 75 businesses on campus."
Stamper appears to be the lone Ohio State staff member that Meyer referenced during his introductory press conference on Friday. Meyer said he would not go after Buckeyes staff members to add to his own staff, but he did allude to one departure.
"I talked to [Ohio State Athletic Director] Gene [Smith] and I talked to [Ohio State Head Coach] Coach [Ryan] Day, and you know my affection for both those guys and the great university that we represented, and I won’t do that," Meyer said.
"Does that mean there might be one? Maybe. I’m not there yet, but I told Gene, ‘[Ohio State Director of Sports Performance] Coach [Mickey] Marotti, [Ohio State Director of Player Personnel] Pantoni, the whole crew’s leaving’ and they’re like, ‘What?’ That’s the best infrastructure in college sports, so no they will not be leaving. I’m not touching [that]. There might be one that I said that will leave, but I’m not going to do that to that organization. I’m not sure they would go. Ohio State is home to those guys now.”
Along with Stamper, there have been multiple reports of Meyer getting another support-staff member in the form of Texans Longhorns' Chief of Staff Fernando Lovo, according first to Anthony Wiggins of Locked on Jaguars and then Fox Sports reporter Bruce Feldman.
Finally, Meyer is reportedly getting an on-field assistant in the form of Charlie Strong, according to Brett McMurphy of Stadium. McMurphy says Strong will join the staff likely as a linebackers coach.
Strong, the former head coach of Louisville, Texas, and USF, served under Meyer at Florida as his linebackers coach, co-defensive coordinator, and assistant head coach from 2005-2007 and as defensive coordinator from 2008-2009.
Strong has no NFL experience, but he has spent decades in the college ranks and is widely regarded as an excellent positional coach despite his stops at Texas and USF ending with losing records. Strong served as a defensive analyst on Nick Saban's staff with Alabama in 2020.
"First of all, I’ve got to get a great staff, not a good staff, a great staff. And when people are recommended, I’ve had a multitude of people calling and my comment is to save the recommendation unless you feel that person is elite in all areas," Meyer said about the importance of building his staff.
"Because that’s what Jacksonville deserves and that’s what we’re going to have on our staff."