Urban Meyer dines with Tim Tebow during Naples visit

Denver Broncos quarterback Tim Tebow receives congratulations from his college coach at Florida, Urban Meyer, after the Broncos' NFL football game against the Miami Dolphins on Sunday, Oct. 23, 2011, in Miami. The Broncos won 18-15 in overtime. (AP Photo/Miami Herald, Joe Rimkus Jr.) MAGS OUT

Denver Broncos quarterback Tim Tebow receives congratulations from his college coach at Florida, Urban Meyer, after the Broncos' NFL football game against the Miami Dolphins on Sunday, Oct. 23, 2011, in Miami. The Broncos won 18-15 in overtime. (AP Photo/Miami Herald, Joe Rimkus Jr.) MAGS OUT

Urban Meyer and Tim Tebow reunited on Saturday afternoon in Naples — for lunch.

The former two-time BCS champion Florida coach caught up with his former star quarterback on those Gators teams.

Though its been three seasons since the two were teamed together, Meyer said he still has a special place in his heart for Tebow, now a backup with the New York Jets.

“He’s part of the family,” Meyer said. “I love Tim, and always will. We’ll talk every week, but we should try to get together more often.”

Meyer, who is now The Ohio State football coach, spent the evening signing autographs and addressing nearly 200 alumni on Saturday night at the Buckeyes in Paradise Gala at the Hilton Naples. Tebow spoke a few miles away as part of the Naples Town Hall series at the Ritz-Carlton Golf Resort at Tiburon in North Naples (See pg. 3A to read about Tebow’s appearance).

In 2010, Meyer resigned as the Gators coach after six seasons, citing health and family issues as the main cause. After serving as an college football analyst for ESPN in 2011, Meyer, who has a career 116—23 record, was back on the sidelines — this time in Columbus.

Though, initially, there were some hard feelings on the part of Gators fans toward Meyer’s departure, the 48-year-old coach said he is still well received in the Sunshine State.

“Even Florida fans have been great to me,” said Meyer, whose Buckeyes team went 12-0 last season but was ineligible to play in a bowl game. “We’ll always be Gators. We gave six years of our life to a great university and had a great career. We’ll always have a great relationship with the Florida Gators.”

It’s that relationship that Meyer uses effectively to recruit prep players from Florida. Ohio State signed a number of blue chip recruits out of Florida and its recruiting class was ranked among the top three by many of the sport’s publications.

“We did good in the Southeast,” Meyer said. “I’m sure a lot of it had to do with our connections and how we treated people in the past.”

The Buckeyes have two homegrown products on their roster: running back Carlos Hyde (Naples High) and tight end Jeff Heuerman (Barron Collier). After two quiet seasons, Hyde emerged as a junior, rushing for 970 yards and 16 touchdowns last year. Meanwhile, the 6-foot-5 Heuerman caught eight passes and a touchdown in 2012 as a sophomore.

Meyer said both figure into the Buckeyes plans in 2013.

“Carlos is the best big back I’ve ever had,” Meyer said. “Last year, I thought he was really outstanding. He developed into one of the best backs I’ve been around. He just has to be consistent and he can finish his career as a really successful football player

“Heuerman had an excellent year and offseason. I expect a great year from him.”

© 2013 marconews.com. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

  • Discuss
  • Print

Comments » 1

nofriendofoursbud writes:

Urban, You're kidding yourself if you think UF fans still like you! SOS will always be welcomed back home in Gainesville, but NOT you sir! All you had to do was go about things in the proper way if you wanted to leave UF. But that is not what you did. I would love to UF play OSU in the BCS Championship game and have Muschamp mash your boys in the ground! Now get out of my state.

Share your thoughts

Comments are the sole responsibility of the person posting them. You agree not to post comments that are off topic, defamatory, obscene, abusive, threatening or an invasion of privacy. Violators may be banned. Click here for our full user agreement.

Comments can be shared on Facebook and Yahoo!. Add both options by connecting your profiles.

Features