Back before he nearly broke the Redskins' rookie record for receiving yards, back before he was a third-round pick in the NFL Draft and back before he caught a combined 17 touchdowns in consecutive seasons for Ohio State, Terry McLaurin simply wasn't good enough.
That may be hard to believe based on where McLaurin is today, but it really was Urban Meyer's view of the wideout at the start of his college career. So, the former Buckeyes coach informed McLaurin of that opinion at the beginning of Ohio State's camp.
"'You need to go home and work on this, this and this and we’ll check you out in a couple of weeks,'" Meyer told McLaurin, a conversation he recalled during his recent one-on-one with JP Finlay and the Redskins Talk podcast.
Per Meyer, McLaurin responded, working "five, six hours a day" to improve in the areas he needed to. Many wouldn't have handled that conversation so well — it's not exactly the best start to one's experience at school — but McLaurin sure did.
And that's one of the reasons why Meyer bestowed the following label on the now-Redskin.
"He’s one of my favorites of all time," he said.
McLaurin showed that level of maturity that Meyer spoke to right away with the Burgundy and Gold in 2019, along with an abundance of intelligence and, oh yeah, plenty of talent.
Those three qualities helped him rack up 58 catches for 919 yards and seven touchdowns, numbers that would look even better had he not missed two games because of injury.
The pass catcher now represents one of the Redskins' true centerpieces, just one year after entering the league as nothing more than a promising Day 2 selection.
Meyer is proud but not surprised, meanwhile, and already thinks the team would be wise to make the "selfless leader" a captain.
He doesn't think the efforts to feature No. 17 should stop there, however.
"He’s got everything you need to build a team around," Meyer said.
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