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Urban Meyer Praises Former Ohio State Buckeyes Dwayne Haskins Jr., Terry McLaurin And Chase Young

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Urban Meyer hasn't had much reason in his life to follow the Redskins, but that has changed over the past two years.

It makes sense that Meyer, whose career as a college football head coach spanned nearly two decades, wouldn't pay much attention to the team. Prior to his retirement after the 2018 season, he was more focused on winning national championships and crafting juggernaut college programs.

But with three of his best former Ohio State players now with the Redskins, he has every reason to be interested in what is happening in Washington.

"This is the first time I've ever spent this much time talking to the players," Meyer told Voice of the Redskins Larry Michael on "Redskins 2020 Schedule Release Live presented by Pepsi" on Thursday night. "I'm really intrigued by it."

The Redskins dipped into Meyer's pool of players at Ohio State twice last year by taking Dwayne Haskins Jr. with the No. 15 overall pick in the first round and then Terry McLaurin at 76th overall in the third round. Then they took Ohio State defensive end Chase Young with the No. 2 overall pick in April, and all three players are at the center of the new culture the team is trying to create.

Haskins was only Meyer's starting quarterback for one season, but it was quickly apparent he was ready to join the professional ranks. He had the best single season for a quarterback in program history with 4,831 yards passing and 50 touchdowns -- both school records -- while leading the Buckeyes to a 13-1 record and a victory over Washington in the Rose Bowl.

Haskins was just a redshirt sophomore when he chose to enter the 2019 NFL Draft, and Meyer said he will never forget the day then quarterbacks coach Ryan Day and now Assistant Athletic Director of Player Personnel Mark Pantoni told him the quarterback's time at Ohio State would be short-lived.

"[They] said we needed to start looking at quarterbacks and transfers because of Dwayne," Meyer recalled. "I said, 'Well, where's Dwayne going?' and they said the NFL. I said 'you've got to be kidding me. He's only been a starter for five games.'"

Meyer saw Haskins improve his toughness and leadership skills throughout that one season at Ohio State. He has only started in a combined 20 games with the Buckeyes and Redskins, but Meyer believes Haskins will keep getting better in 2020.

"The only thing he lacked was maturity and experience, and that's coming," he said.

While Haskins had to wait until Week 10 to be named the starting quarterback, McLaurin made an immediate impact on the Redskins' offense and quickly became one of the better young receivers in the league. He had one of the best rookie seasons for his position in franchise history with 919 receiving yards, finishing short of only Gary Clark, and his seven touchdowns were second only to Charlie Taylor.

That success, Meyer says, stems from McLaurin's family.

"He has an incredible mom and dad. Faith is No. 1 in his life," he told Brian Mitchell. "Just think about in your lifetime when you run into someone [who has] faith No. 1 in their life and they come from incredible parents. What is the chance that kid is going to be great? I think it's...near 100%."

That, combined with his lightning speed and a catch percentage of 62.4%, makes for what Meyer called a "made player."

"He's developed a skillset that's incredible," he said. "He's always had the speed, but he's just so strong, he's worked on his ball skills, and he's just a tremendous ball player."

But out of the litany of NFL-caliber players Meyer has coached, there are few, if any come close to Young's natural ability.

When asked what kind of player the Redskins are getting with Young, Meyer said, "You're getting arguably the most talented guy to go to the NFL in quite a while. I'm not saying he's the best player yet, because he has to earn that...but just as far as God-given height, size, strength, speed...you got it all."

Young, who had 30.5 sacks over three seasons, is now the third edge rusher Meyer has coached to be taken within the first five picks of the NFL Draft. The other two -- Nick and Joey Bosa -- were selected second and third overall, respectively, but Meyer and McLaurin believe Young could be better than both of them.

"In college, I felt like Chase was the most productive of the three," McLaurin said during Super Bowl week. "That doesn't take anything away from [Joey and Nick]. That just tells you how good he can be."

Fortunately, the one thing Meyer said Young can't do well doesn't affect his performance on the field.

"He's a terrible dancer. He's awful," Meyer said. "I don't usually say this, but he's terrible. He's not good at that."

The Redskins are trying to create a sustainable winning culture, and Young now joins Haskins and McLaurin as a core of players who plan to make that a reality. Count Meyer among the people who will be rooting for them.

"You look at the way the Redskins are handling their business...I just really admire [vice president of player personnel] Kyle Smith and [head coach] Ron Rivera. I'm hoping they have a great year."

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