MOBILE, Ala. – Tuf Borland knows what it's like to play for Urban Meyer.
He knows what it is to be recruited by Meyer and knows what it is to win – and lead – under Meyer. So, while he can't predict the future, Borland can speak with expertise and confidence about the Jaguars' new head coach.
And Borland's confident that Meyer can succeed in his new stop.
"Coach Meyer's an unbelievable coach," Borland said of Meyer, officially hired as the Jaguars' head coach 13 days ago. "He's been around a long time. He's studied the game in his time away. I think he's going to do an awesome job."
Borland, speaking this week between practices at the 2021 Reese's Senior Bowl, played linebacker for two seasons – 2017 and 2018 – for Meyer at Ohio State. Meyer left Ohio State after seven seasons following the 2018 season.
Leonard as a sophomore served as a defensive captain for Meyer's last OSU team.
"Obviously, he's in Jacksonville now, but wherever he ends up – and however long his career may go – he's going to do an amazing job," Borland said.
Meyer was one of the most successful college football coaches of all-time, winning two national championships at Florida and another at Ohio State. But his reputation was that losing took a heavy emotional toll. Borland was asked how Meyer might handle losses differently in the NFL, where a successful season might still include four-to-six losses.
"He's studied the game," Borland said. "He realizes that's a possibility. I'm sure he's going to find a way to manage that and make adjustments and have success."
Former players have talked of the trust Meyer establishes with players, and Meyer when discussing coaching has talked about the importance of the relationship between player and coach.
"You talk to every player who ever has played for Coach Meyer, and you're going to hear nothing but unbelievable things about him," Borland said. "From the beginning of his career to the end of his career, all of his players respect him. They love him. He's going to do an amazing job."
Early indications this week at the Senior Bowl are that the offensive tackle class in the 2021 NFL Draft is a strong one, with wide receiver also strong for a second consecutive season. Quarterback also is considered strong at the top of the draft, though that spot is not considered as deep as in some recent drafts. "The offensive tackle class is really strong," Optimum Scouting president Eric Galko said. "It's one of the better classes we've seen and it's going to have a lot of guys that could be capable starters go in Rounds 1 and 2. I think we'll see a lot of those. Especially in a year where medicals and injuries and all of that stuff may not be as obvious, you take the big guys when you can." Oregon left tackle Penei Sewell is widely considered the top offensive lineman in the '21 draft, with Ohio State guard Wyatt Davis, Northwestern left tackle Rashawn Slater and Southern California guard Alijah Vera-Tucker also among at least 10 offensive linemen widely considered first or early-second-round possibilities. Galko and many other analysts believe the interior of the defensive line is not as strong this year. "If you need interior on the D-Line, stay away," he said. "Interior of the O-Line, or at tackles, take those guys in this draft."
Albert Breer, who covers the draft extensively for MMQB, was asked about the Jaguars and the No. 1 overall selection in the 2021 NFL Draft: "I don't think there's any way it's anybody but [Clemson quarterback] Trevor Lawrence. I think they (the Jaguars) are going to go through the process and kick the tires on all these guys (other quarterbacks). Obviously, he has background on [Ohio State quarterback] Justin Fields. He didn't coach him at Ohio State. But he knows a lot of people who did. And [Brigham Young quarterback] Zach Wilson's a really interesting prosect. But in the end, scouts and coaches who have looked at him (Lawrence) on tape all say the same thing – which is that this is a generational-type quarterback prospect, and this is the type of prospect that does not come along very often. … The chance to get a sure thing, to have that sort of building block, it's a huge reason I think Urban decided to go to Jacksonville in the first place and ultimately why most people across the league saw it as the most attractive job opening."