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LeBron James was recruited by football coach Urban Meyer

August 02, 2012|By Melissa Rohlin
  • Ohio State football coach Urban Meyer thinks LeBron James, above, could have been a star football player.
Ohio State football coach Urban Meyer thinks LeBron James, above, could… (Christian Petersen / Getty…)

When LeBron James was in high school, his basketball skills weren't the only thing that impressed college coaches.

James was also a successful football player at St. Vincent-St. Mary High, catching 42 passes for 820 yards and seven touchdowns in his sophomore year, and 61 passes for 1,245 yards and 16 touchdowns as a junior.

Urban Meyer, then the wide receivers coach at Notre Dame, offered a scholarship to the All-Ohio wideout as a sophomore.

Meyer, who is now the new coach at Ohio State, recalled James' reaction to his offer.

"Thank you very much, I'll consider it," Meyer recently told reporters.

Then Meyer remembers hearing James' high school coach begin to laugh.

"I didn't know what he was laughing at," Meyers said, "so we went down and sat in a room and he said, 'Do you know who that is?' and I said, 'No' and he said, 'LeBron James' and I said, 'Who's LeBron James?' and he said, 'He'll be the next Michael Jordan' and I go, 'Come on.'"

James, of course, ended up declining Meyer's offer and went straight from high school to the NBA, where he was drafted as the No. 1 overall pick by the Cleveland Cavaliers in 2003.

James went on to become an eight-time All-Star, a three-time NBA MVP and a champion with the Miami Heat in June.

Meyer thinks that if James had chosen football instead of basketball, he would have realized a similar level of success.

"A first-round draft pick, a Hall of Famer," Meyer said. "Obviously he's a winner."

Meyer has remained in touch with James and took his family to Miami to watch a game last winter.

"I took my son down to meet him and he treated him great," Meyer said. "Very articulate guy too. Just very respectful. You know, I love him, when my son met him, I was proud to have my son meet him."

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