Joe Burrow probably never would have gotten a scholarship to LSU, won a Heisman and a national title at LSU, been in line to become the No. 1 pick in next week's NFL draft, if he hadn't played high school basketball.
As the story goes, then-Ohio State offensive coordinator Tom Herman identified the under-recruited Burrow while observing an Athens (Ohio) practice.
Meyer was intrigued, but he wanted to see more, so he sent his assistants to see Burrow play basketball. It was there, Meyer reasoned, that they'd learn whether Burrow's No. 1 trait lived up to its billing -- a trait that Meyer happened to value more than any other in his recruits -- competitiveness.
As Meyer told Albert Breer for Sports Illustrated:
“I know what [other schools] missed, and you see a lot of it,” Meyer said. “A lot of these quarterbacks, I call it the spandex quarterback. They’re 8 years old and for the next 10 years all they do is 7-on-7 camps. And they become very good throwers, but a lot of times they miss some of the other parts which, to me, are much more important than being able to throw a football. And that’s leadership, competitiveness, toughness.
“Those are things you learn by playing basketball, by being a multi-sport athlete, by doing other things and competing. Competing is the No. 1 quality of every great athlete or coach.”
But reading the testimony of one of the game's living legends is all the endorsement one could ever need on the subject.