Take a look at the college quarterback resumes of some of today’s coaches: Steve Spurrier won the Heisman at Florida. Jim Harbaugh was a Heisman finalist at Michigan before going on to a long NFL career. Turner Gill went 28-2 as a starter at Nebraska. Steve Sarkisian led the nation in passing his final year at BYU. Even on lower levels, Jim Tressel (Division III) and Bobby Petrino (NAIA) earned all-conference honors.
As for defensive backs-turned-coaches, Bob Stoops was All-Big Ten but Meyer was a walk-on who only played for a year.
“No matter where you are, you have to be an expert on that side of the ball,” James said. “The key thing is the individual has to have a desire to learn the scheme, and Nick just became an expert. Some guys can do that and some guys have that interest.”