The Ohio State football team began the process of replacing J.T. Barrett this spring with a full-fledged three-man quarterback battle. Who won? Who knows? What we do know, however, is that things didn’t go great for Dwayne Haskins, Joe Burrow, and Tate Martell early, but they each closed well. The competition came down to Haskins and Burrow, and we may not know who won until somebody transfers…or doesn’t.
7 Dwayne Haskins, rSo (6-3 218) OR
10 Joe Burrow, rJr (6-3 215)
18 Tate Martell, rFr (5-11 207)
12 Matthew Baldwin, Fr (6-2 200)
The most notable thing about the spring battle at quarterback for the Buckeyes is that nothing was decided. Joe Burrow and Dwayne Haskins split reps throughout and Tate Martell was right there with them. Even though the reps remained split, Haskins and Burrow emerged as the two top contenders. The coaches declined to name a starter once spring ball was over, though they still had not gone through all of the available data to make their decision. That decision has likely been made by now, but don’t expect any planned announcement.
“Really what we want is we want great leaders, but when we look at quarterbacks and we evaluate quarterbacks, we’re looking for guys who are competitors, guys who are tough, guys who are leaders, guys who have great football intelligence, and then also guys who are great decision makers. You can tell that we have different shapes and sizes, but it’s our job as coaches to come up with the right plays to emphasize what they can do best.” — Ryan Day on what the Buckeyes want in their quarterbacks.
The Buckeyes lose the most productive quarterback in Big Ten history, and expectations have only picked up with Joe Burrow and Dwayne Haskins. Both quarterbacks showed the deep arm that Ohio State needs for their offense. Of course, it was said that J.T. Barrett showed the same last spring as well. Regardless, the Buckeyes will have two — or possibly three — quarterbacks capable of leading Ohio State to a Big Ten title. That’s two or three more than most teams.
With Burrow or Haskins, the passing game is expected to be more impressive this season. Even though the Buckeyes had twice as many 50-yard pass completions than anybody else in the Big Ten, the deep ball was still an unreliable weapon in 2017. Provided the receivers are capable, the long passing game should be more reliable with either Haskins or Burrow in charge.
Freshman Matthew Baldwin was still recovering from an ACL tear this spring, so he wasn’t permitted to do much. He will redshirt this season, but he’s gotten to watch first hand what it takes to compete for the starting spot at Ohio State. He may not have gotten to throw the ball much this spring, but he still learned plenty.
While Tate Martell may not have left the spring as the starting quarterback, he did leave it with expectations that he is going to play this year. With his skill set, there is a spot for him in the Ohio State offense. Martell is the best runner of the ball, and quite possibly already the best ballhandler on the team. While people have said he is the most like J.T. Barrett in terms of running the ball, he’s actually a more explosive runner and would fall somewhere in between Barrett and Braxton Miller in terms of going the distance. And he might be closer to Miller than Barrett. The only question is what happens if Burrow or Haskins were to transfer — would Martell then be too value to play in packages?