Matthew Baldwin started just one season at Lake Travis High School, but what a season it was. He threw for 3,842 yards with 44 touchdowns and 6 interceptions in leading his team to the state title game in 2017.
Unfortunately, in the semifinals against Katy, he injured his knee late in the game. He was checked out by medical staff, rehabbed during the week, and things seemed to be going okay, so he started in the state championship game against Allen High School. On his first dropback, however, his knee buckled and he collapsed to the turf. His season was done.
It’s not the way that any player wants to arrive at Ohio State. It’s a new environment with new requirements, and much higher expectations.
Fortunately for Baldwin, he has some time — and he still has his arm.
“Right now I’m able to throw,” he said. “Not a lot of running right now because you don’t want to rush it. There’s no real need to rush anything right now, which is good that I’m not coming in right before the season in June because then you kind of have to get things going faster. But now we have time to develop and get better.”
As to the specifics of his injury and the surgery that was performed, Baldwin doesn’t want to get into specifics, but it wasn’t anything out of the ordinary.
“It was kind of just a general thing that happened to the knee. So nothing real specific,” he said. “I’m not going to go into specifics, but like I said, they do a great job of getting the guys ready to go. Like J.T. [Barrett] hurt his meniscus; I think he came back in a week. So I’m not worried about it at all. They’re going to work with me and I’m working hard to get it back healed.”
Baldwin called the surgery a “general type of deal” and right now he is rehabbing with the same staff that not only got Barrett back on the field in a week, but also helped receiver Johnnie Dixon and cornerback Marshon Lattimore get healthy after years of trouble.
In others words, Baldwin is in very good hands right now. But that doesn’t mean he’s just taking it easy.
“Just constant rehab. That’s what it’s about right now,” he said. “Coach Day’s made it really clear that when you come to Ohio State, you’re going to have to work hard anyway, even if you’re not hurt. But now that I’m hurt, you have to work even harder to get back.”
The main reason for players to enroll early is to get acclimated to college football and also to participate in spring football. That was no different for Matthew Baldwin, though now his participation in spring football is in question.
“I don’t know an exact timeframe,” he said of when he’d be 100 percent. “I anticipate being able to play and throw in spring ball, so that’s good. I don’t know for sure, but we’ll see how the rehab and stuff goes.”
When Ohio State has had quarterbacks recovering from leg injuries in the past, they still throw the ball in the spring during drills if they are healthy enough. Even if Baldwin can’t run around this spring, he still expects to take part in as much as he can.
“I’ll be on the field,” he said. “I don’t know about full-go live stuff. But I’ll throw.