With Joe Burrow announcing his transfer from the Ohio State football program on Tuesday, it might be time for Urban Meyer to look at adding a graduate transfer at the quarterback position.
The Buckeyes now have three scholarship quarterbacks on the roster, and that’s normally enough. However, true freshman Matthew Baldwin had ACL surgery back in December and is still recovering. He likely won’t be ready until some point during the season.
There is no way Meyer and offensive coordinators Ryan Day and Kevin Wilson will feel good about going into the 2018 season with just two healthy quarterbacks at the outset. Further muddying the situation is that the staff would like to play Tate Martell this season in his own grouping of packages, but if he is the only other healthy quarterback on the roster, he may have to be protected at all costs.
Finding a graduate transfer this late in the process isn’t impossible. Somebody is going to get a tremendous quarterback in Joe Burrow, for instance. But finding a graduate transfer who is okay with being the No. 3 quarterback on the roster will likely be much more difficult.
Because of the depth chart, the Buckeyes may have to set their sights lower in order to find a guy willing to watch rather than play. But they would still have to find somebody good enough to actually play. There’s not exactly an overwhelming convergence of those characteristics, but there are still some names to know.
More names will continue to emerge as players weigh their options in their current situations, but here’s a handful for you right now.
Jacob Park (Georgia, NE Oklahoma A&M, Iowa State)
If nothing else, Park has had a very interesting college football career. He left Iowa State last season to deal with some personal issues, including some that stemmed from marijuana usage. He started the first four games for the Cyclones last season, throwing for 1,181 yards and nine touchdowns. Against Iowa he completed 25-of-46 passes for 347 yards and four touchdowns in a loss. Park has not had an easy time in college, so there would definitely be concerns here. Given OSU’s off-field focus on its players, however, maybe the fit is actually a good one for Park.
Tucker Israel (Clemson)
Israel will graduate this month with two years of eligibility remaining. He has only thrown two passes in his career. In terms of desire to play, this might be a good fit for Israel who says he is now more focused on academics than football. Israel was a 3-star prospect out of high school and held offers from Louisville, Florida, UCLA, and Ole Miss.
Blake Barnett (Alabama, Arizona State)
Barnett also has two years remaining. He redshirted as a true freshman at Alabama, then was beaten out as a redshirt freshman by true freshman Jalen Hurts in 2016. Barnett transferred to Arizona State, but is now looking for a new landing spot after the Sun Devils changed their coaching situation. He is a former 5-star prospect who was previously committed to Notre Dame and then Oregon before signing with Alabama. [Editor’s Note: Blake Barnett is headed to USF as of Tuesday evening.]
J.J. Cosentino (Florida State)
Cosentino is a former 4-star prospect from Pittsburgh who chose Florida State over Penn State and USF. He graduated from FSU last week and is now a free agent. He has completed 15-of-30 passes over his first three years in college and thrown one touchdown each of the past two years. In terms of his running skills, he has seven rushes for a loss of seven yards.
Jordan Davis (Louisiana)
In terms of fits, Davis may be the best style fit for Ohio State. A starter in a handful of games last season for La.-Lafayette, Davis threw for 1,386 yards with 10 touchdowns and eight interceptions. He also rushed for 347 yards and five touchdowns on 71 attempts (4.9 ypc). Not being able to hold onto the job at Louisiana is not a great vote of confidence for his overall abilities, however.
[Jordan Davis photo courtesy ragincajuns.com.]