This fall was supposed to be for all of the marbles. Two great quarterbacks facing off in one of the most highly-anticipated quarterback battles in Ohio State history.
In one corner, you had the Ohio-born Joe Burrow who was coming off of an injury plagued 2017 season and a great 2018 spring game.
In the other corner, you had the slayer of Michigan dragons and 2017 backup quarterback, Dwayne Haskins.
The fan base was divided on who should start, but everyone felt comfortable with whoever won the battle. This was until the battle was decided by Joe Burrow himself as he announced he was going to transfer out of Ohio State.
That leaves no battle and a fall for Dwayne Haskins to adjust to being the starting quarterback at Ohio State.
With that said, the first stop in my Pre-Fall positional tour will be going to the quarterback room which now consists of only three scholarship quarterbacks.
It was destined many years ago that Dwayne Haskins was going to be the starting quarterback at Ohio State. The redshirt sophomore out of Maryland is probably the most NFL-type QB the Buckeyes have had in a very long time. At 6’3” and 218 pounds, Haskins has the combination of size, smarts, intelligence, and arm strength every team dreams of. The question with Haskins will be if he can put it all together in his first season as starter.
Going into his third year on campus, it’s been a fairly quick rise up the depth chart for Haskins. At this time last year, it was looked as if Haskins was going to be third on the depth chart as J.T. Barrett and Burrow were established as the fairly clear cut one and two. When Burrow broke his hand, this opened the door for the highly-touted former 4-star to show Ohio State what he could do.
Sure, there were bumps in the road, but when it all mattered we saw what Dwayne Haskins could do. On the road in Ann Arbor trailing late in the third quarter, this redshirt freshman was forced into action in the biggest rivalry in sports. How did he respond? He led the team to 17 unanswered points against statistically the best defense in college football at the time. That’s my quarterback. A leader. A winner.
Behind him is a future star and a young man who would start at most other schools around the nation, redshirt freshman Tate Martell. Martell was pretty decent in high school, where he was 45-0 in his career and named the 2016 Gatorade Football Player of the Year and USA Today Offensive Player of the Year. His career stats of 7,507 passing yards, 2,294 rushing yards, and 148 combined touchdowns are some video game type of stuff.
If high school numbers aren’t your cup of tea, take a look at Martell during the spring game. (Start watching at the 1 minute 20 second mark.)
We may not see a lot of Martell this year, but we will definitely get our fair share and he will get more time than a normal back-up would. We all know the Ohio State coaching staff loves their QB runs, so I think we will see Martell utilized a lot in short-yardage situations. I could not imagine what a defense would do if Martell, Mike Weber, and J.K. Dobbins lined up in the same backfield.
Rounding out the quarterback room is the true freshman and former 4-star prospect from Texas, Matthew Baldwin. While the new redshirt rule could get him some playing time, I would be shocked if Baldwin played this year due to the lack of depth in the quarterback room and the fact Baldwin is coming back from a knee injury last season. Unless a Maryland-type of situation occurs, I think the Buckeyes will play it safe and truly redshirt Baldwin this year.
PREDICTED DEPTH CHART
- Dwayne Haskins
- Tate Martell
- Matthew Baldwin
There really isn’t too much drama here. Haskins and Martell are set to do some damage this season.
As Adam wrote about a few weeks ago, there are some legit opportunities for Haskins to enter the Ohio State record book in his first season as starter. I will admit, I am a huge fan of Haskins. As you can see, I have him breaking the single-season passing yards record (3,300 yds, Joe Germaine) and the single-season completion record (240, Barrett). With that said, a lot of that has to do with his surrounding cast and how well they play to his strengths. If this was say, 2016 and there were no established wide receivers or running backs, his stats would be nowhere near this level.
Additionally, I have factored in the coaching staff and their past tendencies. With Urban Meyer, his quarterbacks have averaged 322 pass attempts during his career as a head coach. When Chris Leak was his quarterback, he averaged 370 pass attempts a year. Over the past four seasons with J.T. Barrett/Cardale Jones as his quarterback, he averaged 347 pass attempts a year.
Then you have Kevin Wilson, who is in his second season as offensive coordinator. We all know Wilson loves to throw the ball. As offensive coordinator at Oklahoma, his quarterbacks averaged 445 attempts a year. As head coach at Indiana, his quarterbacks averaged 430 attempts a year.
With the change in offensive philosophy based off of Haskins’ strengths, I think we will see a little more of a Kevin Wilson offense this year, even with Ryan day getting more of a prominent role. The proposed 395 attempts by Haskins will be more than any starting quarterback for Urban Meyer, but towards the bottom of the list for Wilson.
With the best 1-2 RB combo in the Big Ten and six experienced wide receivers, Haskins is set up to have the most prolific single season in Ohio State history.