When it comes to recruiting, generally the point is to stockpile as much talent as your roster will allow.
Look at Ohio State’s recruiting classes over the last seven years or so and you’ll see the Buckeyes hoarding defensive linemen like a doomsday prepper.
“When the world goes to hell, you’re gonna want six defensive tackles.”
There is certainly some truth to that statement, but not every position can be collected like MREs.
The main exception to the stockpiling is at quarterback, where as much as coaches would like to hoard them, the players themselves won’t allow it.
Only one quarterback can play, and so if there isn’t much of a separation in years between the backup and the starter, the backup may look to transfer somewhere that will give him an opportunity to start sooner.
Quarterbacks are even loading up on coursework now as the norm in order to graduate early so that they can transfer with two years of eligibility remaining like Joe Burrow did earlier this year.
Anymore, it seems that quarterbacks enter their first school expecting to start relatively quickly, but also knowing that this may not be their final destination. Coaches know it too, but can’t really plan for it too far in advance because they usually only bring in one quarterback signee per year because if you bring in more than that, you’ll just encourage departures.
Ohio State head coach Ryan Day wants at least four scholarship quarterbacks on the roster at any given time. Sometimes, one of those four players leaves before they are expected to, which can then put a program in a situation where they are either undermanned or looking for transfers.
“It’s pretty wild. It’s pretty wild,” Day said of recruiting quarterbacks in today’s world. “The thing that’s tough about quarterbacks is only one quarterback can play, and these guys, they want to play.”
Anymore, if the starting quarterback is a younger guy, schools can expect to lose an upperclassman at that position. Most players don’t want to sit the rest of their careers.
Throughout the recruiting process, schools tell players how badly they want them. Then when they get on campus and don’t get to play, some will look around at the other schools that were courting them and wonder what could have been.
There is also the monetary factor.
So many of the top high school quarterbacks today have had their families spend serious amounts of money in order to train with personal quarterback coaches from an early age, and a lot of them don’t see how there can be a return on their investment while sitting the bench.
Ryan Day, however, believes patience is a virtue for quarterbacks, and was for Dwayne Haskins.
He also believes that it is more important to be at the right place than the right time.
“I think that when recruits are being recruited, they need to understand that the best chance they have to go reach all their goals is to be at a place that can develop them,” he said. “It isn’t about getting on the field right away. One of the best things that happened to Dwayne Haskins in my opinion, and Dwayne will tell you the same thing because we agreed on it, is that when he had his opportunity to play, which was two years in, and he wasn’t happy about that, he wanted to play last year, but he’ll tell you that he wasn’t ready last year.”
The example of Dwayne Haskins is a good one, but only really fits that situation. Haskins got to start as a redshirt sophomore and wasn’t in a position to unseat JT Barrett, who was a 4-year starter.
Day understands that the timing doesn’t work out for everybody because they all want to play, but if a player isn’t ready to play, he may only be hurting himself by transferring.
Will Joe Burrow be better served with two years of starting at LSU versus one year of starting and three years of coaching under Day had he chosen to stay?
If Dwayne Haskins decided he didn’t want to sit behind Barrett for a second year and left, would he be in the position that he’s in now?
Day believes Haskins’ patience paid off and believes it would for other quarterbacks as well, but he understands why they choose to leave.
“He was ready this year,” Day said of Haskins. “When he stepped on the field, he was ready. He had two years of development, and he played his best football, and I think it’s so important for young quarterbacks to get developed, not just go from place to place when things don’t go well. That being said, one quarterback can play, and so it’s sensitive and it’s a very unique situation.”