Football Recruiting

Three Possible Answers For Ohio State’s Quarterback Question

Justin Fields Georgia Quarterback

This was quite a recruiting cycle for Ohio State and quarterbacks.

The Buckeyes missed out on a number of their early targets, including Grant Gunnell (who went to Arizona), Graham Mertz (Wisconsin), Ryan Hilinski (South Carolina), and others.

They thought they had a solution when they flipped Dwan Mathis from Michigan State over the summer, only to see him flip again on Early Signing Day and sign with Georgia instead.

That leaves OSU in an awkward position without a lot of options.

Right now they have four scholarship quarterbacks on the roster.

  • Dwayne Haskins will be a redshirt junior in 2019 if he opts to return for another season.
  • Tate Martell will be a redshirt sophomore
  • Matthew Baldwin will be a redshirt freshman
  • Chris Chugunov will be a senior

Even with 4-star prospect Jack Miller committed for 2020, they’re still cutting things pretty close.

Wednesday, OSU’s next head coach Ryan Day said that the uncertainty around Haskins would play a role in what happened next.

“Dwayne, we’re going to find out in the next week after the bowl game kind of where he’s at (with regard to turning pro),” said Day.

“We always want to have four guys on our roster. It’s always a process of one guy is on the field, and it’s hard to get two and three guys in the game. It’s never going to change. We’re going to always look to have four guys on the roster, and just like anything else, after Dwayne makes the decision, we’ll go from there.”

If Haskins turns pro, as many people expect, that would leave OSU with three scholarship quarterbacks for 2019, only one of whom has taken a meaningful snap with the Buckeyes.

That would leave them thin, and just one injury or transfer away from a real issue.

So what are their options to plug that hole for 2019?

Option 1: Sign A Quarterback In February

This is possible, but there aren’t many good options out there.

Only one of the top 50 quarterbacks in the class is uncommitted, Lance LeGendre. He is a 4-star prospect from New Orleans, ranked as the No. 5 dual-threat quarterback in the class.

There is no indication that OSU has had any contact with him yet, or knows anything meaningful about him.

It’s not totally impossible that he could become a target for the Buckeyes, take a trip to Columbus, and decide it’s the place for him. But it’s also not particularly likely, either.

That is not an area where the Buckeyes recruit very often, so they won’t have any kind of solid relationships with coaches or others.

Outside of LeGendre, OSU would have to flip someone who is committed, or take a player ranked well below the level at which they normally recruit.

They don’t want to use one of their 85 scholarships on a guy who they know won’t ever be able to play, and there just aren’t a lot of viable choices out there.

Option 2: Sign Transfer Justin Fields

Fields’ name is now in the NCAA Transfer Portal, so he’s officially on the market and Ohio State is among the schools considered most likely to land him.

A report from ESPN on Wednesday night said Fields is “interested in transferring to Ohio State.”

The big question for 2019 is whether he would be eligible or not.

On the surface, it seems like Fields would have to sit out the year and would only be eligible in 2020.

However, it’s possible he could be granted a hardship waiver by the NCAA which would allow him to play immediately.

The relevant section of the rule reads: “The transfer is due to documented mitigating circumstances that are outside the student-athlete’s control and directly impact the health, safety and well-being of the student-athlete.”

Here’s how that could apply to Fields. Last fall, another Georgia student-athlete directed a racial slur at Fields during a football game.

There’s no question that it happened, because the player responsible apologized for the incident and was dismissed from the program.

That could be enough for Fields to argue that he feels unsafe at Georgia, and should be granted a waiver.

It’s not a guarantee that Fields will choose Ohio State, and it’s not a guarantee that he would be granted the waiver, either.

But if both of those happened and this basically worked out as a Fields-for-Mathis trade with the Bulldogs, the Buckeyes would happily take that deal.

Other transfer quarterbacks will be out there this offseason as well, but Fields would likely be the most plug-and-play option for OSU if he’s eligible.

If Fields comes to OSU, the Buckeyes run the risk of alienating one or more of the quarterbacks on their current roster, which could create a numbers issue all over again.

Option 3: Sign A Grad Transfer Quarterback

They went this route last fall, grabbing Chugunov just before the season started as some emergency depth. At that point, Joe Burrow had transferred, and Haskins and Martell were the only healthy scholarship quarterbacks. Baldwin was still recovering from a knee injury.

The grad transfer market won’t really take shape until after the season, but OSU could be an attractive landing spot for someone looking to spend a year in a big program without necessarily expecting to win the starting job.

This might be a good stop-gap option if Haskins goes pro and Fields ends up elsewhere, or if Fields comes and another quarterback chooses to leave.

If either of those scenarios plays out and they need another quarterback to get to four scholarship guys eligible to play in 2019, this might be their best option.

10 Responses

  1. The Hodge Podge is what turned DH into vert dangerous beginning against MD. DH passing only wasxonextessin we lost against PUR.

  2. Considering Dwayn Mathis’ flipping history – I think he de-committed from at least 3 programs – that was a blessing in disguise. And, if he has academic issues as has been reported on a couple sites then he’s a train wreck waiting to happen. That said, if Fields is available its a no brainer – they will take him. I doubt if Day and Co. guarantee anything but the opportunity to compete. If he (Fields) is as good as his HS cred, he will have to beat out another great HS QB in Tate, and another in Baldwin. So, I say – let the competition begin! I believe it made Dwayne Haskins better when he had to compete with Burrow last spring and it will certainly make whomever emerges as the starter next year, better as well.

  3. To me, the big question isn’t who we get but what style QB we get. We are a hodge-podge right now. Haskins is a pocket passer, Tate is a R/O QB and Baldwin is more of a pocket passer (as I understand it). Urby liked the R/O, Day seems to prefer tha pocket passer. So what can we expect with Day? I just hope they stop with the hodge-podge approach. Once that determination is made, we can start naming names and talking about individuals.

    1. You nailed it, Doug. Meyer was intransigent about ‘”his” style, forcing it down the OCs throat. Hopefully Day will be smarter about that.

  4. Get Fields and let the chips fall where they may.

  5. We should take Fields all day long if we can. His skill set in a Ryan Day offense equals another big season for OSU QB.

  6. If we can get Fields we need to sign him. The issue around him being called a name is most likely his only reason to possibly be granted a waiver from the NCAA so he would be eligible next fall. He appears to be an elite talent and I imagine Day already has a relationship with him as I think we recruited him last year. Players today (especially QBs) seem to transfer if they’re not starting or want to commit to a team where they think they can play right away which is probably why Georgia was able to flip Mathis yesterday. Mathis obviously afraid to compete with Fields at Ohio State. The big question is Martell if Fields ends up a Buckeye.

  7. Don’t need or want a cry-baby. He should have been able to handle the situation himself. He’ll get called worse things on and off the field.

    1. What the…?!? Really? This is one of the worst takes I’ve heard concerning this situation. He’ll hear worse on the field? Do you really think there are white players hurling the word n*****? When the vast majority of players are African-American?

      The stupid is strong with this one.

    2. WillyB I expect that if I called you what I think of you to your face, you would be a “crybaby” too.

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