One of the top quarterback prospects of the last decade is coming to Ohio State be a Buckeye.
Justin Fields was the No. 2 overall player in the 2018 class when he committed to Georgia. He spent one season there as Jake Fromm’s backup before deciding to transfer. Now, according to a report from Letterman Row, he’s heading to Columbus. That confirms what TheOzone’s Tony Gerdeman was told on Thursday.
Fields was widely recognized as one of the most impressive high school prospects in recent memory, and showed flashes of that potential during his one season in Athens.
He played only sparingly, but completed 69 percent of his passes for 328 yards, 4 touchdowns and no interceptions. He also ran 42 times for 266 yards and four scores.
Most of his action came against low-level competition like MTSU, Austin Peay, and Tennessee.
Fields’ biggest performance came in a late-season non-conference game against UMass. He went 5-for-8 for 121 yards and two touchdowns through the air, and added 7 rushes for 100 yards and another score on the ground.
After that game, Fields was named SEC Freshman of the Week. OSU quarterback Dwayne Haskins messaged Fields on Twitter, “I see you lil bro” and Fields responded, “Appreciate it.. just trying to get like you.”
Appreciate it.. just trying to get like you
— Justin Fields (@justnfields) November 19, 2018
Now, he has a chance to truly be like Haskins as the Buckeyes’ quarterback.
This is unquestionably a huge addition for new head coach Ryan Day. From all indications, the chance to play under Day was a big draw for Fields.
He is a very different quarterback from Haskins, both far more mobile and not nearly as big. But he fits exactly the profile of a quarterback that Day laid out on Early Signing Day in December.
“I think the number one thing you look for is some sort of extraordinary trait. That’s the number one thing you look for,” Day said. “From there there’s a whole ‘nother list of things that we go through. Certainly arm talent, certainly accuracy is a huge part of that. But the number one thing we want is some sort of exceptional trait.”
In Fields, he’s certainly getting some exceptional traits. Now, if Fields is going to take over at quarterback, the question is how Day will adapt the offense if he has to go from a Haskins-centric attack to one triggered by a dual-threat like Fields or Tate Martell.
In December, Day said they were prepared for that type of switch.
“I think one of our strengths on offense is the ability to adjust the offense to fit the quarterback and to fit our personnel,” Day said. “I think in college that’s really, really important because sometimes if you’re looking for a specific style, there may not be one in that class, so let’s go find somebody that has some sort of extraordinary talent and then build around it.”
The next question that will need to be answered is whether Fields will be eligible to play in 2019.
He is expected to petition the NCAA for a waiver to allow him to play immediately, similar to what happened with Shea Patterson when he transferred from Ole Miss to Michigan before last season.
If that is granted, then the race for the starting quarterback position this fall would get even more intriguing.
Before the Rose Bowl, Martell said that he wasn’t concerned about the Fields transfer rumors, and “100 percent” expected to be the Buckeyes’ starter in 2019.
Martell expressed skepticism that Fields would be able to learn Ohio State’s offense before the fall.
If you’re not familiar with Fields’ game, you can watch his high school highlight reel, and his freshman season highlights from Georgia below.
[Header Photo Courtesy Georgia Football]