When Justin Fields decided to leave Georgia and enter the transfer portal, he could have gone anywhere in the country.
As one of the top two quarterbacks in the 2018 recruiting class, no head coach was going to turn him away if he showed up on their doorstep.
When evaluating which doorstep he wanted to approach, Fields looked at coaches and quarterbacks to see who had the kind of offense that he would want to play in.
It was no surprise that Ohio State and Oklahoma were the two most prominent names mentioned during his re-recruitment. Both schools have had either record-setting quarterbacks or Heisman winners each of the past two years. And both schools also happened to be looking for a new starting quarterback.
Fields eventually settled on Ohio State, doing so for a number of reasons.
“Well, first off, I think Coach Day is a great coach, a great offensive-minded coach,” Fields said. “So, yeah, Coach Day is a great coach and he is smart as I can see already. I’ve met with him and gone through some plays, and I can already tell he’s a great offensive-minded coach.”
It also didn’t hurt Ohio State’s chances that Fields and former Buckeye quarterback Dwayne Haskins were friends and have trained together in the offseason.
Haskins was able to provide honest, accurate answers for any questions that Fields had about Day and life as a Buckeye.
“Yeah, me and Dwayne, we’re pretty close friends,” Fields said. “And I would say talking with him and getting a grasp of what Coach Day is like and what he told me. It was great to see what he did last year and I’m just hoping to do the same thing.”
Once Fields made his decision, Haskins was also able to give him a first-hand account of what it takes to be Ohio State’s starting quarterback.
“He told me to lead with your mouth,” Fields said. “He told me he had trouble early in his career talking it up, but as you get more and more comfortable you’ll start to take over the team and start leading.”
Ryan Day didn’t necessarily make the case as to why Ohio State was right for Fields. The Buckeye football program is hardly a secret, nor was the season Dwayne Haskins just had.
Rather, Day presented facts and wanted to make sure the fit was a good one.
And Fields wasn’t looking for a pitch anyway.
“They really didn’t give me a sales pitch because they already knew I’d been through the recruiting process, so they weren’t trying to sell me,” he said. “They didn’t really have to do that much, just going based off what Dwayne did last year and how much success he had in this offense. I felt like I could come in and hopefully do the same thing that he did.”
Haskins is about to become the first Big Ten quarterback drafted in the first round of the NFL Draft since 1995. Combining that fact with OSU’s offense and Day’s history in the NFL, Fields didn’t have to think too hard about why Ohio State was the right place for him.
“I think I made more of a business decision and Coach Day, he’s been in the NFL so he knows what it takes to get there,” he said. “Just the offense and how successful it was last year, I just hope to do the same thing again.”