The No. 3 player on this list played in the SEC Championship Game last season, has won the MVP at a national high school passing camp, can run a 4.4, is possibly the highest-ranked recruit in Ohio State history, and has never started a game in his college football career.
No. 3 — Justin Fields, Sophomore Quarterback
Justin Fields was the No. 2 recruit in the entire 2018 class and the No. 1 dual-threat quarterback as a high school senior.
Prior to his senior season, he won the Elite 11 passing camp competing against the best quarterbacks in the 2018 class — including Clemson’s Trevor Lawrence.
Ohio State already had a quarterback committed in Emory Jones when Fields was making his decision. He originally committed to Penn State before ultimately signing with Georgia.
Fields played in 12 of UGA’s 14 games last season, rushing for 266 yards on 6.3 yards per carry. He also completed 27-of-39 passes for 328 yards and four touchdowns.
His role with the Bulldogs, however, was more of a change-of-pace run threat. Sometimes it seemed like he was put on the field so that he wouldn’t transfer. That obviously did not work.
In terms of making plays, Fields has every skill set you could ask for.
He is 6-foot-3 and 223 pounds, so he has the size coaches like, and his strong arm and mobility open the entire field to him.
It is his 4.43 speed that separates him from everyone else.
What Does He Do Well
This is to be determined at the moment because he wasn’t asked to do much more than run and take part in blowouts at Georgia last year.
What we do know is that Fields has a very strong arm — stronger than Dwayne Haskins according to senior receiver KJ Hill. Keep in mind, however, that arm strength does not equal arm accuracy.
We also know that he can run. He is big and strong, and able to run through arm tackles. He’s fast enough to get to the edge when scrambling or simply executing a called run.
We don’t yet know how proficient his decision making is on the read option. Can he make the calls as well as JT Barrett and Braxton Miller did?
One other thing that we know is that Fields is being coached by Ryan Day and Mike Yurcich, and those guys are two of the best in the business in both creativity and getting quarterbacks ready to play.
Yurcich said last week that in just the first few practices he has already seen Fields improve in terms of anticipation of where his throws need to go.
Justin Fields In 2019
If this was a deep group of quarterbacks, we might see more of a running game from Justin Fields. As it is, however, they will have to be careful with how much they run him because the depth behind him is an issue. They can’t afford to lose him to an injury.
That being said, he is too talented as a runner to not at least show that ability with a called run or two per game, as well as a steady dose of read option. It won’t be a surprise if he finishes second on the team in rushes of 30 or more yards this season.
The run-pass option will also be a part of this offense, though the running will be done by the running backs. Fields’ ability to concern linebackers could lead to some big plays down the seam on the RPOs to a guy like sophomore tight end Jeremy Ruckert.
Fields’ ability to scramble will also lead to some broken passing plays that end up going long distances.
Defenses are going to have to be hyper-aware of Fields, which will lessen their awareness just a bit everywhere else. And sometimes that’s all it takes.
What They Are Saying
“Yeah, they’ve been going well, all reports are coming back really strong. He’s taking a lot of responsibility of going out there with those guys and throwing on their own. It’s been going positive and in talking to the receivers and some of the other guys they say it’s going really, really well. But we’ll find out in August once we get on the field and start with practice.” — Head coach Ryan Day in July when asked about Justin Fields’ offseason workouts.
“I think it’s really important. I think it’s important for the position coach, the coordinator and the head coach to understand that. I think that’s really important for the quarterback to understand week in and week out what his role is, week in and week out how the game is going to be different, week in and week out how the media is handling everything. One of the things we had to deal with last year Dwayne went for 0 to 60 so fast and everything was positive and how do you now keep your expectations under control based on where he was at in his development. Two years ago after the Iowa game with J.T. And social media it was a different situation. Counseling a quarterback, especially at that age, is critical week to week.” — Ryan Day on not letting the hype get to Justin Fields.
“He has a strong arm. He has to get used to the receivers, the routes, different offense, but I feel like Justin can bring a lot to the offense because he can use his legs a little bit more than Dwayne did last year. A lot more RPOs, in the run game we can use him, so I feel like he brings a lot to the offense.” — Senior receiver KJ Hill on what Justin Fields can bring to the Ohio State offense.