A few weeks back, Ohio State head coach Ryan Day said that he wanted OSU to eventually become college football’s “QBU.”
Meaning, he wanted the Buckeyes producing NFL quarterbacks — specifically high NFL draft picks — at a better rate than any other program in the country.
Day has certainly increased the amount of passing at Ohio State. Since his arrival in 2017 as the offensive coordinator, his offenses now have three of the four seasons with the most passing yards in OSU history. The only reason he doesn’t have all three is because the 2014 season (3,707 yards) went 15 games and finished with 28 more yards than the 14-game 2017 season (3,679).
The 2018 season with Dwayne Haskins at the controls set the school record with 5,100 yards passing, while the 2019 season with Justin Fields at the helm is now third with 3,684 yards.
Being a quarterback himself, it is no surprise that Day would want to invest in Ohio State’s passing game like no previous Buckeye head coach. In order to make that happen, he will need talented quarterbacks to complete his vision. Fortunately for him, in his three years with the Buckeyes, he has been able to work with arguably Ohio State’s three best passing quarterbacks ever.
Haskins turned his record season into being the No. 15 selection in the 2019 NFL Draft. He was the first first-round Buckeye quarterback since Art Schlichter in 1982.
They will likely be joined next year by current Ohio State starting quarterback Justin Fields, who is being discussed as one of the top overall picks in the 2021 draft should he choose to come out early.
Asked recently if he thought this would impact Fields’ approach this season, Buckeye head coach Ryan Day didn’t seem all that concerned.
“No, it won’t change at all,” he said. “I mean, first off, Justin’s a guy where, it’s just been that kind of hype around him ever since he picked up a football.”
Day is correct. Even before Fields completely blew up as a high school recruit, he had done enough to commit to Penn State. Then he hit the summer camp circuit and that’s when the hype really began.
To this point, he has taken it all in stride, and that’s even with leaving his home-state Georgia Bulldogs to come to Ohio State to play for Day. Even as Fields may be an ideal quarterback prospect, it has not been without its difficulties. But he responded to his new team very well last year, earning their respect and emerging as a leader.
Where Fields is right now — perched on the precipice of an NFL future — is where he’s seen himself for a while. He even came to Ohio State because Ryan Day could better prepare him for the NFL.
Everything Fields has done to this point has been about getting to the NFL, so why would he change anything now when he’s on exactly the path he needs to be?
That being said, the NFL is not a conversation that Day and Fields are having right now because there is still a season to play.
“Whether it was the number one recruit in the country, QB 1, transferring from Georgia, going to the Heisman this year, now it’ll be the NFL Draft, but that’s part of becoming a quarterback at Ohio State,” Day said. “It’ll be the same way with the younger guys. So no, that stuff won’t really come up at all until we start getting closer to that. Like I said, December, January.”