COLUMBUS — The media was invited to the Woody Hayes Athletic Center on Monday to meet with Ohio State head coach Ryan Day. Day shared memories of former Ohio State quarterback Dwayne Haskins, who died after being hit by a car on Saturday.
Here are some of the highlights of what was shared.
+ This was a very difficult weekend for the program. They had a team meeting on Monday morning and talked about a lot of things. The players are hurting. He referred them to the mental health resources and assets they have at Ohio State and they are leaning on each other. But there’s nothing they can do to make it better.
+ Their prayers are going out to the entire family, his wife, his parents, his sister, his friends and teammates. “It’s hard to wrap your mind around something like this.”
+ Dwayne Haskins had such a big heart. He always took time after practice to be around family, kids, he was a big brother to R.J. Day. “He meant a lot to my family and to this program.”
+ “It’s still hard to get our feet under us and see clearly right now.”
+ His first impression of Haskins was that he was someone everyone wanted to be around. His smile was infectious and he had an old soul, just the way he approached life in general. He had great integrity and values.
+ Some of his favorite memories come from the day-to-day stuff together. But on the field, he really grew up in the Maryland game in 2018. He was not going to be denied that day and he showed toughness with his three rushing touchdowns. “I’ll remember that one the most.”
+ Haskins kickstarted the way they’ve thrown the ball and the passing game here. He walked through the facility at a young age and said what he wanted to do and then he did it. He left a legacy. He set a goal and went and achieved it.
+ He thanks the outpouring of support nationally. “Opponents and rivals, it’s been nothing but support and it’s bigger than football. It means the world to us.”
+ They will honor Haskins on Saturday at the Spring Game but they haven’t decided how just yet. As far as long term, they haven’t thought that far ahead. They have a list of some ideas, but they are still trying to process.
+ “Buckeye Nation meant a lot to Dwayne.”
+ Haskins always felt like he was built for this. He always knew this success was going to happen for him. He was so confident. Once when it was raining for a game, Day woke up and told Haskins, and he replied, “don’t worry about this coach, we got this.” It’s hard to put into words what he meant but he’s had a major impact on this whole thing.
+ The receivers believed in him as a player. He led differently than quarterbacks before and he had a following. He did a lot of work in the locker room. They played with confidence.
+ “It makes you hug your loved ones a little more. But something like this is difficult to explain.”
+ His family is crushed. “They know the program is here for them but what do you say in times like this?”
+ On Haskins’ year in 2018 and its impact on the program, Day said if he hadn’t had that year, they probably wouldn’t be where they are as a program. Because Haskins was there and the way the season went, “we’re here now and he was a major part of that.”
+ On describing Haskins, Day said the players first mentioned his smile. He was so genuine. Day thinks of his compassion he had for people. On the field, his talent, he threw the ball beautifully. He just had that special talent and confidence, sometimes in practice the ball never hit the ground.
+ There’s no blueprint for things like this. But Kam Babb led the team in prayer on Monday morning. He is grateful they have a foundation and can lean on each other. “But that doesn’t make it easy.”
+ The players are a little bit lost. A lot of players stayed in close touch with him. “They’re hurting right now, just like any of us. I’m 44 years old and I still don’t know how to feel.”
+ Haskins left a legacy at 24 years old and that shows what kind of a person he was.
+ Haskins was like a big brother to Justin Fields and even C.J. Stroud. Only a few people quite understand the quarterback position here and he was a great resource for those guys. Haskins and Joe Burrow stayed in touch too. They were a tight group because it’s such a unique position.
+ Day remembers having a conversation with Haskins about his re-start in the NFL with the Steelers. Coach Mike Tomlin saw things in Dwayne and poured into him. Haskins felt like this was a great opportunity and was all in. Playing one year in college football and going to the NFL is a journey for everyone, he was working through that journey.
+ He had a special relationship with the receivers Terry McLaurin, Parris Campbell, and Johnnie Dixon in 2018. They didn’t know what that year would bring but to see what they put together on the field was impressive. They are all crushed by this.
+ Relationships really mattered to Haskins and he wanted to be great. He was driven to do that and he worked really hard. He was compassionate and always cared about others. He was able to take a stressful environment and make it fun, he just had that way about him.