OK, now the Dwayne Haskins fans can really get excited.
That’s what Joe Burrow’s transfer from Ohio State means for the redshirt sophomore. The guy who many have been waiting to see since he flipped his commitment from Maryland to Ohio State in January 2016 is now going to be, well, the guy.
With all due respect to Tate Martell, who I am fascinated to see develop at the quarterback position, the job now clearly belongs to Haskins. Even after his dominant spring showing, Burrow saw the writing on the wall. Haskins might’ve been younger, but he was the more talented quarterback, and ultimately, he was Urban Meyer’s guy.
Frankly, Burrow probably knew that back when Haskins signed and Meyer called him “the best quarterback prospect he’d ever seen.” Not Tim Tebow or Cam Newton. Haskins.
Meyer doesn’t just set the bar like that for anyone. That’s the kind of talent he believes Haskins is. Has anything we’ve seen from Haskins the last 2 years suggested he isn’t worth the hype? Probably not. That’s why Burrow left Columbus.
That’s also why everyone in Columbus can officially get excited for what’s next.
Even though J.T. Barrett was one of the best players in B1G history, that brief Tom Herman-coached version of Cardale Jones was the last time that Ohio State had someone who could stretch the field. That subject has been a hot topic of debate in Columbus the last 3 years since Herman left. At times, it felt like the missing ingredient to a national title.
Does Haskins now give the Buckeyes that missing ingredient? Time will tell.
In a limited sample size of Haskins, he looked even more developed as a passer than Jones was during that title run. The thing that’s impressive about Haskins is that unlike Jones, he can put the right touch on those intermediate throws. He can fit the ball into tight windows 15-20 yards out. Even Barrett struggled with that throughout his career.
That might not guarantee he achieves greater things than Barrett or Jones, but it’s a reason to believe the potential — coupled with Haskins’ big arm — is there.
The guy they call ” Dwayne Train” is going to have no shortage of hype and expectations entering his first season as the starter. He’s already showing up near the top of preseason quarterback rankings.
You know, just in case being the starter on a likely preseason top-five team wasn’t enough.
Haskins can now enter summer knowing that he is indeed the guy, and while the battle with Burrow is over, Martell will do everything in his power to apply the pressure. Lord knows fans will call for the high-profile Martell to get a look if Haskins struggles out of the gate. The athleticism that Martell flashed in the spring game will be in the back of Ohio State fans’ minds if Haskins throws 3 interceptions in a loss to TCU. It could be in the back of Meyer’s mind, too.
I can’t help but think that Martell’s spring game performance calmed the nerves of OSU fans with Tuesday’s news about Burrow’s departure. I tend to think that Martell is going to see the field in 2018, and if he dazzles, Haskins will have a new battle on his hands.
But for now, all eyes are on Haskins to become the next great Ohio State quarterback. It’s the role many believed he would eventually take on. In a way, he already has. When you lead a comeback win at Michigan, you’ve already shown your worth to Buckeye fans (via Billy George):
For the first time in a long time, Ohio State has a quarterback without a defined ceiling. Barrett had one, as did Jones and Braxton Miller. It took us some time to realize what their respective ceilings were.
What will be the thing that limits Haskins’ ceiling? Trying to fit into too many throws into small windows? Struggling to read defenses once they adjust to him? We don’t know.
Physically, he doesn’t have any limitations. If all goes according to plan, he’ll win B1G Offensive Player of the Year, lead Ohio State to another conference title and put the Buckeyes in the College Football Playoff. Maybe we’re talking about the guy who will become the B1G’s first quarterback to go in the first round since Kerry Collins in 1995.
We can start realistically talking about these things now that Burrow bowed out. Meyer doesn’t have to declare Haskins the starter publicly for it to be true.
Haskins is the guy, and his time has arrived.