How Ohio State's QB situation got to this point
The Ohio State Buckeyes might have a nice problem or a bad problem soon.
They might have Dwayne Haskins back at quarterback for the 2019 season, in which case there is no problem at all.
Or OSU will lose him to the NFL Draft but gain Georgia transfer Justin Fields, and have him and Tate Martell vie for the starting job (the NCAA would have to grant Fields a waiver to let him play immediately). That would be a nice problem — one 5-star and one 4-star recruit competing for the job, and both are real dual threats.
The third possibility is that the Buckeyes will lose Haskins and not get the approval needed for Fields to be immediately eligible. That would be a bad problem — not because Martell can’t handle the job but because there would be no proven depth behind him. On the current roster, Matthew Baldwin and Daniel Vanatsky are freshman and walk-on Kory Curtis is a sophomore.
So, with Fields announcing Friday that he is transferring from UGA to OSU, it’s time to assess where the Buckeyes are with their quarterback situation and how they got there.
Dwayne Haskins won the job, leading Joe Burrow to transfer to LSU, where he gained permission to play immediately. It was one of those deals that worked out for everyone. Haskins had a spectacular season as a redshirt sophomore, leading the nation in passing yards and TD passes. Burrow became an instant fan favorite in Baton Rouge and led the Tigers to a 10-win season including a victory in the Fiesta Bowl. Martell was used sparingly in Columbus and, when it became obvious later in the season that every package he was involved in was designed for him to run, opposing teams had more success stopping him.
J.T. Barrett closed out his record-breaking career as a Buckeye while Haskins waited in the wings. Haskins got what turned out to be critical game experience, entering the Michigan game with OSU trailing in the third quarter. He led the Buckeyes to victory, the first indication that they would be fine with him as the starter in 2018 (few could have anticipated how spectacular he’d be). Barrett returned for the Big Ten title game and the Cotton Bowl victory over USC. Haskins saw some spot duty throughout the season and passed for 565 yards; Burrow played a little.
A rarity in Columbus: A season with no quarterback questions and good health for the starter. Barrett was the undisputed leader by this point and accounted for 3,400 yards and 33 touchdowns, rushing and passing combined. Haskins enrolled in the offseason and redshirted. Backup quarterback Stephen Collier wound up leaving football after a major knee injury and saw little game action, but he went on to earn both undergraduate and Master’s degrees from Ohio State.
The Buckeyes were redshirting Burrow and recruiting Haskins, then a senior at The Bullis School in Potomac, Md. Haskins originally committed to Maryland but decommitted in January 2016. Meanwhile, OSU was coming off of a national championship season and had a fascinating three-way controversy over who should play quarterback. Cardale Jones wound up taking the majority of the snaps ahead of Barrett, who was coming off of an injury near the end of the 2014 season. Former QB starter Braxton Miller had just one pass attempt all season; his other 78 touches on the season came rushing or receiving.