Spring has almost sprung in the Midwest and that means the beginning of spring football in Columbus and many places. Here at Buckeye Wire, we are kicking off our Spring Football Preview. First up, it’s a look at the quarterback position.
Ohio State Spring Football Preview Kickoff
There might be a editorial space reserved for the quarterback competition in Columbus this year. Why? Well, for one J.T. Barrett is gone after setting a slew of records, and for another, it’ll be the first real unproven quarterback derby of the Urban Meyer era at Ohio State.
A four-year starter more or less. There were the brief moments in late 2014 and 2015 when Cardale Jones was given the keys to the offense, but that was short-lived. Opinions range between him being the greatest quarterback in history on one end of the spectrum, to being one of the most overrated because of some inconsistency. But there’s no denying Barrett’s heart, leadership and determination.
Don’t kid yourselves. Barrett’s loss is a huge hole to fill on this team, and he’ll probably be more appreciated years down the road than what he is by a certain faction of fans that were always clamoring for someone else to get an early look — and for those that had expectations way out of whack.
He appears to be the leader in the clubhouse in the three-ring circus that will be the Ohio State quarterback competition this spring and into the fall. He already showed his worth when he spelled an injured J.T. Barrett and orchestrated a comeback in The Game against Michigan.
He possesses a big and accurate arm, has the measurables at 6-3, 218 lbs. to see over opposing defensive lines, and has poise in the pocket — always looking down field and allowing receivers to clear and separate.
He’s doesn’t have the between-the tackles running ability of Barrett, and he’s not as shifty as some of the other quarterbacks on the roster, but he was a top five pro-style QB recruit out of Maryland.
Burrow has been somewhat forgotten in the competition since his hand injury and subsequent surgery last year, but he was neck and neck with Haskins for the backup job before going down.
He was Mr. Football in Ohio in 2014 — displaying uncanny accuracy — and throwing for a whopping 157 TDs to just 17 interceptions almost leading his high school team to the state title.
He’s not going to be a big threat on the ground, but that doesn’t mean he can’t get outside the pocket and move thee chains when he needs to, as he rushed for over 2,000 yards in high school. What he’s most known for is his ability to read defenses, go through his progressions and pick out the best option with a high degree of accuracy.
If he wins the job, it will be the furthest thing from a fluke.
Martell was red-shirted last year but drew rave reviews from coaches and players while operating the offense of the scout team.
At 5-11, 205 lbs. he might be a little undersized, but he more than makes up for it with his ability to scramble and improvise. His arm strength may not be as good as Burrow or Haskins, but it’s not far off at all.
He was the 2017 national Gatorade Player of The Year coming out of Las Vegas and seems to be a better fit for the spread, read-option offense that Urban Meyer likes to employ.
He is a dynamic playmaker with a little bit of Johnny Manziel and Russell Wilson in his game. He is a human highlight reel waiting to happen.
The Incoming Class
A lot of eyebrows were raised when Ohio State offered the 6-3, 195 pounder out of Lake Travis, Texas a scholarship. That’s because his rankings by the experts didn’t jump off the charts.
He was just the 331st overall prospect, and No. 19 ranked pro-style quarterback in the 2018 class according to 247Sports, but it goes deeper than that for the staff.
Urban Meyer was quick to sing his praises for sticking it out his school rather than transferring to a bigger known power in the state. He is an accurate passer that completed over 70 percent of his passes his senior season and displayed the competitive attitude that Meyer loves.
Remember, J.T. Barrett wasn’t that highly thought of coming out of high school, but Meyer trusted former offensive coordinator Tom Herman’s discerning eye for talent.
This time, it was Ryan Day who got the ear of Meyer and thinks they have a diamond in the rough. He’ll likely be red-shirted this year, but look for how he progresses in years to come.
He’s from the same high school as Heisman Trophy winner Baker Mayfield, and right now is nursing an injured knee, so we’ll have to watch how that progresses come next year and beyond.
Predicting The Pecking Order
- Dwayne Haskins
- Tate Martell
- Joe Burrow
- Matthew Baldwin
I’ve been saying this, and I truly believe that this is a real competition between the three returners. Dwayne Haskins will be handed nothing, while Burrow and Martell will have every opportunity to catch and surpass any lead that Haskins has at the moment.
That being said, I think Haskins possesses an elite level skill set that — all things being equal — will be hard for the others to pass over, and given his success in the spotlight, he’s a little more known commodity. I think it’ll be a very close quarterback competition all the way through fall camp, but I’d go with Haskins as the guy right now.
But don’t be surprised if the coaching staff finds a way to get Martell on the field in certain situations, and don’t be at all surprised if Burrow stays in this thing down to the wire as well.
The reality is that there are some really, really good QB options for Ohio State, and that’s not a bad thing.
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